Bristol Motor Speedway enters into agreement to renovate Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Bristol Motor Speedway and Nashville have entered into an agreement to renovate the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, which could lead to the return of NASCAR events at the track.

Speedway officials and Nashville Mayor John Cooper signed a letter of intent on Thursday.

Under the agreement, BMS would have a long-term contract to lease, manage, and operate the historic speedway. Bristol would pay for the renovations and ongoing track management while sharing a percentage of revenues from events held at the track.

BMS officials say the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway dates back to 1904 and is the second-oldest operating motor speedway in the country.

Key terms of the letter of intent include:

  • Metro would issue no more than $50 million in bonds for racetrack renovations, as is already specified in the Capital Improvements Budget. Debt service and project-related expenses would be fully covered by revenues generated from racing and non-racing event activities held at the track, including lease payments, and taxes and fees generated by track event patrons.
  • Under a lease and management agreement, BMS would pay Metro an annual lease payment for track management and operations and share a percentage of revenues from events. Additionally, for four weeks a year, BMS would lease all Fairgrounds property (except for the MLS stadium and commercial developments) for $1 million annually to host major racing events.
  • BMS, which possesses decades of major auto racing design, construction, and operations experience, would serve as development manager for track and facility renovations. Improvements would include safety upgrades, spectator amenities, and new ancillary facilities for both racing and non-racing experiences.
  • Noise mitigation would be an integral part of the redesign and track improvements.
  • BMS is committed to an extensive community engagement process with neighborhood residents and Nashville organizations.
  • The new operating model for the speedway will provide the neighborhoods around the track with schedule certainty so residents know in advance when racing and practice will occur.
  • BMS will renovate the racetrack to meet NASCAR safety and design standards necessary to host national series events and modernize NFS as a multi-function facility for non-racing special events to generate tourism-related revenue that is healthy for Nashville.

BMS’s parent company, Speedway Motorsports, would also expand Speedway Children’s Charities to include Nashville.

The agreement will need to be approved by the Board of Fair Commissioners and Metro Council.

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