NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway could soon get a facelift. It’s part of a massive deal to modernize the racetrack and bring NASCAR back to Music City.
Although it has seen better days, the Nashville Speedway is here to stay. That’s because back in 2011, Davidson County residents voted 2-to-1 in a referendum to preserve racing at the Fairgrounds. That means this speedway is now chartered and historic.
“This is really a diamond in the rough,” explained Jerry Caldwell, the General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway and a key player in rebranding the Nashville Speedway. “The history of this track goes back to the 1900’s. It hosted NASCAR races from the 50s to the late 80s. And since then has not had any major investment in it and has gone into a bit of disrepair.”
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A Change.org petition is fighting to put the brakes on the proposed fairgrounds speedway expansion.
This new deal on the table means a better facility and better racing, but Nashvillians need to know it doesn’t mean more racing. Caldwell says he wants to inform the public of some misinformation that more racing and more people will be crowding the race track.
Stephen Mason has owned a local barbershop called The Handsomizer for several years. He operates out of a building on Bransford Avenue that he has owned for more than a decade. He’s seen the growth first hand and was initially concerned with what the new development just down the street at the Fairgrounds would bring.
“As a business owner in the area, obviously there are concerns about crowds, traffic, and the noise on race days,” said Mason. “But I was really encouraged at the vision for the racetrack to be very guided and specific on those days. And I’m encouraged as to where it’s going.”
Businesses and homeowners in the area have concerns about the noise that NASCAR racing would bring to Nashville... and rightfully so. But the General Manager of the Bristol Motor Speedway says they’re tackling those concerns head-on.
“Part of our plan that we’re working with the Fair Board and Metro on is adding a sound barrier around the backside of the property where there isn’t anything to block the noise right now. We would be adding that so we could reduce the noise from these events that go on,” said Caldwell.
Aside from fixing up the current racetrack, the renovation will eventually bring in more jobs, produce more revenue, and protect the historic speedway.
Leaders are still in conversations and agreements with the Fair Board and the community for the next few months. By the end of the year, there should be a more concrete plan about the timeline of construction. The ultimate goal is to have the new speedway completed by 2023.