News & Media

Nashville track off NASCAR schedule for 2012

August 03, 2011, ,

Nashville Superspeedway, a fixture on NASCAR's Nationwide and Camping World Truck tours since its opening in 2001, will drop off the schedule next year at the request of parent company Dover Motorsports, which has declined sanctions for the 2012 season.

"Nashville is a tremendous market filled with passionate race fans," Cliff Hawks, the facility's vice president and general manager, said in a statement. "We have some extremely dedicated and talented employees who have made this track a great destination, but the reality is, after 10 years of effort, we have to face the fact that without a Sprint Cup race and/or a significant change in the operating model for other events, we simply cannot continue."

Nashville Superspeedway has hosted a pair of Nationwide events each season since 2002, and a pair of annual Truck races since 2010. The few events remaining on the track's schedule will be unaffected, the speedway said. Dover Motorsports may now put the facility up for sale, according to company president and chairman Denis McGlynn. The 1.33-mile concrete track sits on 1,400 acres and has 25,000 permanent seats. It was built with the foundations for a drag strip and short track, and to be expandable to 150,000 seats in the event a Sprint Cup event ever arrived.

"We deeply appreciate all the hard work that our employees have put into making Nashville Superspeedway such a remarkable facility, and Cliff Hawks will remain to assist us with transition issues," McGlynn said in a statement. "We have also had years of unrelenting support from state, county and local officials and from the racing community -- from racing fans and drivers to sponsors, team owners and various sanctioning bodies. We are, however, at a juncture where we must evaluate all of our options for this track, including its possible sale."

The Nashville news continues a difficult stretch for Dover Motorsports, which recently closed affiliated facilities near St. Louis and Memphis, Tenn., and is battling attendance woes for Sprint Cup events at Dover International Speedway. The potential loss of two Nashville races also comes at a time when the Nationwide tour is leaving Lucas Oil Raceway for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the future of its event in Montreal is uncertain.

It's also a blow to Nashville, a once-proud NASCAR town that hosted premier-series events at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway from 1958 to 1984, and Nationwide and Truck races on and off on the same track until events moves to the newer facility outside Lebanon, Tenn., beginning in 2001.

"NASCAR appreciates the efforts by the Nashville Superspeedway team and the support and enthusiasm the fans have shown during our 10 years racing there. While the track owners have chosen not to renew their sanctions agreement, we will continue to provide opportunities for NASCAR fans in the region to follow our sport through our television broadcasts, digital media initiatives and certainly the tracks at which we compete in that part of the country," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president for racing operations.

"As we continue to work on the 2012 schedules, we believe the changes that we made at the beginning of the season, particularly the 'declare a series' revision, have helped create renewed excitement and interest in both the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The schedules for these two series will remain strong, the racing will remain extremely competitive, and the development of future talent will continue to serve the sport well."