NACAR Hall of Famer Bruton Smith. Nakar Hall of Famer Broughton Smithfounder and CEO of her owned Speedway Motorsports company Nashville Superspeedway, died Wednesday. He was 95 years old.
Speedway Motorsports It purchased the Nashville Superspeedway from Dover Motorsports in December.
The NASCAR Triceps Weekend will be in place this weekend with the Camping World Truck Series Rackley Roofing 200 Friday (7 p.m., FS1), the Xfinity Series Tennessee Lottery 250 Saturday (2:30 p.m., USA) and Cup Series Ally 400 Sunday (4 p.m., NBC).
Smith had leading jobs in motorsports, philanthropy, and auto retail. Besides his position at Speedway Motorsports, he was the founder and CEO of Sonic Automotive and the children’s charity Speedway.
He was the youngest of nine children and grew up on a small farm in Oakboro, North Carolina before he built his business empire.
Eric Moses, Nashville Superspeedway president and general manager, described Smith as a “true visionary” in a tweet.
Smith founded Speedway Motorsports by merging his motorsport holdings in December 1994, and in February 1995 he made it the first motorsports company to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company now owns and operates 11 motorsport tracks. Besides the Nashville Superspeedway, facilities include Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Texas Motor Speedway, Dover Motor Speedway, North Wilkesboro Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.
Speedway Motorsports also owns and operates subsidiaries SMI Properties, US Legend Cars International, Performance Racing Network, and zMAX Micro Lubricants.
“I love the racing industry. I want to contribute more and more,” Smith said in 2015. “You hear us preach about the ‘fans.'” I think that’s the motivation for me to do more things. I enjoy the contributions I have been able to make to this sport.”
Under Smith’s leadership, Speedway Motors’ facilities were the first in the race to add condominiums, luxury motorcycle racing clubs, ultra-high-speed lighting and giant HD video screens.
“When you think about Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bristol, and tracks like New Hampshire and Sonoma and Atlanta, (Smith) was the best,” NASCAR Hall of Famer Roger Pinske told NASCAR.com in 2016. I set the bar.”
Smith was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2016. In 2007, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and became a member of the National Motorsports Association Hall of Fame in 2006.
Under Smith’s leadership, Speedway Children’s Charities has distributed more than $61 million to local organizations across the country that work to improve the quality of life for children in need.
Even with his many accomplishments in motorsports, Smith has often commented that the retail auto business was his first love and has kept his head office at his Town & Country Ford dealership in Charlotte throughout his distinguished career.
Daryl Waltrip, a resident of Franklin and a NASCAR Hall of Fame, said that even with his many great successes, Smith wasn’t too big for his friends.
“You have trophies, championships, wins, but friends really make the difference,” Waltrip said. “Broughton Smith has been one of my heroes since I started racing in NASCAR in 1972.”
Among the survivors are sons Scott, Marcus and David. His daughter, Anna Lisa. their mother, Bonnie Smith; and seven grandchildren.
Information regarding funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time.
You can reach Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.