Race Weekend Central

Fire on Fridays: Inability to Secure Nashville Fairgrounds Points to No New Short Tracks … Again

When a Nashville Fair Board commissioner said during a meeting this week that “there’s not going to be a NASCAR race at the [Nashville Fairgrounds] Speedway in 2022,” it essentially confirmed that the NASCAR Cup Series will not add a new short track to its schedule for the 52nd consecutive season.

I realized I’m pounding this drum on a nearly biweekly basis now and that that drum is starting to turn into a dead horse, but it would be completely unacceptable for NASCAR to not add a new short track next year. It was unacceptable for them to not have any short tracks this year or especially in 2020.

Last year, with all of the COVID-19 restrictions and there not being any crowds at races when NASCAR returned, the Cup Series could’ve raced at any local short track in the region. Of course it had to honor the agreements with Speedway Motorsports, Inc., Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Dover International Speedway, but NASCAR owns the other half of the tracks.

It’s not going to sue itself if the tour doesn’t honor one of its track agreements.

See also
Fire on Fridays: It's Time for Another '1st Time in 51 Years'

Over the past year, NASCAR has overcome so many obstacles and has proven that if it wants to get something done, then it will … except when it comes to more short track racing. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten is that if someone wants to see you, they will make time for you.

The same applies to NASCAR and short tracks: if the racing series truly wanted more short tracks, it would’ve added one in the last 50 years. Instead, it’s gradually reduced the number of short track races from 25 to five.

Of course there will be one new short track come 2023 due to the transformation of Auto Club Speedway from its current 2-mile oval to a half-mile bullring. But that addition is canceled out thanks to the loss of one race on Bristol Motor Speedway’s concrete surface.

What irks me the most is the reasoning as to why the Fairgrounds won’t work out for next year. Jason Bergeron, the Fair Board commissioner, said that, “There’s no way that construction of basically an entirely brand new speedway facility is going to be complete between late summer 2021 and in time for 2022.”

I’ve never been to the Fairgrounds, and I’m not entirely sure what all would need to be done to get it ready for NASCAR. But it’s a racetrack that is already operational for weekly racing. You can’t tell me it would take over a year to get it ready for NASCAR.

In 1988, Richmond Raceway’s half-mile facility was demolished and rebuilt as its current three-quarter-mile configuration. That entire remodel was done between the racetrack’s spring and fall events that year.

That was 33 years ago, so surely the technology is even better today to pull off a feat like that even quicker.

The difference, though, is that Richmond is privately owned, while the Fairgrounds is owned by the community and has to go through all these government channels to get anything done. And of course, government paperwork and bureaucracy slows everything down.

Which leads to the most disturbing part of why we won’t get NASCAR racing at the Fairgrounds in 2022, and though SMI is still trying to make it happen, maybe not ever. The neighborhood next to the track doesn’t want racing there!

“I want the board to know I had not anticipated how negative the public response would be on this,” Bergeron said. “For all the emails we all get from somebody, I’m getting 10 times that many calls and emails and texts from people who I’ve never talked about the Fairgrounds with, neighbors I know who are furious. Furious. I had not anticipated the amount of fury that would come from the public on this presentation. That’s really driving my concern that we need to have more robust public engagement after we have the full details of the plan presented.”

How can anyone have the nerve and self-entitlement to move next to a racetrack and get mad that there are cars on it making noise?

What’s next for these people? Will they move next to a railroad and complain about how loud trains are until it gets shut down? Will they move next to an airport and complain about how loud planes are?

If you don’t like living next to a racetrack, then do everything in your power to get NASCAR to come there so that the land value will go up and you can sell your place and move.

NASCAR would only be there for one weekend, and it would likely lead to less on-track events such as testing taking place the rest of the year at the track. The residents there would only have to suffer through one weekend to have so many more things get better there.

Plus, during that weekend, those home owners can make bank by charging an arm and leg for race fans to park on their property. Just ask the church next to Bristol how much of its budget comes from race-weekend parking.

And part of the SMI deal to bring in NASCAR would likely include renovations that help with noise reduction. NASCAR and SMI do a good job at blocking the noise outside of racetracks. You can still hear the cars of course, but it’s not ear-splitting.

If local residents think races at the Fairgrounds are loud, they are in for it this summer when the NTT IndyCar Series has a race through the streets of downtown Nashville. Those cars are much louder and whinier, and they won’t have walls and grandstands blocking the sound.

See also
No NASCAR Nashville Fairgrounds Race in 2022, Says Fair Grounds Commissioner

To any of the complainers living in the neighborhood next to the track who are reading this article, please let us know your logic on this. Because I simply cannot understand why having NASCAR there would be such a bad thing.

Anyways, as long as there’s a 10:1 ratio of locals who oppose the track, I don’t see racing there happening anytime soon. So NASCAR needs to find another short track.

Please, NASCAR. You saw how phenomenal the racing at Martinsville Speedway was this past weekend and how much drama ensued afterward.

Did we see any of that at any of the intermediate or road course races so far this year?

Please give us one new short track in 2022 in addition to the Auto Club project. Let’s end that 51-year drought.


About the author

Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.

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Jason Bergeron and his ilk are doing everything the can to upend the Fairgrounds Speedway. After all, stock car racing is for the uneducated & toothless southerners. He’s more interested in the urbane euroweenie / carpetbagger pro soccer stadium adjacent to the existing speedway. The two cannot coexist.

David Barlowe

It sounds to me like you are a “Toothless Yankee scumbag that crawled out from under a rock”. You belong in the South American Jungle to live with the head hunters after your sorry toothless Yankee Ass.

Joshua W Farmer

Michael, great article. And Mike, great comment. Even though I enjoy soccer, I much more enjoy seeing ONE SINGLE PERSON controlling a piece of metal and moving parts that “could” kill him. The thrill of racing is something I’ve actually done and it doesn’t at all compare to kicking a piece of rubber–that isn’t going to actually hurt you unless you’re just bad and run into someone physically. I sit here and hear local racecars revving and testing their motors and I love it. So local college kids, move and let’s have NASCAR back. It’s the country music capitol after all. We aren’t stupid rednecks with no education and most NASCAR racers aren’t even from the South anymore–dumb movies like Talledaga Nights engrained in the new generation of fans that we are racist, poor, redneck and uneducated. However, most crew members were former college athletes, each team has about, on average, 8 engineers and and the men that drive the cars, or crew chief them, are self-made. They did the hard work. A NASCAR race at Nashville Fairgrounds would also be an economic boon for the region as there would be thousands of fans wanting to be there and see it. As someone that has watched a race there before, awesome action. If I were NASCAR, I would simply put my money where my mouth is and buy out the residents who complain, then renovate the track–new pavement, higher banks (as the track was before) SAFER barriers and leveling ground for temporary grandstands or scaffold seats (of course, up to safety codes). The track already has seating and restrooms and concessions but how about just going total throw-back and allow the fans to bring the concessions they want? Host a nice country concert beforehand (like I’ve seen Jason Aldean, Alabama, Confederate Railroad and many others do).

David Russell Edwards

It is an unfortunate fact that sometimes people move into areas around established establishments and then begin to complain about them. Sometimes they win the fight and the original location, which may not have a lot of political or economic power, things like shooting ranges, race tracks and others, are forced out.
It will always come down to power, who has it and is willing to use it. From the article it seems the residents around the track may have the upper hand.
We shall see.

William Heath

My home town track was one of the fastest dirt tracks in the country (Ernie Purcell Memorial Speedway) City people moved right next to the track. This is what happened…..1st curfew on race nights 11pm. Then later 10:30pm. WE HAD THE REAL GOOD FAST RED CLAY. LOVED IT. NEXT THEY put an ordinance in for no watering the track…This created a dirty dirt dust storms on Sat night. Soon the city folk shut the track down. Now piece racing history killed by some dick had city folk trying to make us live like them. Just another great thing taken from us. Liberals don’t believe in others rights, just theirs! This was a great Article!

Will Dossett

It has nothing to do with noise. It’s just politics! It was politics in the ’80’s when NASCAR pulled out and it’s politics now. When I first went there in the early ’50’s, it was located on the edge of town. Now the land values have increased and the politicians are seeing only $ signs! It has always been that way. The fair board tried to extort NASCAR in the ’80’s and NASCAR told them to shove it and they are trying to do it now. Check the archives of The Tennessean for the early ’80’s and you will find the real truth.


Yes , short track racing coming to Fontana, we California’s can’t wait yes !!!

Clint Riggan

I am 68 years old and started going to the fairgrounds with a neighbor that raced there when I was 15 and there was plenty of noise then not only from the track but the old fair park and all the rides that accompanied it. Not much has changed over the years in the area, there are still 2 roads that get blocked for long periods of time because of the trains going into and out of Radnor Yards but no one is complaining about the fact that a ambulance or other emergency service might be delayed in providing services. And its about a 50/50 mix of residential and commercial with several major warehouse and distribution facilities within blocks of the track to add to the noise and traffic factor but no one is complaining about that. Now what about the shipping container houses they just built across the street from the house nestled among the rows of pretty little shotgun houses built 4 to a lot so you have no room to have a outdoor gathering in your yard, but again no one is complaining about this. And now they have the audacity to build a 40 thousand seat soccer stadium to the rear of the track. Now we all no that this will not create any noise or unwanted traffic in this quiet little section of town. And wait till the stadium opens, no study was done for parkingor entering and leaving the track. While racing is not everyone’s cup of tea neither is soccer or living in a house so close to my neighbors that I can hear his wife fart. Why can’t we all just get along. If you don’t like noise then not only are you going to have to complain about the race track but soon the soccer stadium. Solution, learn to get along with ALL your neighbors or move somewhere quiet. I live on the flight path of the airport and sometimes depending on weather conditions it’s loud but over the years I’ve learned to live with it and most of the times don’t even pay any attention to it, my a/c unit is more annoying. There are plans for noise dampening measures to help abate the noise and mufflers that the cars can and should run that even with 20 to 30 cars if the proper muffler is run and the rule is enforced by track officials the noise would be no worse than their neighbors lawnmower. To the neighbors that moved in to the area and were led to believe the track was going away I say shame on you for being so gullible, for the one that don’t want the noise you should have done your homework. If you want quiet you don’t move next to a racetrack, lake, rock quarry, land fill, fire hall, airport, or anyplace that has neighbors. My only regret about the track is I wish I had a nickel for every dollar I spent out there, but I wouldn’t trade that for all the friends I made there.

Jody Poovey

Nascar has done everything they can to bring racing back there. It’s not their fault,it’s the communities. If people in that area wanted NASCAR there then it would be there.

John Becker

Yeah, there’s always the NIMBY factor. I live near Chicago, and you should hear the moaning and groaning from people who buy houses near Midway or O’Hare airport. Nevermind that the airports existed 70+ years ago when it was a farmers field.


This is a systemic problem everywhere.
Santa Monica airport has had jets banned from landing there because of the noise by neighbors that moved there knowing there was an airport there.
The airport is in danger of closing.
I heard a rumor about some investors salivating at closing the airport and building more boring ass apartment buildings there, but that some rich celebrities that use the airport had made it so if the airport closes it will remain public land.

Then there’s Laguna Seca. Luxury houses were built close to the track and ask the rich fucks there are making life harder for the track with insane noise regulations and strict weekend only operational hours.

The story repeats itself everywhere in the US.

David C Atkinson

I grew up in Guitar Town… We used to go sit on the bluffs and watch the races… Traffic has always been bad in that part of town… Thank God they stopped doing Fan Fair out there years ago….


Yeah let’s boycott NASCAR coming to the fairgrounds and boycott the likely adjacent commercial development that would come along with it meaning more revenue and higher land value because we are self entitled snooty yuppies that only care about filling up the stadium for a soccer game so we can mingle and drink white claws and hard seltzer’s all afternoon. As if the upcoming Indy car race through downtown or (to a lesser extent) even a full stadium watching a pretty good Titans team doesn’t put off any noise, but yes, let’s have it our way because our collective p**sies hurt. Stupid!

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