Fair board votes to have auto racing at speedway this year

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 3:16pm

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. 

18 Comments on this post:

By: las04 on 4/5/11 at 4:13

This is outrageous and unbelievable to think that our city has come down to letting a few people in the neighborhood tell us what we can or can't do. THE FAIR BOARD NEEDS TO DO THEIR JOB. Buck Dozier and his "Lil Buddy" James Weaver are totally unethical and deliberately trying to ruin the prominence of the Fairgrounds Speedway and the other events held there. The other fair board members are just yes men and could care less what happens to the fairgrounds. If they cared it wouldn't be in the state it's in now. I can't believe I live in a city that has become submitive to new comers that want to live in a high end neighborhood but can't afford more than what they paid for.~~ YOU BOUGHT IT, LIVE WITH IT~~....!!!

By: MAmom on 4/5/11 at 6:18

"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."

1. The Mayor appoints the Fair Board. And they are doing exactly what Karl Dean wants them to do! They are chipping away at the Fairgrounds once piece at a time.

2. This decision by the Fair Board will make a colossal mess at the Fairgrounds on the days when multiple events are held. This will be bad for the racers, Flea Market, bad for the public.

3. This decision will MINIMIZE revenues and hurt the Fairgrounds by having major Fairgrounds activities stepping on each other.

The Fairgrounds are still in danger, and if Karl Dean is elected, the Fairgrounds will be sold.

Make Dean a 1-term mayor.

By: Shane Smiley on 4/6/11 at 1:30

In my opinion, Chairman Weaver and the entire Fair Board did an admirable job of balancing the desires and needs of neighborhood, promoters, and the Fairgrounds.

A stable platform has been established. One that will allow for continued growth and respect concerning the relationship between the neighbors and track competitors.

Well done, Everyone!!

Listen folks, We have come a long way towards finding common ground.

This is the first time I have not agreed completely with the views of MAmom.
She is a kind, wonderful lady with everyones best interest at heart.
That being said, Here is where I disagree with her.

The dates coinciding with Flea Market may not be a huge mistake. The terms of the agreement stipulate, 2 events must be held in conjunction with the Flea Market dates. It does not dictate they run during the same business hours. Races have been run on Flea Market weekends for years. Those weekends provide some logistic challenges but, do not hamper either entity greatly.
I believe it was recommended but, not required to run one of those two dates during Flea Market hours.
I would agree, If they were forced to run during the same business hours, it would fracture the customer base. This was discussed and balance was found and included in the terms of lease.

I will agree whole heartedly in The FAIRGROUNDS IS STILL IN DANGER!!
We need to support Michael Craddock and City Council candidates who support the Fairgrounds preservation and face lift.

Make Dean a 1-term Mayor.

By: localboy on 4/6/11 at 7:58

That's fine, as long as they follow the new nondiscrimination clause...:)

By: nester on 4/6/11 at 8:22

To las04: OK seriously? Do you know the people in that neighborhood, really? Do you know first hand that they can't afford to live somewhere else, or that they are "new" to Nashville? My family is OLD Nashville, and my husbands family were all born and raised here. They chose to be an Urban Pioneer in a little ole' neigbhorhood now called 12-south. It was inexpensive and they had forsight and knew the area would grow. I've seen the growth in area surrounding the fairgrounds -- and it's totally positive for our city. If updates to the Fair & Fleamarket happen as a result of all this attention? That is good for Nashville. People getting their homes for cheap and investing in the City? That's not something to insult over. As for the racetrack? A small number of people care. Nashvillians aren't flocking to see races. If they were, the revenues would speak for themselves and no discussion would be made. That has nothing to do with who is leasing the track. Simply, it's not a sport the broader Nashville is interested in.

I think it's embarrassing that a City as great as ours, would want to even considering keeping a racetrack in the middle of it's growing metropolis. Music City has been long accepted as the best way of describing Nashville.

You should be ashamed of insulting people you don't "really" know, when they have a difference of opinion from yours. Sounds like they compromised on racing. Neighbors in that area say they want the fair and fleamarket to stay. My guess is you're a racer. Oh and if you're addressing the historical value of the property then bring back horse racing. The fairgrounds failed making it onto the Historic Registry -- why? Because of how the RACETRACK was paved. Whoops.

The Superspeedway is great -- go there.

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 8:33

This is a repost of a comment left on the thread headlined, "Metro vendors must have sexual orientation, gender identity in their nondiscrimination policies", by Joey Garrison. I thought that it might be appropriate to post it here too.....

Now that the new GLBT nondiscrimination policy has been approved by Metro Council, one might ask a few questions about implementation and enforcement.

For instance, will the Fairgrounds racetrack vendors be forced to include the required language in their official policy pronouncements?

Will the racing teams themselves be required to adopt the new GLBT nondiscrimination language and policy?

Will the flea-market organizers and individual exhibitors be required to adopt and implement the new policy? Will folks be forced to sign papers affirming their support for the expanded nondiscrimination policy?

Who will act as the police, to enforce for this new regulation? Specifically, what are the penalties for noncompliance?

As they say, the devil is in the details. I do not think that we have heard the last on this; there may be more rhetorical fireworks down the road.

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 9:18

From the article: the board will select the (race) promoter willing to offer the greatest dollar figure in excess of $5,000 per event.

The winners of the bidding war will "sign the papers" pledging affirmative action for the GLBT community?

If not, why not?

By: BigPapa on 4/6/11 at 9:22

Here's the chance to prove that racing is viable in Nashville. pack the stands with 1000s of people and prove the point, but if this goes belly up and draws just a smattering of people I think everyone should agree that the writting's on the wall.

By: whatsit2u on 4/6/11 at 11:28

I don’t understand how this kind of compromise can be allowed to happen. Since it has and a precedence set, I would like to come to some kind of compromise with the airport. I understand that it was there long before I was and I accepted my fate of owning property near the airport when I bought it . Now I realize that I can control the assets of my neighbors by changing the rules of the game. I want to start with limiting flights to no more than a dozen days a week and then only between the hours of 3:00 pm and 8:30 pm. How does that sound? Oh yeah. Can we put mufflers on those jets?

By: fdanshep on 4/6/11 at 12:19

I enjoy the flea market 5 or 6 times a year as do many others here. As for the Race Track, I could not care less. Many years ago, it was an event to go to as there was limited TV exposure and much less to do with our disposible income. What is the average attendance? 3-4 thousand? It reminds me of when 650 WSM was considering a change in format. Such an outcry from so many that it would be a tragedy to mess with tradition. So they stayed Country and they still have the low ratings that caused the management to want to do something different. Are 4,000 people or so going to dictate the future of this property when there are much more viable possibilities for this piece of ground? I agree with Big Papa, the writing is already on the wall!

By: bruingeek on 4/6/11 at 1:18

BigPapa makes a good point. Butts in seats is the only way to demonstrate that the Nashville track is remotely viable. With 7 race dates set, that still means that a valuable piece of real estate will be sitting idle for much of the year with only minor use as a stage during the fair weather months.

And, for the record, as a resident who lives some two miles away from the track and who moves indoors during races due to the noise...I would be cutting the people who live closer a lot of slack. Shame on the raceway for being forced to do noise reduction when a "20 dollar muffler" could have made life better for everyone.

By: TITAN1 on 4/6/11 at 2:19

You people against the track saying something could be there that would bring in more money. Do you really think you would see one dime of any money from that property unless your name is on the deed? Do you really think you will see a difference in your income if more taxes are collected on this one piece of property? You all act like you are going to all of a sudden get rich if they destroy the track and put something else there. What it really boils down to is that you just don't like racing and couldn't care less if someone else likes it.

By: Community-carl-... on 4/6/11 at 4:43

Everything that is ocurring just proves that Karl Dean's puppets are continuing to stack the deck against the success of the Fairgrounds and the racetrack.
Dean is a mean spirited, sneaky, conniving scoundrel who is methodically hacking away at the very foundations of the character of Nashville.

Dean has got to go.

By: Shane Smiley on 4/6/11 at 9:36

If you tear down the track, you get one thing. A flood plain. That's it. Nothing else can be built in its place.
The track will prove to show economic viability and will provide funds for Fairgrounds operations and economic impact for the city.

If you tear down the track, you will lose this economic impact. You will be left with a flood plain and a tax revenue eating park.
I support the greening of the Fairgrounds, the mitigation of Browns Creek, and the park area.
These things can all live in harmony with the Flea Market, Expo events, Fair and Track. These events will help fund the park upkeep and stop it from eating valuable tax revenue

It is all about finding balance and common ground.

By: JeffF on 4/7/11 at 1:09

The entire fairgrounds can be saved and greened. The first and most important thing is to rip up almost all the asphalt parking and replace it with GrassPAve or something similar.

There are dozens of examples of sporting and other recreational areas not used around the clock where grassy areas are used for event parking. The technology even lends itself to pedestrian areas since it prevents the grass from becoming overly compressed and worn by thousands of feet. I first saw it in the parking lots around the old Orange Bowl in Miami several years ago. Terrific system that is beautiful and prevents a lot of stormwater runoff issues.

By: JeffF on 4/7/11 at 1:28





By: JWHAYES on 4/12/11 at 7:27


By: JWHAYES on 4/12/11 at 7:32

Support Local Racing !!!!!