HomeSportsNascarHistoric Track Moves One Step Closer Towards Potential NASCAR Revival

Historic Track Moves One Step Closer Towards Potential NASCAR Revival

by Peter Warren
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(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway is one step closer to returning to the NASCAR circuit after the Nashville Fair Board Commissioners approved an agreement to let Bristol Motor Speedway operate the historic track.

The deal was approved by a 3-2 vote but still needs to be voted on by two more government bodies: the Metro Council and the Metro Sports Authority.

The agreement between the city of Nashville and Bristol Motor Speedway would give the speedway the license to operate the speedway on a 30-year lease. Bristol Motor Speedway, which would pay $1 million per year, would also renovate the race track.

“We are thankful to the Nashville Fair Board for supporting the vision to restore the historic Fairgrounds Speedway,” Bristol Motor Speedway president and general manager Jerry Caldwell said in a statement. “They invested a lot of time vetting this opportunity, and we agree it provides a financially responsible future for the speedway while shifting the risk off taxpayers to a private operator, and completes the restoration of the Fairgrounds with improvements like a state-of-the-art sound-reduction wall that benefits the surrounding neighborhoods.”

The race track is located right next to Geodis Park, the freshly-build soccer stadium for MLS club Nashville SC. Geodis Park opened last May after nearly two years of construction.

History of historic NASCAR track Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway

Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway opened in 1904

The first NASCAR event at the track was held on Aug. 10, 1958. Motorsports Hall of Famer Joe Weatherly won the race in 1:41:14, which was 100 miles or 200 laps.

The event ran until 1984 when it was called the Pepsi 420. Richard Petty won the event more times than anyone else, claiming the checkered flag five different times at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1971. Darrell Waltrip won four times in 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1982 respectively.

The race ran in either July or August.

There was also another race held 15 times at the track from 1959 to 1984. By the end of its run, it was called the Coors 420.

Two different people won the race a record four times. Waltrip won the race in 1975, 1982, 1983 and 1984. Cale Yarborough claimed victory in 1973, 1976, 1978 and 1979.

NASCAR Busch Series and Truck Series races have also been held at the track over the years, as well as other races.