In a surprise announcement by Dover Motorsports, Nashville Superspeedway in Wilson County will reopen in 2021 and its race schedule will include a race from NASCAR’s premier Cup Series.
The Cup Series hasn’t competed in the Middle Tennessee area since 1984, when the last Cup race ran at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
A “very tentative” date of June 20, 2021 has been set for the NASCAR Cup Series race at the Nashville Superspeedway. But, according to Mike Tatoian, chief operating officer for Dover Motorsports, that date could change as NASCAR and its broadcast partners finalize next year's schedule.
Other races will also be held at the Nashville Superspeedway, Mr. Tatoian said. He did not elaborate as to what those races might be but NASCAR’s Xfinity and Gander Trucks Series have both had races at the track that is located Gladeville, Tn., as has INDYCAR.
“The anticipation is to operate the facility for a long time,” Mr. Tatoian said. “The return to racing at the track is not a one-shot deal.”
The 1.33-mile concrete track was built in 2001 by Dover Motorsports, Inc. at a cost estimated at over $100 million.
It is unclear what Dover's decision means to the efforts of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. to host NASCAR races at Nashville Fairgrounds. But, it almost certain that Dover will be the first to bring NASCAR racing back to the Nashville area. Although Speedway Motorsports, which runs the track in Bristol, has expressed interest in bringing NASCAR to the Fairgrounds, there still isn’t a deal in place after nearly two years of on and off dealings with Metro Nashville government.
Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon was built on approximately 1,250 acres in Wilson County and about 150 acres in Rutherford County off Interstate 840. "The facility that seats 25,000 was built “really, really well,” Mr. Tatoian said, but there will be a “close inspection,” with an anticipation of necessary upgrades that will include an update to infrastructure. The track is “in great condition, but we’ll need to make sure it’s ready (to be) a year-round facility.”
NASCAR’s Cup Series Awards were held in Nashville in December, which helped get conversations started about the Wilson County facility reopening — including with a NASCAR race. In turn, Dover International Speedway in Delaware will host one NASCAR Cup Series race weekend in 2021 instead of its customary two.
“When we built Nashville Superspeedway in 2001 our goal was to one day secure a NASCAR Cup Series race for the venue,” Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc., said in a statement. “While we have been in discussions with NASCAR for some time about the possibility of bringing the NASCAR Cup Series back to Nashville Superspeedway, plans really just became solidified in recent weeks.”
More announcements and updates are expected in the coming weeks, Dover Motorsports officials said.
A portion of the Nashville Superspeedway property is being redeveloped into an industrial park.