Bristol Speedway Wants State Money

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and the owner of Bristol Motor Speedway discussed potential state assistance for the NASCAR venue Friday, two days after plans were announced to renovate the struggling track, reports The Tennessean.
Haslam and Bruton Smith, the North Carolina-based owner of Speedway Motorsports Inc., met in Nashville to hold “preliminary discussions” about potential aid. Speedway Motorsports plans to resurface Bristol before its next race in August in response to declining attendance and fan complaints about the quality of racing at the state’s only Sprint Cup track.
“Bristol is a huge part of our state, revenuewise,” Haslam said. “They didn’t have any specific proposals for us, nor did we have any for them, but it’s important for us to be in conversation with them about how they can get their attendance back to where they want it to be and where we want it to be, too.”
…Restoring the track to its original configuration will cost about $1 million, according to The Associated Press.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said he had spoken with Haslam about potential aid to Bristol, which lies within Ramsey’s Senate district.
“Attendance was down over 50,000 people, and just the lost sales taxes for two races would be $1 million in revenue,” he said. “We have done things in the past — for tracks, for minor league ball clubs — and Bristol has never asked for anything before.”
Bristol would not be the first NASCAR track to receive state aid, or to struggle with poor attendance.
Tennessee extended $750,000 incentives to the Nashville Superspeedway in Wilson County in 2002 and 2003 through its FastTrack program for businesses. But that track has struggled to gain a following, no NASCAR events will be held there this year, and it’s not certain that any will be scheduled there in the future.
Economic aid also has been suggested as a possible savior for the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, which hosted top-level NASCAR events from 1958 to 1984. Its future is also in doubt
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One thought on “Bristol Speedway Wants State Money

  1. Donna Locke

    What a waste of tax dollars on both of these privately owned raceways. Resurfacing the track will not increase attendance. But the state is welcome to resurface my driveway. I promise a tricycle race there that may or may not draw spectators.

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