Speedway Motorsports Inc.’s acquisition of the Nashville Superspeedway in Wilson County gives the company momentum ahead of the home stretch of its negotiations with Nashville Mayor John Cooper over the park’s race track renovation exhibitions.

Why is this important: The $ 131 million deal paves the way for NASCAR’s return to the fairground track.

What is happening: Bristol Motorsports, a division of SMI, and Cooper signed a letter of intent in March to renovate the 117-year-old fairground circuit.

Renovations are a prerequisite for NASCAR’s return to Nashville. The upper series has not raced at the fairgrounds since 1984 and the last race of the lower level series was in 2000.

  • Nashville showed its appetite for more top-level auto racing with the strong participation earlier this year for the IndyCar Music City Grand Prix, which drew 110,000 fans.

What they say : Norm Partin, a veteran motorsport executive, told Axios that there are two factors in favor of NASCAR’s return to the fairgrounds in the wake of SMI’s deal with Wilson County.

  • “There is a movement towards more short track racing like they did at the fairgrounds,” Partin said. “Once the deal is done, SMI will operate 10 racetracks and control 15 NASCAR Cup Series dates. So it makes it easier to organize one of those races at the fairground.”

Yes, but: If Cooper and Bristol strike a deal, the devil will be in the details. Neighbors are concerned about the impact of motor racing on noise and traffic.

Bristol published a study earlier this year showing that its noise barrier and other mitigation measures will significantly reduce sound.

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