One week ago, Nashville native Norm Partin decided to start a petition online for fans wishing to show their support for #NASCAR2Nashville, the movement to bring NASCAR national series events to Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville once the venue partnered with Bristol Motor Speedway.
“I put it up overnight one night just to see what would happen, personally shared it on social media,” Partin told Speed51. “It went gangbusters from there. Of course, you know how social media is, things can explode quickly.”
The petition has already received nearly 2,000 digital signatures, with the number growing daily.
“We’ve had a tremendous response,” Partin added. “We’re signing up on the petition probably 200 people a day. Every time it gets shared on social media, 50 or 60 people pop in. We’re getting a lot of response from all over the country, and Canada by the way.”
Norm carries a strong passion to see the Fairgrounds succeed as a lifelong resident of Nashville who considers the race track part of his upbringing and livelihood, as someone who has been involved in motorsports since the 1980s.
“I’m a long-time person at the fairgrounds, from being a kid to an adult working there all along, my entire life,” he explained. “I have seen the track deteriorate because of lack of effort by the city. This is a chance to move it to a big-league situation. I wanted to give individuals a chance to sign their name up, that they’re in support of this.
“It started my career in the media part of NASCAR, back in the 80s, I’ve been through several phases of doing sponsorships to doing customer entertainment at race tracks,” Partin added. “I have a long history with Bristol Motor Speedway. I’ve had as many as three suites a race at a time, and I know how they run their operation. I’d love to see that same expertise and quality come to Nashville and put it back on par with where it needs to be.”
He hopes that the proposed partnership would allow Nashville to return to its prior status as one of the major venues in NASCAR.
“It boils down to simplicity,” Partin said. “Nashville was a main venue in Cup racing for years. Because of situations and politics and leased property, it has not been able to move to the level of other tracks. Now, we can see a long-term lease where dollars can be invested and things done to make the track better, safer, better lit, bigger attraction, new facilities from restrooms, concessions, and up.
“I’m proud of my city, I’m a native of Nashville,” he added. “I’m 65 years old. That race track has been a part of my life since 1959. I want to see this happen in the city of Nashville, and I know it’s the right decision.”
Partin firmly believes that not only would the partnership improve the quality of the Fairgrounds Speedway, it would be a boon to the city of Nashville.
“The people at SMI have come out with a statement that we’re trying to do this with a private/public partnership,” he said. “That’s what it needs to be, and they can make that happen. Look at the expertise they bring to the table. I see this as a huge opportunity for Nashville and the residents of Nashville, increasing the tax base, doing wonderful things here, and putting NASCAR back on the map in Nashville.”
Race fans interested in signing the petition can visit www.nascar2nashville.com.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Populous