NASCAR race

The Nashville Superspeedway near Gladeville has not hosted an auto race since August of 2011 but will be the site of one of NASCAR’s top tier races next June. STEVE WAMPLER

Racing, BIG TIME racing, is once again coming to Middle Tennessee.

After sitting idle since August of 2011, the Nashville Superspeedway will be the site of a 2021 NASCAR Cup Series race.

There hasn’t been a NASCAR Cup Series race in Middle Tennessee since 1984 at the Nashville Fairgrounds., but part of its campus

The racetrack is located near Gladeville along Highway 840. Part of the racetrack property is in Rutherford County.

A joint press conference was held last Wednesday afternoon featuring Denis McGlynn, president & CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. and Ben Kennedy, NASCAR vice president of racing development.

In order to bring the June 2021 race to the Wilson County racetrack, Dover International Speedway will give up one of its two NASCAR Cup Series weekends.

“There’s been a drumbeat for change to the NASCAR schedule for several years now,” McGlynn said. “Race fans, the teams, the broadcast partners are looking for a way to rejuvenate the schedule and drive growth for the sport.

“When we were out in Nashville for the NASCAR Cup Series banquet in December, we had a chance to sit down with the NASCAR leadership and listen to where everyone was on this subject.

“We talked about a list of about 10 markets that NASCAR had identified for penetration and as it turned out Nashville was number one on that list.

“Of course, us having a track already built in Nashville led to the conversation that basically resulted in today’s announcement.

“It’s been a very cooperative conversation among all the stakeholders. I think it’s a win, win, win for everybody — specifically for our company now that we’ll be able to have two operating tracks — one on the East Coast (Dover, Del.) and the other in what is going to be the hottest market in NASCAR.”

The 1.33-mile “D-oval” concrete track was built in 2001 by Dover Motorsports, Inc. and hosted NASCAR- and IRL-sanctioned events until it closed in August of 2011.

The superspeedway is situated on approximately 1,000 acres in Wilson County’s Vine Community, and currently has 25,000 permanent grandstand seats with lights for night racing.

Also included on the campus is foundation work for a dirt track, a short track and infrastructure in place to perhaps expand to 150,000 seats.

The property has hosted to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, NTT INDYCAR SERIES and other racing series.

“The speedway itself is in great shape,” McGlynn said. “There are needs to replace the SAFER wall that we have cannibalized over the years to bring to Dover. All the buildings need to be done over for all their infrastructure, all the inside fixtures, we’ll be spending money on new carpets, air conditioning, that sort of thing.

“We expect to spend between $8 (million) and $10 million dollars over the next two years and I say that because some of the things we want to do we can’t get done in a year.

“In any case, I think we’ll be up and running in a first-class fashion come next June.”

In the current configuration, the NSS has 25,000 permanent seats. During NTT INDYCAR SERIES race weekends temporary seating was brought in to boost capacity to over 40,000 and a similar plan will be utilized for at least the 2021 race.

McGlynn went on to say he expects, “a full slate,” of racing events in the days leading up to the 2021 Cup Series weekend, including, but not limited to ARCA, the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and the Xfinity Series.

Dover Motorsports, Inc. still owns some 1,000 acres of the original 1,400-acre campus.

Portions of the property were sold to Panattoni Development Company for $5.1 million with plans to construct industrial facilities. McGlynn indicated these developments would have little or no impact on race weekends.

Eventually, Dover Motorsports, Inc. will hire about 40 people to handle sales, customer service, promotions and other functions.

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