And while fans were excited that the sport would be returning, many were disappointed that the race would be held at the longer 1.33 mile Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon and not the shorter half-mile track located at the Nashville Fairgrounds.
Even Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that NASCAR picked the wrong track for their return to Nashville.
Well now it looks like the dream of bringing NASCAR back to the Fairgrounds Speedway is one step closer to reality.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced this week that the city has signed a letter of intent with Bristol Motor Speedway to renovate Fairgrounds Speedway, which hasn’t hosted a NASCAR Cup Series race since 1984. And he had a special guest on hand for the announcement: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. himself.
I’ve signed a letter of intent with @BMSupdates to renovate @FGSpeedway and bring @NASCAR back to Nashville. The business terms of this LOI protect Nashville, with multiple revenue streams to make this a financial success. We will put this landmark back on the national stage. pic.twitter.com/Dn1yXB9nFM
Under the agreement, the city would issue $50 million in bonds for the renovations that would then be paid back using event revenue. The agreement would give Bristol Motor Speedway and its owner, Speedway Motorsports, Inc., a long-term contract to lease, manage and operate the Fairgrounds Speedway with the goal of bringing NASCAR back to the Nashville short track.
The announcement has both NASCAR fans and drivers fired up about the sport’s return to the Fairgrounds.
There was no timeline announced for the return to the Fairgrounds, but it’s expected that the first race is still a few years down the road due to the necessary renovations and safety improvements.
And there’s also the question of what will happen with Nashville Superspeedway’s race date. Because the Superspeedway and the Fairgrounds have different owners/operators, moving the race from the Superspeedway to the Fairgrounds isn’t as simple as simply swapping out the tracks.
The Superspeedway, which is owned by Dover Motorsports, Inc., has an agreement in place to host a Cup Series race through 2024. So would NASCAR come to Nashville twice a year? Would the owners of the Superspeedway agree to give up their date to move the race to the Speedway Motorsports Inc.-run Fairgrounds Speedway?
So while it seems like there’s still quite a bit to work out, this is a huge first step towards finally giving NASCAR fans what they’ve been asking for: A return to Fairgrounds Speedway.
For a look at the history of NASCAR at the Fairgrounds Speedway, check out this documentary produced by the Speed network back in 2012.