Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers Named Title Sponsor For Trans Am Series In 2023

TA2 Big Machine Spiked Coolers Car. Photo: Courtesy of Big Machine Racing

Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers will be the sponsor for the Trans Am 2 Class Series in 2023. The growing class, which saw record fields of more than 50 cars in 2022, will be known as the Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers TA2 Series for this season’s 12 events. Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers, “The Official Ready-to-Drink Cocktail of Trans Am and SVRA,” joins Big Machine Vodka’s continued brand partnership as “The Official Vodka of Trans Am and SVRA.”

“The Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers brand and products are growing at an accelerated rate, much like the Trans Am Series and TA2,” says TA2 Owner & Driver Scott Borchetta. “It’s the perfect match for our continued growth in the ready-to-drink category, and we’re equally excited (and bullish) about the future of both Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers and the TA2 Series.”

Borchetta, the reigning TA2 Masters Champion and owner of Scott Borchetta Racing, drives the No. 48 Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers Ford Mustang and finished seventh in the overall TA2 standings last year.

“We are so happy to welcome Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers as the entitlement sponsor of TA2,” says Trans Am President John Clagett. “We’ve had a long relationship with Scott Borchetta and the distillery, which sponsored our TA2 CBS broadcasts in 2022, in addition to Scott’s No. 48 Ford Mustang. Scott is dedicated to our series as an owner, driver and a partner, which is evidenced by his passion and performance behind the wheel and his investment in Trans Am and the Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers TA2 Series.”

The Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers TA2 Series takes the green flag for the first time in 2023 on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Sebring International Raceway, where NASCAR legend Richard Petty will serve as Grand Marshal.

Big Machine Vodka also sponsors Trans Am’s Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers Challenge, which will run on Aug. 5 this year on the Nashville street course as part of the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.

Jade Buford To Drive Second Car For Big Machine Racing At Daytona Season Opener

Jade Buford will drive a second car for Big Machine Racing (BMR) in Daytona for the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. CT.

Buford, who started his NASCAR career with Big Machine Racing in 2021 and ran select races in 2022, will drive the No. 5 Big Machine Vodka Double Spiked Coolers Chevrolet. This will mark the first time Big Machine Racing has fielded two cars as the team continues to grow and push the competitive bounds within the sport.

“Big Machine Racing is so proud to announce a second entry for Jade Buford at Daytona.  He had an incredible Top 5 run going last year before being caught up in a wild last lap incident,” says Big Machine Racing Owner Scott Borchetta. “This year, to double the excitement and our winning opportunity, we’re doubling up with our Big Machine Double Spiked Coolers No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro… and I’m visualizing a Big Machine Racing 1-2 finish.”

In October of 2022, BMR announced that Parker Kligerman will be the team’s full-time driver in 2023, driving the No. 48 Big Machine Spiked Coolers car. Kligerman made one start for the team in 2022, competing in the Sparks 300 at Talladega Superspeedway. He started 9th and ended the day with a 6th place finish.

“I’m thrilled to be returning to the Xfinity series at Daytona with Big Machine Racing driving the No. 5 Big Machine Vodka Double Spiked Coolers Chevrolet. I’m honored to be debuting the second car for the team and looking forward to working with Parker as a teammate. This will be my first time having a teammate to work with so I’m very excited to see what we can do to make sure one of our BMR Chevrolets crosses the finish line first at the end of 300 miles on the high banks of Daytona,” says Buford.

Mayor’s Office Outlines Plan For Fairgrounds Speedway For Metro Sports Authority

Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway renderings

The Nashville Metropolitan Mayor’s office presented the Metro Sports Authority with their outline to renovate and run the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway.

Plans for the speedway include a full renovation of the track, as well as the construction of a 30,000-seat grandstand, bringing NASCAR back to the city of Nashville while also sifting the financial burden off of taxpayers.

Benjamin Eagles from the mayor’s office presented this plan to the Sports Authority on Thursday (Jan. 19), speaking of its history, impact and what the city will do next if the plan is approved. Under this new 30-year lease agreement with Bristol, the east Tennessee speedway will renovate and run the historic Davidson County speedway.

The renovations in the plan include:

  • Addition of new event facilities that enable year-round multipurpose use
  • Renovation of the racing surface, including modernizing driver and spectator safety features
  • Installation of state-of-the-art sound absorption features to reduce auto racing sounds by 50 percent over current conditions
  • Updating the entire facility to bring into ADA compliance

If the plan is approved, Bristol will keep the current 10-weekend race schedule while adding non-racing programming, such as corporate events, festivals and more. The plan includes bringing a NASCAR race back to the speedway once every other year.

The Speedway has already received a $17 million grant from the state of Tennessee, as well as a $17 million contribution from the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. (NCVC). The plan has a design budget of $6 million in which Bristol Motor Speedway will pay two thirds and NCVC will pay one third.

The Sports Authority’s bonds will be backed by $1 million in rent from Bristol (with a 1% escalator), $650,000 use payments from NCVC for 20 days per year for non-racing events and guaranteed annual payment by Bristol to the Fair Board of $103,125 plus additional rent to the Fair Board of up to $103,125 annually (with a 2% escalator) to be paid using anticipated excess project revenues.

The Authority will also see money from sponsorships ($600,000) and 10% of naming rights, taxes from patrons and ticket sales, as well as event revenue sharing from events outside of four specific ones. The Sports Authority will see 5% share of gross revenues and 15% share of food & beverage sales from that.

An independent financial review was done by Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CSL) project’s proposed funding model, which is available to the Fair Board to view. The CSL report vetted financial projections and identified shortcomings.

The next step is for the Fair Board to review this proposal and vote on it. If it is passed, it will be sent back to the Sports Authority before heading to Metro Council. The Fair Board is expected to vote on the Mayor’s office plan for the speedway this month.

Nashville Sports Year In Review: The Top 10 Moments Of 2022

With 2022 in the rearview mirror, let’s take a look back at some of the best moments in the Nashville sports world from this past year.

From Nashville SC opening GEODIS Park to Hany Mukhtar‘s historic season, the second Music City Grand Prix, as well as Roman Josi‘s record breaking season with the Nashville Predators, 2022 saw quite a bit of activity this year in the city’s growing sports industry.

Here are The Sports Credential‘s Top 10 Nashville Sports Moments of 2022.

10 – The Nashville Stampede Win Inaugural PBR Team Series

The Nashville Stampede celebrating their championship win. Photo: Courtesy of the PBR

Professional Bull Riding introduced its team series in 2022, offering fans a new way to cheer for their favorite bull riders.

The Stampede was led by former PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco and head coach Justin McBride. The team finished the regular season with a record of 7-20-1, but ran the table at the Team Series Playoffs in Las Vegas where they ultimately won the inaugural season.

To read up on the team and the PBR Team Series, click here.


9 – Belmont Women’s NCAA Tournament Run

Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

It’s no secret that the Belmont women’s basketball team has been one of the best college athletic teams in the city for years now, but for the past two years, the team has been able to do what no Belmont WBB team has done before: win NCAA Tournament games.

In 2022, the Bruins took on No. 5 seed Oregon in the first round of the March Madness tournament and went on to win 73-70. Sophomores Tutti Jones and Destinee Wells put on a show where they scored 22 points and 16 points, respectively. This was the Bruins second NCAA Tournament win in program history.

Belmont later took on the Lady Vols of Tennessee on their home court in what was one of the best games of the tournament. Wells and Jones showed up big time again, scoring 22 points and 17 points, respectively, but ultimately fell just short, losing 70-67.

Despite their loss, the Belmont WBB managed to show how dominant of a team they are and will be for the coming seasons.


8 – Walker Zimmerman, Shaq Moore Named To USMNT World Cup Roster

Walker Zimmerman and Shaq Moore. Photos: Courtesy of Nashville SC

One of the biggest events of the year was undoubtedly the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The tournament, held in the winter instead of the summer, saw Nashville SC players Walker Zimmerman and Shaq Moore added to the USMNT roster. The Boys in Gold were one of only three clubs to have more than more of their players selected to the USA squad, and the pair were the first NSC players to play in a FIFA World Cup.

Zimmerman started and played all 90 minutes in three games for the USA, including the high-ratings match against England, which ended in a 0-0 draw. Moore played a combined 20 minutes in the tournament.

The U.S. fell to the Netherlands in the first round of the knockout stage 3-1, but Nashville SC successfully made its mark on the international stage.


7 – Scott Dixon Wins Dramatic Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

Scott Dixon celebrating his 2022 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix win in victory circle. Photo: Courtesy of the Music City Grand Prix.

The second annual Big Machine Music City Grand Prix this past August was one to remember as the NTT IndyCar Series Championship began heating up just as the series hit Nashville.

The already IndyCar legend Scott Dixon walked away victorious by beating Scott McLaughlin by just 0.106 seconds. This was also a record-breaking win for Dixon as he it was his 53rd career-win, making him the second most winningest driver in the sports history.

The New Zealand native started the race in 14th and found some trouble during his first pit stop. After a handful of cautions and some golden opportunities, the Chip Ganassi driver was able to find himself in the front and hold off the rest of the field.

He drove brilliantly and set himself up well to win the IndyCar season after the win in Nashville.


6 – Predators Host Stadium Series Game At Nissan Stadium

Nissan Stadium during the NHL Stadium Series. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators continued to shine in the national spotlight as they continue to host major events, most recently being a NHL Stadium Series game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in February. It was the first time an outdoor professional hockey game has ever been played in Nashville or at Nissan Stadium.

There was a lot of hype leading up to the game, which included a week long Winter Park around Bridgestone Arena and downtown Nashville. The game also included a star-studded halftime show with performances by Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert.

Sadly, the Preds fell 3-2  in what became a close and exciting game. If nothing else, Nashville once again proved they are a legit hockey town and that they can host a major sporting event as good as anyone.


5 – Mike Vrabel Named Coach of the Year

Mike Vrabel. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Tennessee Titans

The 2021-22 season was a crazy one for the Titans as they fought their way to the AFC’s No. 1 seed after suffering countless injuries, including losing Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry for half the season.

Leadership and roster decisions by head coach Mike Vrabel helped the Titans overcome and win the AFC South for a second-straight season. He was named the 2022-21 NFL Coach of the Year after leading the team to a great season despite having to play nearly 100 different players and without the league’s top rusher.

His success was recognized not only by the league, but also with a contract extension from the Titans


4 – Roman Josi Breaks Predators Single-Season Points Record

Roman Josi. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators’ 2021-2022 season ended in the first round of the NHL Playoffs, but not before Roman Josi broke the franchise record for points in a single season, finishing with an astounding 96 points.

Josi broke the record by picking up three points on three assists against the Ottawa Senators on April 8. With an outstanding performance last season, he broke the previous record set by Paul Kariya back in 2006. He was also named a Norris Trophy finalist.

Josi also made history when he became the NHL’s highest-scoring defenseman in 29 years, posting 23 goals, 73 assists and 96 points in 80 games. Only six defensemen in the past 50 years have scored more points in a single season.


3 – GEODIS Park Opens

GEODIS Park. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

The opening of GEODIS Park was not only a big deal for Nashville SC and soccer in Tennessee, but also for Nashville as a whole. When GEODIS park opened in May 2022, it solidified NSC as the city’s soccer team and third professional sports team.

The stadium became the largest soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. and Canada with a capacity of 30,000. It saw multiple sellouts throughout the season and hosted countless moments of Hany Mukhtar brilliance and memorable moments.

The stadium also offers a new music venue that is a middle ground for attendance between Bridgestone Arena and Nissan Stadium. It is already set to host a string of concerts in 2023.

GEODIS Park will also host the USWNT in 2023 as part of the SheBelieves Cup.


2 – Hany Mukhtar Wins MLS Golden Boot & MVP

Hany Mukhtar with the Golden Boot and MVP Awards. Photo: Courtesy of Nashville SC

Only a few years ago, not many people would’ve imagined that a German-born soccer player would etch his name into Nashville sports history, but after winning the 2022 MLS Golden Boot and MVP, Hany Mukhtar has become a household name in Music City.

Mukhtar was nothing short of brilliant last season as he carried Nashville SC back to the MLS Cup Playoffs for a third consecutive year. He had a remarkable 34 goal contributions (23 goals, 11 assists) in 2022, which was tied for the fifth most in a single season in MLS history.

It was a tight race between him and Austin FC’s Sebastian Driussi, but Mukhtar nearly ended that debate when he scored two goals against Austin late in the season.

The Boys in Gold struggled at times and found themselves in deep water, but Mukhtar’s performances carried them through. He scored or assisted on an incredible 65.4 percent of all Nashville SC’s goals in the 2022 season.



1 – Titans & Mayor Agree To Contract For New Football Stadium

Rendering of new Titans stadium. Photo: Courtesy of the Tennessee Titans

By far the biggest story of the year came when the Titans and Mayor’s office announced a deal to build a new, domed football stadium for the NFL franchise.

In early October, the team and Mayor John Cooper announced their plan that wouldn’t directly hit Nashville taxpayers or come from the city’s general fund. The deal includes a new lease, which will not force the city to pay for any repairs and will keep the Titans in Nashville long-term.

The proposed stadium would be a state-of-the-art building with a capacity of nearly 60,000. It will open the opportunity for Nashville to host the Super Bowl, College Football Playoffs and even a NCAA Final Four.

This new stadium will cost over $2 billion, but will be paid for by the team and the NFL, $500 million in bonds by the state and by a sales tax in and around the stadium, as well as a new hotel occupancy tax. So far, the deal has passed the first wave of approval by the Metro Council and will most likely be finalized in early 2023.

Track Enterprises Set To Promote Nashville Fairgrounds Racing For Fourth Year

Pro Late Model racing at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Photo: Josh James

Track Enterprises will begin its fourth season of operating the historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in April 2023. It was voted unanimously by The Fairgrounds Nashville Board of Commissioners to extend Track Enterprises’ contract through the 2023 racing season.

“We look forward to continuing our working relationship with Bob Sargent and Scott Menlen of Track Enterprises into the new year,” says Fairgrounds Nashville Executive Director, Laura Womack. “We are incredibly excited for the 2023 race season at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.”

The new season will begin on Saturday, April 1, highlighted by a 119-lap Pro Late Model feature race, celebrating 119 years of auto racing at the famed Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Pest Doctor Front Runners, BH Holmes Construction Legends Cars, and Murfreesboro Fence Company Bandoleros will also be in competition.

“We at Track Enterprises are looking forward to another exciting season, and to putting the best possible events on for the race fans, teams, sponsors, and local community,” says Track Enterprises President, Bob Sargent.

The remainder of the 2023 schedule is slated to be released in the coming days. Rules and technical regulations will follow shortly after the schedule release, and registration will begin following the announcement of 2023 rules and technical specifications.

Jonathan Thomas Named VP, Corporate Sales At Nashville Superspeedway

Jonathan “JT” Thomas. Photo: Courtesy of Speedway Motorsports

Speedway Motorsports announced that Jonathan “JT” Thomas, an 11-year sales and event veteran of Bristol Motor Speedway, has been promoted to Vice President of Corporate Sales at Nashville Superspeedway.

The move marks a return to Music City for Thomas, who, prior to joining the Bristol Motor Speedway team in 2011, spent more than 20 years working as a manager for Nashville music artists. In his new role, Thomas will oversee all corporate sales partnerships and activations at the 1.333-mile facility, including Ally, the speedway’s entitlement partner for its June 23-25 NASCAR Cup Series weekend. Thomas will also use his experience and connections across the music and entertainment industries to bring secondary events to the speedway.

“With deep roots in Nashville and its thriving entertainment scene, JT will be a tremendous asset to Nashville Superspeedway,” says Speedway Motorsports Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer Kevin Camper. “He has a proven track record of bringing big events to Bristol Motor Speedway, and with his knowledge of middle Tennessee and the people there, I’m confident he’ll be able to grow the speedway’s portfolio of marquee events as well.”

This announcement follows the promotion of  Matt Greci to Nashville Executive Vice President and General Manager after Erik Moses announced his departure in November.

“JT has proven himself and someone who isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and do the work to create remarkable events,” Greci notes. “He’s got the work ethic and the connections to help us continue to build the superspeedway into a world-class entertainment venue and we couldn’t be more excited for him to come back home to Nashville.”

During his 11 years at Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway, Thomas served as a Senior Director of Business Development to key clients, such as Irwin Tools, Pepsi-Cola and Pinty’s Delicious Food Inc. His position expanded to include new event development at the Last Great Colosseum, spearheading negotiations to bring superstars Kenny Chesney, Alabama, Morgan Wallen, comedian Bert Kreischer, and YouTube sensations Mr. Beast and Cleetus McFarland to Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to join the team at Nashville Superspeedway and help expand its portfolio of clients and events,” Thomas notes. “This opportunity also offers me a return to middle Tennessee, where I launched my career in the entertainment industry. I am thankful for the wonderful experience at Bristol Motor Speedway; their mission to Exceed Expectations really resonated with me and I look forward to bringing that same focus, approach and enthusiasm to my new role at Nashville Superspeedway.”

Nashville Superspeedway Partners With Vanderbilt University’s Accelerator Program

The Nashville Superspeedway is offering college students a behind-the-scenes look at NASCAR and motorsports this summer as part of the Accelerator Summer Business Immersion program at Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management.

Students will spend three weeks at various organizations combining classroom and consulting experience for career preparation. Nashville Superspeedway is the first business to be featured for the project in 2023.

“We are delighted that our Accelerator students will join the team at Nashville Superspeedway to attract a new generation of fans to the excitement of motorsports,” says Cherrie Wilkerson, Assistant Dean for Young Professional Programs at Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management. “Sports and entertainment are hallmarks for Nashville, and this partnership allows our students to work hard to bring results for both the Superspeedway and regional fans.”

During the week of June 4-9, students will research, measure and provide possible solutions for expanding and diversifying Nashville Superspeedway’s fan base. They will be tasked with developing strategies to attract audiences outside of NASCAR’s typical audience and creating a greater connection between the Superspeedway and Nashville metro area.

Students will conclude their project by attending Nashville Superspeedway’s June 23-25 tripleheader weekend, which includes the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, June 25.

Nashville Superspeedway Adds Matt Greci As Senior Vice President & General Manager

Matt Greci. Photo: Courtesy Speedway Motorsports

Speedway Motorsports announced that motorsports industry executive Matt Greci has been promoted to senior vice president and general manager at Nashville Superspeedway, replacing Erik Moses, who leaves Dec. 2 to become executive director of the Fiesta Bowl.

“Our company is very fortunate to have a senior executive with experience not only with our company but already located in the Nashville market,” says Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith. “It gives me great pleasure to announce Matt Greci as our new senior vice president and general manager at Nashville Superspeedway.

“Matt started at Charlotte Motor Speedway as an intern and through hard work and dedication, successfully moved through a variety of positions before becoming the vice president of events at Charlotte and then vice president of events and operations at Nashville Superspeedway. “We look forward to supporting Matt and our Nashville Superspeedway team as we move toward the 2023 Ally 400 NASCAR race weekend, continuing the commitment to fans and community that Erik established.”

No stranger to Speedway Motorsports, Greci relocated to Nashville shortly after the company acquired the 1.33-mile speedway as part of its purchase of Dover Motorsports in 2021. Prior to that, Greci spent nearly 16 years at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he began his career as a sales department intern, then joined the speedway full-time as the track rental and suite coordinator for corporate sales. Greci moved to the events department in 2008, working his way from events manager to vice president of events.

“When I started with Speedway Motorsports as an intern, I never could have imagined having the opportunity to lead a team as passionate, dedicated and hard-working for the fans as our staff at Nashville Superspeedway,” Greci says. “My family and I fell in love quickly with Nashville and already see this community as ‘home’.

“I’ve been fortunate to have some tremendous mentors at Speedway Motorsports and in the entertainment business,” Greci added. “They have helped me learn and grow both personally and professionally. I’m humbled to have the chance to put those lessons to use and build on the remarkable events at Nashville Superspeedway.”

During his tenure at Charlotte, Greci earned recognition as the CMS Employee of the Year in 2013. He also received the company’s highest honor, the prestigious Speedway Motorsports O. Bruton Smith Award in 2018, while managing event production at zMAX Dragway, The Dirt Track and the legendary superspeedway.  A native of Granby, CT., Greci earned a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from Wingate University in 2006.