Nashville Superspeedway will not host NASCAR events in 2012

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 12:55pm

Seas of empty seats had spelled trouble for Nashville Superspeeday since it opened in 2001, and on Wednesday parent company Dover Motorsports announced it is giving up.

The company issued a statement saying it will seek no NASCAR races next year and will “evaluate all options for the track, including its possible sale.”

The announcement could sound the death-knell for professional automobile racing in Middle Tennessee, a fixture for over a half-century.

Should Dover sell the track, it is possible that the new owner could pursue future NASCAR races, although that failed to happen when Dover folded its tracks in Memphis and St. Louis. If the track is not sold, apparently it will be simply shut down.

“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,” Cliff Hawks, who has served as vice president/general manager of the track since it opened, said.

Hawks will stay on for an unspecified period to “assist with transition issues.”

“We deeply appreciate all the hard work that our employees have put into making Nashville Superspeedway such a remarkable facility,” Denis McGlynn, President and CEO of Dover Motorsports, said. “We have had years of unrelenting support from state, county and local officials and from the racing community.

“We are, however, at a juncture where we must evaluate all our options for this track, including its possible sale.”

The facility is situated on approximately 1,400 acres, and the track’s 1.3-mile concrete surface makes it unique on the NASCAR circuit. It is lighted for night racing and overall is considered a state-of-the-art facility.

However, the racing has never been especially exciting and fans have not turned out as anticipated.

When the track opened it had 25,000 permanent grandstand seats and 25,000 temporary bleachers. When the inaugural event failed to sell out, most of the temporary bleachers were dismantled. Attendance has continued to decline, with perhaps 10,000 on hand for the last race on July 23.

The track was dealt a major blow when the Indy Racing League severed its relationship following the 2008 season. For eight seasons (2001-08) the annual IRL race had been the track’s highlight event with such star attractions as Danica Patrick and Helio Castroneves. The IRL races drew crowds of around 20,000.

Once the IRL departed, the track was left with only Nationwide and truck races – second- and third-tier NASCAR events. The past two seasons the Superspeedway hosted two weekend Nationwide/truck doubleheaders, neither of which drew well.

When Dover built the track it had plans for a road course, a dirt track, a paved short track and a drag strip. It also had in place plans to build a Sprint Cup garage and expand grandstand seating to over 100,000.

However, a sale economy combined with disappointing attendance prompted Dover to postpone everything except the main track and an infield road course.

Most observers remain convinced that if the track could have landed a premier NASCAR Sprint Cup race it could have been a huge success. But as prospects of a Cup race gradually faded over the years, so did the track’s future.

19 Comments on this post:

By: whitetrash on 8/3/11 at 11:44

3,2,1, cue the fairgrounds speedway trolls propaganda...

By: whitetrash on 8/3/11 at 11:50

Stock car racing in more progressive areas of the United States is dying. The Nashville Super Speedway closing is just another example of this.

By: concretemike on 8/3/11 at 11:51

The only losers in this venture were the TAXPAYERS! Maybe next time you will bring in the NASCAR drivers and not the junior varsity (SPRINT) cars. Talk to the Nashville Fairgrounds guys maybe they will rent the facility a few times a year.....

By: whitetrash on 8/3/11 at 11:51

Stock car racing is dying in more progressive areas of the United States. The Nashville Super Speedway closing is just another example of this.

By: foxman on 8/3/11 at 11:58

They should have finished the drag strip & tried to get Memphis's NHRA event that they lost. How expensive can it be to pave a 1/4 mile pavement & throw up a tower???

By: jimmie on 8/3/11 at 12:09

No propoganda - Fairgrounds is about to get very busy, with race cars.

By: whitetrash on 8/3/11 at 12:14

Yea Jimmie when donkeys fly. The fairgrounds speedway is a public venue not a private one like the Nashville Super Speedway. The City is not going to spend Nashville tax dollars in up grading the fairgrounds speedway when a modern multi million dollar complex 30 miles down the road just went out of business.

By: Nitzche on 8/3/11 at 12:41

just heard from Barry, he has confirmed it is George Bush's fault!, if no,t big oil did it!

By: racer84 on 8/3/11 at 12:53

WhiteTrash - I realize you're getting paid by money from Karl Deans campaign funds to try to discredit the Fairgrounds and those of us kicking your ass daily in this election with much less experience but....the truth is the truth is the truth. As long as you and your side keeps telling lies and we keep with the truth we are going to win and win big. You only have to wait one more day to be proven wrong...and us right. The votes will tell the story.

And the truth is....You're an idiot when it comes to this issue and knowing what's right. I know the facts, and your posts are loaded with misinformation and lies. A pattern from your side well documented that any 1st grader can understand who's right and who's wrong.

For those that like reading the truth with factual documents that proves it's true please take a look at Metro Councilman Jamie Hollins blog at the link below. Please share it with friends and family as well.

I'm not ashamed of who I am and what I have to say.
My name is Ronnie Campbell and I'm fighting to do what's right

By: gdiafante on 8/3/11 at 1:11

Who cares...if anything it shows that no one cares about racing. Yawn...

By: boyer barner on 8/3/11 at 2:01

Mr. Campbell,

"whitetrash" is the same guy who made a wise-crack about my mother under the City Paper story, which broke the news that the Neighbors for Progress is not an actual neighborhood organization.

My mother passed away six months ago (and "whitetrash" knows it, yet he made the tacky comment anyway).

"whitetrash" has no class.

By: whitetrash on 8/3/11 at 2:24

Boyer Barner WTF are you talking about? I have nor idea who you are. Sorry about your lose.

By: boyer barner on 8/3/11 at 2:35


Here is what you wrote as a reply to my comment. I copied and pasted it:


By: whitetrash on 8/1/11 at 11:52

Owens School at Vanderbilt. Sorry about my writting I have been up all night drinking and smoking cigs with my mother.


By: whitetrash on 8/3/11 at 2:36

Boyer Barner WTF are you talking about? I have know idea who you are. Sorry about your lose.
Racer84 why would I read a blog post from someone who is about to be completely irrelevant in less than 24 hours? Not that he ever was relevant.

By: whitetrash on 8/3/11 at 2:40

My mother and I were up drinking and smoking. My son had his 21st birthday party and my mother and I were the last two remaining from party. We stayed up until almost 2:00 a.m.

By: boyer barner on 8/3/11 at 2:46


If you don't know who I am, how did you know I went to Owen?

By: Funditto on 8/4/11 at 5:40

I'm willing to bet that the most vocal proponents of the fairgrounds/raceway don't even live in Davidson and won't be able to cast a vote today. So be it.

By: fdanshep on 8/4/11 at 5:54

On July 25th I posted the following:

By: fdanshep on 7/25/11 at 2:13
I guess I am one of the apathetic mildly interested fans that didn't join the 18,000 that did spend the time and effort to show. How long can this track stay open?
I guess that question has been answered!!!

By: TITAN1 on 8/4/11 at 9:16

Well, now that the public has spoken, white trash looks like stupid white trash now!