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Nashville Fairgrounds Takes Another Step in Potential Return

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County joined with Bristol Motor Speedway in entering a letter of intent to restore Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway to be capable of hosting NASCAR events once again, BMS announced March 5.

If the Board of Fair Commissioners and Metropolitan Council approves it, Bristol will have contractual rights to lease and operate the iconic track. It would also manage any renovations and maintenance to the short track.

According to Nashville Mayor John Cooper, the expectation would be to bring the track back with no costs to taxpayers. The intended funds would come from user fees from the venue’s patrons, lease payments and a naming rights deal.

“The goal of the partnership is to bring our historic racetrack back to life as a valuable and exciting part of the Fairgrounds,” Cooper said in a release. “We have an obligation to maintain the track, so it is smart for Nashville to engage a strong, long-term partner from the auto racing industry to operate it successfully. The business terms in this LOI protect Nashville, with multiple revenue streams to make this a financial success. We can put this landmark back on the national stage. I look forward to working with the Fair Board and the Metro Council in the months ahead.”

Speedway Motorsports, which owns eight racing venues across America, including Bristol, would take ownership of the track should it return. Included in the letter of intent, BMS would pay Metro for an annual lease payment in order to host racing events. It would also undertake the project of meeting NASCAR’s safety standards for the track.

The Fairgrounds, which opened in 1904, has not hosted a NASCAR Cup Series race since 1984.

“We can work together to transform Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway into an amazing multipurpose entertainment destination,” Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith said.  “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and go to work to fully restore the speedway, recruit national events and breathe new life into a venue that has a legendary status in auto racing history.”

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