Bristol Motor Speedway Defers Fairgrounds Deal Until After Mayoral Elections

Rendering of potential Fairgrounds Speedway renovations

Despite months of trying to get the Nashville Metro Council to approve Mayor John Cooper and Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS)’s deal to renovate the Fairgrounds Speedway, Bristol will defer until after the Mayoral election is decided.

The deal couldn’t get passed the Metro Sports Authority in July due to the board wanting to take time and gather information. The deal narrowly passed the Fairgrounds Board in a 3-2 back in mid-March. Since then, not much has changed.

Now BMS will wait till the next Metro Council term to pursue this deal. By this time, there will be a new mayor, likely one who won’t make this deal a priority as Mayor Cooper has this past year.

The deal would allow Bristol Motor Speedway to renovate and run the historic track, adding a new 30,000-seat grandstand, a re-paved track and the opportunity to host NASCAR races.

Among citizens and residents, the biggest concerns about this would be the increase in traffic, overwhelming the already busy area where GEODIS Park sits and the Fairgrounds host multiple events throughout the year. Sound pollution was another main concern in addition to how the renovation would be paid for.

Between June and now, there have been two polls conducted. In a poll from early June, commissioned by BMS and conducted by the D.C.-based Hart Research Associates, showed that 42 percent of voters supported the proposal when given a “barebones description of the deal.”

The analysis noted that as pollsters provided voters with details of the deal, the number of voters who supported Bristol Motor Speedway operating the speedway grew to two-thirds of the polling pool, according to story in the Nashville Scene. The poll received criticism as it had nine percent margin of error.

A poll conducted by the Washington-based GBAO Strategies on behalf of the Tennessee Laborers PAC surveyed 500 local voters from July 17-19, and showed only 14 percent of respondents expressing strong support. This poll’s main purpose was to gather information ahead of the Nashville Mayoral race. This poll had a 4.4 percent margin of error.

Metro Council member Freddie O’Connell leads the most recent polls for the election, and was vocally against the Titans deal with the city. He said he was not focused on the deal but looks forward to working on how to improve the Fairgrounds, including the speedway, in an interview with the Nashville Banner.

Lone Republican candidate Alice Rolli is narrowly in second pace according to recent polling, and has voiced support for the BMS deal with the city.

Josef Newgarden Honored By Tennessee With Special Day Of Recognition

Pictured (L-R): Stuart C. McWhorter, Josef Newgarden and Mark Ezell. Photo: Nick Tavares/NTP Photography

The state of Tennessee recognized Hendersonville native Josef Newgarden for his 2023 Indianapolis 500 win by proclaiming July 31, 2023, as “Josef Newgarden Day.”

The event served as the unofficial start to race week festivities in downtown Nashville that will culminate with the NTT IndyCar Series taking to the streets this Sunday (Aug. 6).

“It is one of the highest honors of my career, being recognized by my home state for winning the Indianapolis 500,” said Newgarden, who is coming off of a double-header win at the Iowa Speedway. “I’m a proud Tennessean and had to move away for a time to chase my motorsports dreams, but I always knew I would return. Racing has gone from nearly extinct in Nashville to now being one of our bedrock forms of entertainment. I will continue to do my part to ensure racing remains part of our growing sports scene.”

Newgarden took the checkered flag in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 28 for his first Indianapolis 500 win and the 19th in the history of Team Penske. He has collected four wins this season and is currently runner-up in the NICS Championship points. The two-time NTT IndyCar Series Champion has been a fierce proponent of the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix (BMMCGP) and the ability of Nashville to host marquee events.

Following the BMMCGP, four races will remain on the 2023 IndyCar schedule. The season is set to conclude at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, on Sunday, Sept. 10. In addition to chasing his third series title, Newgarden will attempt to sweep all five oval races on the schedule when the series moves to World Wide Technology Raceway just outside St. Louis on Aug. 27.

He will take on the streets of Nashville on Sunday at 11 a.m. CT to continue his chase in the IndyCar points standings.

TSC Podcast: Episode 016: Music City Grand Prix EVP Liz Allison

This week on The Sports Credential Podcast, Big Machine Music City Grand Prix Executive Vice President Liz Allison joins the show to talk about next weekend’s IndyCar race and festival.

Liz and Steven also talk about her experience working in NASCAR, Public Relations and Television throughout the years. They discuss what all goes into putting on this event and how they expand and grow it every year.

The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix is set to take place in Downtown Nashville the weekend of Aug. 4-6. For the third straight year, the NTT IndyCar Series will race over the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge and around Nissan Stadium. The three day event will include GT America racing, IndyCar racing, live music and much more.

Be sure to follow The Sports Credential on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and to subscribe to The Sports Credential Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube for new episodes every week!

Carly Pearce To Sing National Anthem At Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

Carly Pearce. Photo: Allister Ann

Grammy Award-winning songwriter Carly Pearce is slated to sing the National Anthem at the third annual Big Machine Music City Grand Prix NTT IndyCar Series race on Sunday, Aug. 6 in Nashville. Pearce will perform her stunning rendition of the National Anthem LIVE at 11:11am CST prior to the race.

The announcement comes at an exciting time for the Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) artist who recently released her acclaimed new single “We Don’t Fight Anymore” featuring Chris Stapleton. Pearce was one of the headlining acts at the 2022 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix alongside BMLG artist Brantley Gilbert.

This year, the grand prix will feature performances from Brian Kelley, Chris Janson, Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe, Gavin DeGraw, Flo Rida, Jay DeMarcus, Jason Crabb, Consumed By Fire, Cade Thompson, Iveth Luna and Tim Dugger.

Tickets for the Big Machine MCGP are still available including three-day tickets and premium packages, providing the greatest value and access to all on-track activities featuring the NTT IndyCar Series and concerts each night.

Trackhouse Racing & Ross Chastain Partner With Busch Light For Major Sponsorship

Trackhouse Racing and NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain have signed a multi-year agreement with Busch Light to be their primary sponsor starting in 2024.

Chastain has become one of the top drivers in the Cup Series since joining Trackhouse in 2021. Last month, he had a huge weekend in Music City, winning his first ever Busch Light Pole Award then winning the Ally 400 race the next night at Nashville Superspeedway.

“Ross has already accomplished so much in his career and we’re so proud that an iconic brand like Busch Light sees his commitment not only to the sport, but to his fans. Being sponsored by the official beer of NASCAR is such an honor and we can’t wait to see what Ross and Busch Light accomplish together in 2024 and beyond,” says Justin Marks, Trackhouse Racing Founder & Owner. “It has been Trackhouse’s goal from day one to build something special and different. Something that resonates with the fans and partners in NASCAR. For Busch Light to recognize this and commit to the vision is both humbling and inspiring as we continue to write a special chapter in the history of this sport.”

For over 44 years, Busch Light has invested in some of NASCAR’s most successful programs and events from the Busch Pole Award to the Busch Light Clash, and working alongside NASCAR icon Kevin Harvick. As the brand takes its final lap with Harvick this year, Busch Light will continue its tradition in the sport by sponsoring Chastain and working with Trackhouse Racing to cross the finish line with the No. 1 Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series driver.

“On the farm in Alva, Florida, Busch Light has always been the beer of choice for all of our celebrations, and now that they are right by my side as my sponsor – it’s a dream come true!” This sponsorship means so much to me as the brand not only supports NASCAR, but also places value and extends their support to communities that are close to my heart — the humble, hard-working people across the U.S. who enjoy cracking a cold one after an honest day’s work,”  says Chastain.

Chastain is currently in fifth place in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings and fourth in the Cup Series Playoff standings. There are seven regular season races left before the playoffs begin on Sept. 3 at Darlington. With his win in Nashville, he has punched his ticket to the 2023 playoffs.

Oracle Red Bull Racing Showrun Brings Formula 1 Experience To Lower Broadway

Photo: Courtesy of Red Bull Racing

Nashvillians will have the chance to experience Formula 1 through the streets of Nashville when Oracle Red Bull Racing RB7 Formula 1 car will ignite the streets of Downtown Nashville as eight-time Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo puts on an exhilarating Showrun through Lower Broadway on Oct. 14.

Celebrating the recent milestone of 100 Team wins, Oracle Red Bull Racing will share the first-hand thrill of racing as it brings the action through Music City. With Ricciardo behind the wheel of the championship-wining car, spectators are guaranteed an electrifying afternoon as he rips up and down the iconic city streets.

“I’m going to be visiting Nashville once again, and this time is very special,” says Ricciardo. “I’ll be going up and down Lower Broadway on October 14 in an F1 car and it’s going to be awesome. Come out and enjoy the Showrun, and maybe we’ll go out and do a little dance afterward.”

Spectators will witness the power and irreplicable tune of the RB7 for the first time – bridging the pinnacle of motorsport and music, two passions deeply ingrained in the city’s cultural fabric. The free-to-the-public event will occur on a temporary track that spans across First and Fifth Avenues from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m..

World-class performances by street freestyle motorcyclist Aaron Colton and rally car champion and former F1 driver Scott Speed will entertain the crowd in between Ricciardo’s runs. Spanning from First Avenue until Fifth Avenue, spectators are invited to get an up close and personal look of the action all along Broadway or on top of the surrounding rooftop bars.

The Red Bull Showrun is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 14, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. with surrounding fan zones that are open to the public. Week-of activations and events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Episode 014: NTT IndyCar Series Driver Felix Rosenqvist

This week, NTT IndyCar Series Driver from Arrow McLaren Felix Rosenqvist joins the show, talking to Steven about his season thus far, what he looks forward to improving in as well as August’s Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.

Steven and Felix dive into the world of IndyCar, taking a deeper look into how these drivers work week to week and how they prepare for each track, especially a track like the MCGP’s which droves through downtown Nashville and over the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge. Felix discusses what makes the track so unique, difficult and very fun.

Felix also talks about how he and his team prepare each week even after a poor performance. He talks about his excitement for Mid-Ohio this weekend and why the MCGP course is one of the best street courses in the United States.

Steven also talks about this past weekend’s NASCAR triple header at the Nashville Superspeedway as well as some of Nashville SC’s current woes.

Be sure to subscribe to The Sports Credential Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube for new episodes every week!

NASCAR Weekend Recap: Ross Chastain & Trackhouse Racing Dominate Nashville

Ross Chastain celebrating his Ally 400 win on Victory Lane. Photo: Courtesy of Trackhouse Racing

The third annual triple header NASCAR weekend at the Nashville Superspeedway ended with Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain taking home the Ally 400 Gibson Guitar trophy for his first Cup Series win of the season.

With the playoffs right around the corner, the pressure was building as Chastain scored a win to punch his ticket to the playoffs yet, but that changed in Music City as he had one of the fastest cars in practice and went on to win the Busch Light Pole Award, his first and Trackhouse’s first-ever pole win. During the night race, Chastain led 99 of the 300 laps and was able to hold off Martin Truex Jr. at the end.

Ross Chastain on Victory Lane at the Nashville Superspeedway. Photo: Courtesy of Trackhouse Racing

“It’s absolutely incredible the fight that we have,” Chastain said postgame on NBC. “This is why every little kid out there anywhere in the world, when you get criticized, and you’re going to if you’re competitive, they will try to tear you down. You will start believing you can’t do it. You have to go to your people, trust in the process, read your books, trust the Big Man’s plan upstairs, just keep getting up and going to work.

“I got to tell you; I’ve had a lot of self-reflection throughout all this. I had a group that believed in me, and they didn’t let me get down. They bring rocket ships and I just try to point them to Victory Lane.”

Chastain couldn’t celebrate without smashing a watermelon on the finish line after nearly destroying his tires in an epic burnout in front of a sold-out crowd. It was a statement win for both him and his team as a legit contender in NASCAR as well as this season. Chastain has had his ups and downs so far, but they all got wiped out with the amazing win. Trackhouse Racing has solidified itself as Nashville’s team.

“It’s just so hard at this level,” said Chastain. “I don’t care about what happened last month or the rest of my life – this is a freaking Cup win baby.”

Ross Chastain’s No. 1 Worldwide Express WWEX Racing Chevrolet. Photo: Courtesy of Trackhouse Racing

On Saturday night, veteran driver A.J. Allmendinger took home a Gibson Guitar trophy after dominating the Tennessee Lottery 250, savvy enough to persist through all types of circumstances and experienced enough to soak in every winning moment.

Allmendinger survived several early multi-car wrecks, hung on through two overtime restarts and powered his way to victory lane in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.

Driving the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing, Allmendinger collected his second Xfinity Series victory for the season and the 17th of his career. Allmendinger is starting 19th in the sold-out Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race.

“This is one of those iconic trophies you want to win,” said Allmendinger, who led 25 laps overall, before lifting the traditional Nashville Superspeedway Gibson Guitar in Victory Lane. “You never know when you’ll be back here again.”

The 41-year-old California native started 11th and made his way through a race that had seven caution flags fly through the first 70 laps and eight multi-car wrecks. The caution flags tied a Nashville Superspeedway Xfinity Series record.

Allmendinger held the lead for the last 20 laps, including the two overtime restarts, where he held firm on the bottom of the track as the field spread out three and even four-wide behind him.

A.J. Allmendinger. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Superspeedway

On Friday night, Carson Hocevar came up victorious at the Rackley Roofing 200 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Hocevar led the last 40 laps of the race, and celebrated with a huge burnout in front of the main grandstand as fireworks shot over the backstretch and collected a $50,000 bonus for winning the final race of the Triple Truck Challenge.

“I’m enjoying this [stretch of races] a lot right now,” said Hocevar, who has finished in the top 5 in five straight races and posted the field’s top practice speed on Friday afternoon. “I enjoy it especially because I get to hold a trophy.”

Driving the No. 42 Chevrolet for Niece Motorsports, Hocevar captured his second Truck Series race on the season and earned his sixth top-five finish. The 20-year-old Michigan native started seventh and steadily made his way up, finishing fourth after Stage One and second after Stage Two.

“I hope that puts away any doubters,” Hocevar said. “I hope I get to drive this truck for a long time.”

Carson Hocevar. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Superspeedway

Hocevar completed the 150 laps/200 miles in one hour, 57 minutes, 16 seconds, averaging 102.0675 mph with 18 trucks finishing on the lead lap. Seven leaders exchanged the lead nine times with seven caution periods taking up 43 laps.

Next week, NASCAR will take on the streets of Chicago in what is expected to be a wild weekend during which stock cars will race through downtown Chicago with Lake Michigan in the backdrop.