Group Trying To Bring Grand Prix To Nashville Approved To Start Negotiations For Event
The Metro Nashville Sports Authority (MNSA) has "approved an agreement governing negotiations with a group looking to bring road racing to the grounds of Nissan Stadium, advancing that group's wish to make the Grand Prix of Nashville a reality," according to Eleanor Kennedy of the NASHVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The group is led by Joe Mattioli III, whose family owns Pocono Raceway. The MNSA "approved a memorandum of understanding Thursday that lays out the expectations for further negotiations related to the event." MNSA Exec Dir Monica Fawknotson said that conversations about bringing such an event to Nashville have been "ongoing for between 12 and 18 months." Former Baker Curb Racing CEO Matt Crews, a member of the group's management team and veteran motorsports exec, said that the group would build a "multi-day festival around the race itself." Events related to the race would "include a parade, street festival, concerts and a pro/celebrity race, along with the race itself along the 1.72 mile circuit on a Sunday." The group is targeting April '19 for the "first running of the race." However, Crews acknowledged Nashville's crowded event schedule "makes the exact date a bit of a moving target." Crews and Mattioli "compared their plans for an annual Nashville event to the Grand Prix of Long Beach." The group has had "preliminary conversations" with both IndyCar and the Int'l Motor Sports Association, though "no official agreement has been reached" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/15). In Nashville, Joey Garrison notes the group "asked for no city funding on their project" and has "proposed a temporary racing track for their event that would be largely contained on the parking lots that surround Nissan Stadium." The group is "looking for a five year agreement" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 6/16).