SMI's Bruton Smith Backs Off Talks Of Moving Charlotte Sprint Cup Race To Las Vegas
SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith yesterday "backtracked slightly" about possibly moving the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but he "made it clear he’s unhappy with the political situation in North Carolina," according to Mark Anderson of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Smith in a statement yesterday said, "No final decision has been made regarding any race date move, and I have not discussed this with NASCAR." He "went on to tout" the $100M investment made at CMS by SMI over the past six years. Smith: “It’s frustrating to think about the future and consider that the local government doesn’t share the same excitement about Charlotte Motor Speedway that our fans do" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/22). In Charlotte, Adam Bell notes CMS' taxes in Cabarrus County have "doubled over the past few years, but it is appealing the tax valuations that led to those bills." A county assessment in '12 of the CMS property put the value at about $294M, with a tax bill of nearly $2.1M. The county said that the appeal "will be taken up at the local level in June." CMS also "appealed an earlier revaluation" covering '08-11, and that appeal is "pending at the state level." Bell notes Cabarrus County and the city of Concord have "heard Smith’s threats before." Smith in '07 "vowed to move the speedway out of Concord if the city did not approve his plans for an adjacent drag strip." Local political and business leaders "publicly and privately lobbied Smith to stay." An $80M government incentives package "ultimately persuaded Smith to stay and build the drag strip, although Smith later quarreled with local leaders over implementation of the incentives" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/22).