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Nashville track won't host 2012 events

8/4/2011 - NASCAR

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There will be no more guitar trophy celebrations at Nashville Superspeedway for NASCAR.

Dover Motorsports Inc., owner of the track that has hosted two Nationwide Series events in each of the past 10 years and at least one Truck Series race since 2001, has informed NASCAR that it will not seek any events in 2012.

"Nashville is a tremendous market filled with passionate race fans,'' said Cliff Hawks, the vice president and general manager of Nashville Superspeedway. "We have some extremely dedicated and talented employees who have made this track a great destination.

"But the reality is after 10 years of effort we have to face the fact that without a Sprint Cup race and/or a significant change in the operating model for other events, we simply cannot continue."

Hawks said the remaining events on the 2011 schedule will not be impacted.

Denis McGlynn, the president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, didn't rule out a sale of the track that gives its winners a guitar trophy.

"We are at a juncture where we must evaluate all of our options for this track, including its possible sale,'' he said.

The announcement opens the door for the governing body to look at other venues.

"As we continue to work on the 2012 schedules, we believe the changes that we made at the beginning of the season, particularly the 'declare a series' revision, have helped create renewed excitement and interest in both the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,'' said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president for racing operations.

"The schedules for these two series will remain strong, the racing will remain extremely competitive, and the development of future talent will continue to serve the sport well."

This is the third track -- Memphis and Gateway the other two -- that Dover Motorsports Inc. has closed in three years. It opens speculation that perhaps Dover International Speedway, which hosts two Sprint Cup events, could be next in line.

Bruton Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., has made several attempts to purchase Dover over the past few years in hopes of moving one of its races to one of his other tracks.

Initially, the plan was to move a race to Kentucky Speedway, which hosted its first Sprint Cup race earlier this year. Smith still has interest in a second date at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Nashville Superspeedway first opened in 2001 on about 1,400 acres of land just outside of Nashville. The 1.33-mile concrete superspeedway has 25,000 permanent grandstand seats, lights for night racing, foundation work for a dirt track, short track and drag strip and infrastructure in place to expand to 150,000 seats.


David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.