SBD/January 19, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Speed Racer: SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith Reflects On His Time In NASCAR

SMI Chair & CEO BRUTON SMITH was profiled on Charlotte's WCNC-NBC yesterday, with WCNC’s Ira Cronin calling Smith “one of the icons in the world of racing.” Cronin said, “Bruton Smith built a billion dollar business empire with Speedway Motorsports. He’s had his share of controversy, but now he’s looking forward.” Smith said of critics calling him confrontational, “I think possibly that might be true.” When asked if the label “controversial” also was appropriate, he said, “Maybe.” Smith: “When I really go back and look at that it’s usually jealously and that’s okay.” WCNC's Greg Bailey said Smith’s relationship with NASCAR Chair & CEO BRIAN FRANCE “seems to have reached a new peak.” Smith: “He’s done a god job taking over NASCAR. I got to say some of the time, he listens.” Bailey said in "some ways, his hard edges have softened, but not when it comes to" former SMI President & CEO HUMPY WHEELER. Smith’s split with Wheeler "made headlines three years ago." Smith, when asked about Wheeler, simply said, “Former employee of Speedway Motorsports.” Bailey added, “Perhaps more than any other pairing in racing, Smith and Wheeler made magic, from the first Cup race at night to condominiums at the track. But Smith prefers to look ahead instead of back, telling us he wants Speedway Motorsports to grow even bigger” (WCNC-NBC, 1/18).
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