NASCAR and Dover Motorsports Inc. announced Wednesday that Nashville Superspeedway will reopen to host a NASCAR Cup Series race in 2021.
The change will drop Dover International Speedway from two Cup Series races to one event next season. Dover Motorsports Inc. built the 1.33-mile concrete track in Lebanon, Tennessee, about a 40-minute drive from downtown Nashville.
"Thanks to the collaboration of Dover Motorsports and our broadcast partners, we are excited to bring NASCAR racing back to Nashville, a place where the passion for our sport runs deep," NASCAR President Steve Phelps said in a release. "The Nashville market is a vital one for our sport, and bringing NASCAR Cup Series racing to Nashville Superspeedway will be an integral building block in helping us further deliver on our promise in creating a dynamic schedule for 2021."
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Dates for the new Nashville event and Dover’s race weekend were not announced.
The move follows NASCAR’s recent rekindling of its relationship with the Music City, which played host to the NASCAR Awards banquet and Champion’s Week activities last December. Nashville Superspeedway hosted NASCAR, ARCA and IndyCar events during its operation from 2001-2011, and the .596-mile Nashville Fairgrounds track was a fixture on the Cup Series schedule from 1958-1984, with other NASCAR national tours running there until 2000.
Since its last NASCAR event in 2011, the Nashville Superspeedway has sat idle except for occasional rentals for stock-car driving experiences or for car storage by Nissan, which has an assembly plant located in nearby Smyrna, Tennessee. Panattoni Development Company purchased a 147-acre portion of the 1,250-acre speedway grounds in 2018 with plans to redevelop the land for industrial use. The group exercised an option to buy an additional 132 acres last June. Neither land parcel included the track or its seating.
The Fairgrounds board and Nashville city officials had been working on proposals to bring NASCAR racing back to the historic half-mile layout, with Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and parent company Speedway Motorsports, Inc., proposing a $60 million renovation plan and acting as go-betweens in negotiations. But disputes over how the property will be used for construction of a Major League Soccer stadium adjacent to the track have slowed progress on infrastructure plans and track improvements.
Dover International Speedway has hosted 100 Cup Series events since it opened in 1969, and the 1-mile Delaware track has had two annual dates on the premier series schedule since 1971.
"Our company is excited about the terrific opportunity to not only host a NASCAR Cup Series race weekend but opening our Nashville facility will enable us to host other exciting forms of racing and entertainment options," said Mike Tatoian, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Dover Motorsports, Inc. "We are also proud that our long history with NASCAR will continue at the Monster Mile in 2021, and we also look forward to hosting the 9th Firefly Music Festival next summer."