NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Ally 400 Cup Series race is still more than two months away, but Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR personnel are already gearing up for the circuit’s return to the Music City.
Like its sister track at Bristol Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway is one of the few concrete tracks that drivers see all season – and they’re eager to hit the ground running this summer.
“Nashville is just fun,” Craftsman Truck Series driver Ben Rhodes said. “When we are traveling on the road as much as we do, you always have places that you look forward to. Dallas, Texas or Phoenix or Homestead – there are certain places that stick out as a destination. This is one of them.”
“I just somehow run well on concrete,” Cup Series driver Chris Buescher said, as he steered a pace car around the track Wednesday afternoon. “I find myself enjoying it. Speed fixes a lot of things.”
The similarities between Bristol and Nashville’s tracks don’t stop with the surface. This season, the Cup Series race in Nashville will also take place under the lights.
“Night racing is awesome, man,” XFinity Series driver Josh Williams said. “You know, the fans get to see all the sparks fly and things like that.”
“It gets a little cooler at night – I know these two are probably going to be a little jealous in the dead of summer – driving in the middle of the night for our race,” Buescher said with a laugh.
For Rhodes, the Louisville native, the Superspeedway is about as close to home as it gets to home these days.
“I lost Kentucky Speedway a few years back,” he said. “I can come to this race now and it’s close – I’ve got family and friends from my local market that are – not underserved – but they don’t have that really close racetrack that they used to and Nashville fits that bill.”
Even Bristol Motor Speedway President and General Manager Jerry Caldwell made his way west on the interstate to show his support.
“Anymore we’re all just one big family working together,” Caldwell said. “So, whether we’re in Bristol or Nashville or Charlotte or Sonoma, California – we’re all pulling that same direction and we want to exceed expectations in everything that we do.”
Race weekend at Nashville Superspeedway kicks off on Friday, June 23 with the Rackley Roofing 200 and concludes with the Ally 400 on Sunday, June 25.