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Superspeedway still idling

By Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:01 PM

The Nashville Superspeedway will remain idle for yet another season this year, according to owners Dover Motorsports, Inc.

The concrete oval track located at 4847 McCreary Road in Lebanon stretches 1.33 miles, and during its days on the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series it was the longest concrete oval in NASCAR. 

Permanent capacity for the complex sits at approximately 50,000 with the ability to expand to 150,000. The complex also includes lights for nighttime racing and foundation work to make a dirt track, short track and drag strip.

The Superspeedway, which is nestled in the middle of Wilson County, was built in 2001 and ran for 11 years before owners Dover Motorsports announced in 2011 it would not seek any NASCAR sanctions for the 2012 race season. Additionally, the track did not see racing action for the 2013 season either.

According to Larry Woody and Dover Motorsports announcements, the track saw operations suspended due to weak attendance.

“The big thing is it’s surprising it didn’t succeed,” Woody said. “I think the thought was Middle Tennessee would be a racing hotbed, but after the track opened and ran for a little while it kind of flatlined.”

Woody said the Nashville track wasn’t necessarily to blame for its lack of attendance, however, as the NASCAR circuit nationwide also has seen a drop in attendance throughout the entire country.

“It seems like it really was just bad timing,” Woody said. “It was built at a time when racing began sinking, and I think it just never really caught on.”

Another downfall, Woody said, was that the track never got to play host to a Sprint Cup Series race.

“I think if it’d had a Sprint Cup race it might’ve succeeded,” Woody said. “You know in Middle Tennessee, people like big races. I don’t think people were interested in second- and third-tier races.”

Woody said the IndyCar Series that stuck around for eight years and brought star names like Danica Patrick did do well, but once the series decided to leave the Superspeedway “didn’t have much left.”

“It was the beginning of the end when they lost that,” Woody said.

Previously, the Superspeedway usually held around four major races per year, two NASCAR Nationwide Series races and one or two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. During its run, races from the NASCAR Nationwide Series included the Pepsi 300, Inside Traxx 300, Trace Adkins Chrome 300, Federated Auto Parts 300 and Nashville 300 and saw winners such as Michael Waltrip, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch, among others. Beginning in 2002, Nationwide Series races came to the Superspeedway twice a year, once in March or April and once in June or July.

The Indy Racing League’s IndyCar Series Firestone Indy 200 was also held once a year at the track from its inception in 2001 through 2008. Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) and Indy Lights events were also held at the Superspeedway in conjunction with bigger races throughout its tenure.

In total from 2001 until 2011, the track held 21 NASCAR Nationwide Series races, 13 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and eight IndyCar Series races.

Currently the track is closed to all competitive events, but remains available for private use, in particular race-team testing.

Woody said he spoke to Denis McGlynn, President and CEO of Dover Motorsports, about a month ago and McGlynn indicated the track would have no racing for the third consecutive season, but was being used for testing and practice by a number of NASCAR teams.

“At present, nothing has changed. It’s going to sit idle for another season,” Woody said. 

Woody also added that McGlynn said he saw no change for the track for the foreseeable future.

“They are leasing the track for team testing, but as far as racing there’s been none for two years and looks like there is none on the horizon,” Woody said. “The bad news is there’s no news.”

Dover Motorsports has made the Superspeedway available for testing since 2012.

Woody said testing on the track brought in several NASCAR teams, including prominent drivers like Patrick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

While there may not be any “For Sale” signs hanging around the Nashville Superspeedway track, Woody said Dover Motorsports has indicated its willingness to listen to offers.

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