The idea of NASCAR races being held at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway looks like a long shot.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. has made overtures to bring NASCAR races back to the track, which would need to be rehabbed for those races to be held. According to the Tennessean, SMI’s previous pitch to rehab the track included $54 million in bond money and $2 million in cash from the city.
That’s a non-starter according to mayor David Briley. From the Tennesseean:
"Mayor Briley does not support using public money to bring NASCAR to the Fairgrounds," Briley spokesperson Thomas Mulgrew said to The Tennessean on Monday.
It was not immediately clear why the group specifically made a pitch for $2 million in cash or how the $54 million in bonds — more than double the $25 million in general obligation bonds the Metro Council approved to support public infrastructure associated with the soccer stadium — would be used.
Per the report, the idea was pitched to the city in February. A statement from Bristol Motor Speedway president Jerry Caldwell said the track and SMI were now interested in financing efforts via a public-private effort with revenues from the property.
The mayor’s spokesperson also said that SMI hadn’t presented a feasible proposal. And on Tuesday, a Fair Board Commissioner reportedly criticized SMI for a lack of transparency.
Nashville's Fair Board Commissioner Jason Bergeron is pushing back on "lack of transparency" from Speedway Motorsports in their plan to bring NASCAR to the city. No communication w board w only images circulating on social media. "They need to bring a real proposal to the table." pic.twitter.com/MdL2pydX2v
— Yihyun Jeong (@yihyun_jeong) April 16, 2019
Soccer taking priority?
In addition to the mayor’s refusal to use public money for NASCAR to race at Fairgrounds Speedway, the soccer stadium proposal is in the way as well.
Nashville wants an MLS team and developments are already underway regarding a mixed-use project that would go along with the construction of a soccer stadium near the track. Some of the buildings in the development could be ready for use as soon as August.
The Cup Series last ran a race at Fairgrounds Speedway in 1984 and the last Xfinity Series and Truck Series races at the track were in 2000. The Xfinity Series and Truck Series raced at Nashville Superspeedway from 2001-2011.
The ARCA Series, which was purchased by NASCAR and will be operated by NASCAR starting in 2020, races at the track on May 4.
Nashville getting NASCAR banquet
The series is at least guaranteed to return to Nashville in some capacity. NASCAR announced in March that Nashville would be the new site of the Cup Series’ postseason awards banquet. Maybe that’s a consolation prize of some sort. Because it sure as heck seems like there won’t be any NASCAR races in Nashville anytime soon.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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