February 20, 2015, NASCAR.com
O. Bruton Smith, executive chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., bought his first race car at the age of 17 and a year later promoted his first stock car race in Midland, North Carolina. Smith’s early endeavors included operating the National Stock Car Racing Association -- seen as an early competitor to NASCAR -- and building Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Born: March 3, 1927
Hometown: Oakboro, N.C.
CMS became the foundation of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which currently owns eight NASCAR tracks hosting 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and additional high-profile motorsports activities.
Smith took SMI public in 1995 to become the first motorsports company to be traded at the New York Stock Exchange. Smith is founder of Sonic Automotive, a group of several hundred auto dealerships across the United States.
Smith is active in child-related causes with his philanthropic foundation Speedway Children’s Charities. He was inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame and National Motorsports Press Association’s Hall of Fame, both in 2006; and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007.