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Superspeedway's new owner's plans unknown

Larry Woody, Correspondent • Updated May 29, 2014 at 11:17 PM

After Dover Motorsports announced plans Thursday to sell Nashville Superspeedway to a German-based company, NeXovation, the question now is: what does the new owner plan to do with it?

A spokesperson for NeXovation said details about how the Gladeville track will be utilized will be explained at a July press conference.

A company official was quoted as saying he envisions "a completely new business model ... that includes motor sports, automotive technology and experimental venues."

Veteran Nashville track operator Gary Baker has long suggested that the 1.3-mile concrete track could be used for performance testing by the numerous automobile manufacturers in the area.

As for the return of racing, the prospects remain hazy.

Dover suspended racing at the track three years ago due to weak attendance that had plagued it since it opened in 2001.

Expectations that the track would eventually land a premier NASCAR Sprint Cup race never materialized -- and odds now are longer than ever -- and the second-tier Nationwide races and third-tier truck races failed to draw.

Even if the new owners brought back the Nationwide and truck races, it is questionable whether they would draw any better in the future than they did in the past.

The same goes for the IndyRacing League, which competed at the Superspeedway for eight seasons before bailing out. Even if the open-wheel series returned, interest in it has waned in recent years, and it has lost such fan favorites as Danica Patrick and Dario Franchitti. It is doubtful that an IndyCar race would solve the track's ticket-revenue problems.

NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth recently created a stir by suggesting that the annual Sprint All-Star race be run at the Superspeedway, but chances of taking it away from Charlotte Motor Speedway are highly unlikely.

Since suspending racing operations, Dover has leased the track to various NASCAR teams for testing approximately 50 days a year, generating a certain amount of revenue. That could probably continue under the new ownership.

NeXovation, on its website, describes itself as a "global, multi-industry innovation company," but gives few details. It reportedly owns and operates a motor sports complex in Germany.

A "diverse motor sports complex" was Dover's original intent for the Superspeedway site when it bought the property and began development. However, a proposed drag strip, dirt track and short track were never completed as Dover wrestled with attendance problems at the main track.

The new owners could complete the drag strip, dirt track and short track and those, along with various uses of the main track, might render the facility financially viable.

Terrell Owens, editor of Middle Tennessee Racing News, said, "Nobody knows what's going to happen, but at least there's some movement. The new owners obviously have a plan in mind and it'll be interesting to see what it is."

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