Formosa Productions Inc. and Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) have today reached an agreement to explore bringing major NASCAR racing events back to Nashville. The joint effort intends to combine local racing and other major motorsports events that once made Fairgrounds Speedway one of the premier raceways in motorsports.
Formosa Productions has a multi-year contract with the Metro Nashville Board of Fair Commissioners to promote and manage the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and operate a limited number of local racing events. BMS and Formosa Productions, who will continue to lead local racing efforts, have signed a contract to work with Metro Nashville and the Board of Fair Commissioners, owner of the historic raceway at the Nashville Fairgrounds, on a long-range plan of significant track improvements and high-profile race events that could include NASCAR events upon the facility meeting standards.
“This is terrific news for fans of racing and drivers all across the country and will bring a brighter future for Nashville Fairgrounds,” said Tony Formosa, president of Formosa Productions. “I’m excited to work with Bruton and Marcus Smith and the Bristol team who I feel will bring this historic facility back to where it belongs. Today marks an exciting new beginning for the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.”
Claire Formosa, vice president of Formosa Productions added, “This is exactly what the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville needed. This is one of the most historic short tracks in the country. To know that we now have the chance to bring back NASCAR and restore this facility to what it once was, without losing any of its history is remarkable. I can not wait to see what the future holds for this facility and everyone involved.”
Said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, “Tony and our team both see the same bright future for Fairgrounds Speedway. Nashville has a special reputation as one of the most exciting tracks in the history of motorsports, and the region has a remarkably large and passionate fan base. The motorsports industry – the sanctioning bodies, drivers and race teams – is excited about Nashville’s potential to be a regular site for major events. With Metro supportive of that vision, we are eager to start working tomorrow with the city, Tony and other stakeholders at the Fairgrounds and beyond, to develop a first-class racing facility and program.”
The fairgrounds is currently a 0.596-mile short track with 18 degrees of banking. The track itself was paved to a .5-mile oval, when it began to be a NASCAR series track. The speedway was then lengthened between the 1969 and 1970 seasons. The corners were cut down from 35 degrees to their present 18 degrees in 1972. The track was since repaved between the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
To this day, the track is in use and is the oldest operation speedway in the United States. They opened the gates for the first time in 1904. The first Cup Series race came in 1958 and ran there until 1984. The top NASCAR drivers competed in 42 overall races at the Fairgrounds.
The XFINITY Series competed on the track nine times in 1984, 1988, 1989 and again from 1995 through 2000. The Truck Series also raced there from 1996 through 2000 themselves.
From 2001 on, it’s been mainly used for late models, ARCA and other series like that. A few years ago, the track was almost torn down but luckily not only was it kept, it’s being brought back to the NASCAR world.