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Fairgrounds Speedway Racetrack expansion to 30,000 seats


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Some thoughts from Ron Gobbell (who is overseeing Metro's redevelopment of the fairgrounds) concerning expansion of the racetrack:

“SMI has asked and said that the turn one grandstands would be important to them to make this racetrack successful," Gobbell said. "Anything inside of that loop, we’ve been working with their design team about what do they need to make it work. We asked Hawkins Partners, if we put a grandstand on Turn 1, what would that mean?”

Possible changes suggested for the area include moving the one-lane bridge over Brown’s Creek near Fair Park and potentially turning it into a two-lane bridge to make it more accessible to people with disabilities.

“It’s a concept. We’re not saying that’s what’s going to happen,” Gobbell said. “That’s one way to accommodate the additional grandstand. If we get to that point, then we’ve got to talk to (Public Works). We’ve got to talk to Metro Water to say, ‘How does this design impact you?’ […] But I don’t want to imply that anybody is saying that’s definitely going to happen. It’s just a way to accommodate the request of SMI to get a grandstand on Turn 1.”

More at Nashville Post here:

https://www.nashvillepost.com/sports/sports-business/article/21145941/speedway-motorsports-fairgrounds-plan-includes-new-grandstand

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I was unable to attend the meeting last night, but I have replayed the entire meeting. I was not surprised to find that most of the pro side were from outside Davidson County.  There is a lot of casti

https://twitter.com/MattWeaverAW/status/1402344808199475200?s=20 https://twitter.com/MattWeaverAW/status/1402351125697794048?s=20

There is enough discussion now that the Fairgrounds Speedway Racetrack expansion to 30,000 seats deserves its own thread.  The racetrack site has been around since 1904.  It served for both horse a

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5 hours ago, Melrose said:

It certainly sounded like in response to the question during the Fair Board meeting, the representative from mayors office  confirmed that under the  plan they are talking about,  the existing grandstands would be torn down entirely,  as well as the existing track and track surface would be razed .  So the whole existing facility would be torn down, which would then be replaced by a new facility, which would have a larger footprint with the new, additional bleacher capacity to the south....  

 I would certainly not be in favor of that and I bet the people that utilize the racetrack would put up a massive fight. As I said over int he Soccer thread, removing the entire racetrack is giving a ton of leverage to the Save the Fairgrounds folks. That plan technically falls into the same category as the soccer stadium because Metro facilitated that exact approach, but as Smeags said, the race track is alot more historic than a bunch of crappy shed buildings that get used to sell socks by the dozen. 

9 hours ago, markhollin said:

Fairgrounds Racetrack expansion, 2021, diagram.png

This exact arguement is the reason why it was so important that Metro should have been examining the racetrack during the public process for the soccer stadium. The draft plan above does not take into account the parking  structure that will be between the stadium and the turn 1 grandstands. The parking structure will interfere with any expansion of the grandstands into Turn 1 because the city flat out ignored the race track. Thanks to the previous administrations, the current administration will have a much harder time preserving the historic track and expanding seating. The reason Turn 1 grandstands are so sought after is because the fans see the car driving at them, Turn 4 is the exact opposite as the cars drive away from fans so that is why it is much less desirable. 

Furthermore, any expansion of the Turn 1 Grandstands will block the emergency vehicle access there, so it most likely means that the tunnel connecting to the infield would need to be expanded. I think this would be necessary to get car haulers into the infield as there really isnt a place they could access the track from anywhere other that Turn 1. 

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All of this being said, it should be a big fat NO to tearing down the speedway. Metro got itself into this mess and will need to find a way out. And who know, maybe that will require re-working some of the land that sits between the stadium and the speedway, specifically where the parking structure is planned.

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As far as the track being historic: the site is historic (dating back to the early 1900s as a horse track originally), but the track itself has been shortened, rebuilt, and re-sloped several times--most recently in the early 70s. And the grandstands were rebuilt in mid-60s after a fire destroyed the original wooden structure.   

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I heard a famous horse was buried around the track. Found this:

The horse, John R. Gentry held the world record for trotting horses and retired in 1900. He was buried in the infield of the fairgrounds racetrack. Over 100 people attended the funeral.

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1 hour ago, PruneTracy said:

If you want an idea of NASCAR's commitment to returning to short tracks, they filed plans last year to turn the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway into a half-mile oval:

w2r5uN9.jpeg

For scale reference, this entire plan fits in the existing tri-oval (or whatever it's called for D-shaped tracks).

Here is the track within the scheme of the existing 2-mile oval

fontana-map.jpg

1 hour ago, PruneTracy said:

On the other hand, NASCAR is doing this expensive reconfiguration in spite of the half-mile Irwindale Speedway being only a few miles away, so perhaps it's not as much an endorsement for the Fairgrounds Speedway as it may seem.

Something to consider is Nascar actually owns Auto Club Speedway with its recent merger with International Speedway Corporation. Irwindale is still privately owned. Plans are still murky on this as Auto Club has been removed from the 2021 Nascar schedule in all three series. There are rumors that the current layout could appear on the 2022 schedule and then the short track in 2023.  The ability for racetracks to be have multiple layouts (Fairgrounds as the full track and the smaller infield track) like the SMI tracks with infield road courses, Bristol converting to dirt for the spring race this year brings a new value that Nascar will need to utilize moving forwards. Granted the Fairgrounds Speedway could not make use of the smaller front stretch track, but having the Fairgrounds and the Superspeedway on the schedule is a great way for Nascar to build on the relationship that they obviously enjoy with the City of Nashville.

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On 2/22/2021 at 11:05 AM, MLBrumby said:

Good questions! I've wondered about the Fairgrounds track as well and how it lost NASCAR. Anyone here know?  Was it related in any way to the fairgrounds being a "third rail" of local politics as evidenced by the wrangling over the new facilities, then the stadium?  

As a NASCAR fan for the better part of four decades now, my hunch is that the Fairgrounds lost its spot on the NASCAR schedule after 1984 when the series began to regularly gain national TV, greater demand for tickets, and big-money sponsors who wanted a more big-league appearance. The small tracks that did stay on the schedule invested a lot of money in their facilities to stay relevant. There might have been more going on behind the scenes locally, such as politics, but in those days NASCAR kept behind-the-scenes deals pretty much out of the public eye. 

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I really hope Bristol puts their money where their mouth is and updates the Fairgrounds Speedway.  I think tracks like that are the future of NASCAR, thankfully…and the super speedways will become less and less valuable. 

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44 minutes ago, nashvylle said:

So does this mean SMI's proposal is dead?

I wouldn't think so. I think what this does is kill the idea of demolishing the track and rebuilding with the orientations flipped - which is fine by me.

I wonder if this would include the extension - or at least curb cut and signalization of - Wedgewood Ave. Anybody know about that?

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1 hour ago, Bos2Nash said:

I think what this does is kill the idea of demolishing the track and rebuilding with the orientations flipped - which is fine by me.

I wonder if this would include the extension - or at least curb cut and signalization of - Wedgewood Ave. Anybody know about that?

The wedgewood extension has been funded and given to Bell Construction

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1 hour ago, nashvylle said:

The wedgewood extension has been funded and given to Bell Construction

So will this occur during Phase 2? Would hate to see the city spend money only to have Bell rip up a wide section.

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3 hours ago, Bos2Nash said:

So will this occur during Phase 2? Would hate to see the city spend money only to have Bell rip up a wide section.

I don’t know the timing but I imagine fair park knows about Wedgewood avenue and vice versa. 

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5 hours ago, nashvylle said:

The wedgewood extension has been funded and given to Bell Construction

What is the WW extension?  I didn't see it on the DevMap. Is that to extend WW all the way to N'ville Rd? 

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Its hard to find particulars on the Metro Nashville website because the search engine sucks so bad too.  Thanks for posting ganman! We have such a diverse group of people on this board, not a lot gets past us.

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Fair Board next Tuesday at 8 am. I have an appointment so I will not be available to watch.

Board of Fair Commissioners Meeting (Virtual)

3/9/2021
8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

 

 

Meeting agenda

There will not be a physical location for this meeting in order to protect public health, safety, and welfare.

This meeting will be streamed live and will also be rebroadcasted on Metro Nashville Network (MNN) later in the day. Please see Electronic Public Meeting Access Notice to listen to the meeting live.

Members of the public wishing to speak on matters posted for public comment may call 629-255-1939 during the course of the meeting for live public comment time. You may also email your comments ahead of time to [email protected] or leave a voice mail at 629-255-1938.

 

 

 

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Not really news, but one of the biggest names in Nascar was on site today. Don’t know if this is in association with the SMI group or maybe his show about abandoned historical racetracks. It’s also possible he was in town for IndyCar and stopped by the track  

18F2AD4A-49DC-4E45-8A82-73A7A1CA22CF.thumb.jpeg.1235037baa94487ebdfcfd3182be70f1.jpeg

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