There has been plenty of conversation, speculation and excitement among motorsports enthusiasts over the past few months after Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville and Bristol Motor Speedway reached an agreement last December to pursue bringing major NASCAR events back to the famed 5/8-mile oval.
During an interview on Speed51’s “The Morning Bullring” Monday, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville promoter Tony Formosa shed more light on the progress of those discussions, practically beaming with optimism.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am about this,” Formosa said. “I’ve been talking to Marcus Smith for a couple of years now. Actually, I talked to NASCAR on a smaller level, and then all of a sudden after we won the RFP last year Marcus started talking to me and approaching me about navigating the deal together with Scott Borchetta and Big Machine Records. It really came together good.
Formosa is also optimistic that there will be a healthy partnership between the city and the fairgrounds, even as plans are being drawn and construction begins on a new stadium for Nashville’s expansion Major League Soccer franchise.
“Once we get by the city stuff, the political stuff, they’re coming in when they’re building the soccer stadium, laying the groundwork,” Formosa said. “They want to do so much improvement and they’re just trying to work out the details on the layout. Everything else is pretty much done and in the makings. It’s just what they have to put together on the architecture.”
Recently, The Tennessean reported the MLS stadium project presented certain roadblocks to potential upgrades necessary for NASCAR’s return to the Fairgrounds Speedway. Formosa shed more light on those discussions and the work already underway to find a compromise between the visions of all parties involved.
“Basically, John Ingram, the fellow heading up the soccer stadium and whatnot, they’re building a ten-story parking garage behind the speedway,” Formosa explained. “When you come in the access road, to the left is the grandstands. To the right, there’s a wall right now, and that is the outer wall for the maintenance shed for the Fairgrounds.
“The maintenance building will be leaving, and that’s where the ten-story parking garage will be going,” Formosa continued. “SMI wants to leave the access road. With the architecture and drawing, they’re going to take 15 feet of that road, and we really need that road for access for emergency vehicles, handicapped, the whole nine yards. It would be a pretty narrow little accessibility.
“They’re working on that right now. The mayor’s office is involved with that, so is Ingram and SMI, the architects and everything. I think it’s all going to be fine and it will all play out, just when you make major plans, it’s hard sometimes. You get two great companies together like Ingram and SMI, I’m sure they will get that like it needs to be.”
Ultimately, Formosa believes that the final product will be one racing fans will be excited to see.
“They’re going to put seating all the way around turn one and the back side of turn two,” Formosa said. “You’ve just got to see the layout of it. It will totally blow you away. I think they want to wait to do all that once everything’s finalized, but they’ll definitely do a massive press release. It’s something the whole city and the whole racing community is waiting to see. It’s going to be really good, that’s all I can say.”
Fans who missed “The Morning Bullring” and wish to see the show and Formosa’s interview in its entirety can click here for the on-demand replay of the broadcast. Fans can also visit the Speed 51 Five Star Bodies Facebook Feed to watch the replay of the broadcast.
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-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Bruce Nuttleman