Bruton Smith Hints At $100M Upgrade For Charlotte Track, May Ask State For Funds
SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith on Thursday told North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory that he wants to spend $100M to "improve Charlotte Motor Speedway, and then appeared to suggest he might ask the state for financial assistance," according to Steve Harrison of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Smith was speaking with McCrory at a proclamation to name May as “Motorsports Month." He said to McCrory, "While you are here, I want to find some time to talk to you. We want to spend $100 million here to improve our situation. I would certainly want to have you say, ‘That’s a good thing.’" He added, "Downtown Charlotte is spending $88 million on something that was built a few years ago. Well, I built this place in 1960. That was awhile back. Do you want me to come and see you and talk to you, or do you want to do it right here." But McCrory "demurred." Smith’s mention of downtown Charlotte "appears to refer" to the Charlotte City Council voting last year to give the Panthers $87.5M to renovate Bank of America Stadium. But CMS VP/Communications Scott Cooper "downplayed Smith's comments." Cooper said Smith "made a lighthearted proclamation." He added CMS "doesn't have a plan to announce or anything to announce" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/2).
SWEET HOME ALABAMA: In Atlanta, Rick Minter noted the Allison Grandstand on the backstretch at Talladega Superspeedway "has been removed as part of the track’s 'right-sizing' of its seating capacity." But the Allison family "still will be honored," as the backstretch has been renamed “The Alabama Gang Superstretch” in honor of former NASCAR drivers Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison and Red Farmer. Large letters spanning 200 feet on the outside wall "spell out the name, and the Allisons and Farmer will be part of the pre-race program" before Sunday's Sprint Cup Aaron's 499. Meanwhile, portions of the upper-deck stands on the frontstretch that have "been covered in banners for several years also have been removed" (AJC.com, 5/1).