NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Legislation has been filed in Nashville that would approve leasing the Fairgrounds Speedway to Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS).
A release from BMS states that the partnership would result in the restoration of the historic speedway in Nashville, which is the second-oldest continually operating venue in the state. BMS would operate Fairgrounds Speedway under the lease.
BMS stated that if the partnership is approved, it will save taxpayers a hefty sum since BMS would assume responsibility for $40 million in maintenance at Fairgrounds Speedway.
Fairgrounds Speedway, while historic, has fallen into a state of disrepair. The track is in need of renovations and, at present, is considered dangerous for visitors and competitors.
“The Fairgrounds Speedway is hallowed ground for both Nashville and NASCAR,” BMS president and general manager Jerry Caldwell. “If given the opportunity, we will restore the speedway, increase parking for soccer and flea market events, and install a sound reduction barrier at no cost to taxpayers.”
The release states an analysis found the proposed partnership would generate $200 million annually in economic activity. BMS stated that if the legislation is rejected, Metro Nashville taxpayers would be the ones footing a significant bill for repairs and renovation.
While a total estimate of jobs created in the potential partnership was not provided by BMS, the release did state that “Bristol will be hiring locally for hundreds of well-paying full-time and part-time jobs for individuals.” Those would include maintenance, ticketing and gues relations positions.
The agreement, which has been approved by Nashville’s Fair Board, requires BMS to limit motorsports events at the Fairgrounds Speedway to 10 weekends each year.
“Additionally, Bristol has committed to reduce track rentals for practice dates to not more than 20 days per year,” the release states. “Motorsports events will be limited to the hours between 3-9 p.m. on school days; and noon to 10 p.m. on weekends when school is not in session.”
News Channel 11 has reached out to Nashville’s boards requesting a copy of the proposed legislation in its entirety.