Stock cars are set to race at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway this summer and fall, but the promoter who will host the events is still undetermined.
After five hours of discussions Tuesday morning with two different promoters vying to utilize the track, the five-member Board of Fair Commissioners voted on terms to hold up to seven racing events at the 117-are fairgrounds, meeting in the middle between the wishes of neighbors concerned about noise and drivers hoping to oversee a financially viable season.
“I’m not terribly happy, and I’m not terribly disappointed,” said Metro Councilman Michael Craddock, an outspoken supporter of the preservation of the speedway. “We need to have race cars at the racetrack the city owns.”
The track’s most recent promoter Tony Formosa and a group led by former NASCAR drivers Chad Chaffin and Bobby Hamilton Jr. are both looking to utilize the track. The fair board Tuesday asked each to look at a list of parameters it approved. Later this week, the board will select the promoter willing to offer the greatest dollar figure in excess of $5,000 per event.
Over the weekend, neighbors of the group South Nashville Action People submitted a compromise that entailed holding races only during the day while the fairgrounds’ flea market is in operation. But both Formosa and Chaffin said a season with all-day races would be unacceptable, with Formosa even calling it “promotional suicide.” They also cited traffic and parking as obstacles to holding races alongside expo center events.
In the end, the fair board voted to have seven races, two that would be required to take place in the day. One of the night races would have to occur during the Tennessee State Fair, held in September. Two races would have to coincide with the flea market.
Instead of a flat fee to use the track during the day, promoters would have to pay the board $1 per each attendee.
Night races must end by 10:30 p.m., under the board’s vote, and day races by 7 p.m. Racing practices would have to occur between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Mufflers are mandatory for all events. The fair board is to monitor the decibel level of the vehicles.