Speedway Motorsports wanted tax money from the state of Tennessee to host the All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in July.
The company moved the All-Star Race from its traditional Charlotte Motor Speedway location to Bristol after North Carolina balked at the idea of having fans at the race. And to get the move completed, Speedway Motorsports said the state of Tennessee should give it tax incentives to host the race at Bristol instead of another track in another state.
The documents detailing the company’s desire for a cut of the state’s tax money from the event were made public by News Channel 5 in Nashville. Speedway Motorsports got the state to enact the Event Tourism Act for the first time. The act allows hosts of large events to get reimbursed via tax dollars for some of the expenses incurred for hosting the event.
“When our parent company began considering the possibility of moving the All-Star Race to Bristol, we immediately realized that the Event Tourism Act could make the difference in choosing Bristol over our sister tracks in Atlanta, New Hampshire and Texas,” the company wrote to the state when Bristol was being considered for the race. “Since we knew than an event of this caliber was exactly the type of event the legislation was designed to address, and based on our belief that Tennessee would desire to attract such a prestigious event, we urged our company to take the likely availability of these funds into account as it made the decision to move the event. Ultimately, the Event Tourism Act funding was a determining factor in choosing to relocate the event to Tennessee from North Carolina. The incremental expense for cleaning, sanitizing and safety is considerable during these times and incentives to help support those efforts are critical.”
The revelations in News Channel 5’s investigation are another signal that Speedway Motorsports’ move of the race from Charlotte to Bristol wasn’t primarily done because the racing at Bristol had a far better chance of being more entertaining than the racing at Charlotte.
Bristol hosted up to 30,000 fans at the rescheduled event while Charlotte wouldn’t have been able to host any at all. The move to have over 20,000 fans at the race made it the largest sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic swept through the United States.
And Speedway Motorsports made it clear to the state that it would consider hosting the race in Texas or Georgia if it wasn’t going to get reimbursed for some of its expenses at Bristol.
“If our company needs to reconsider the decision to move the All-Star Race to Bristol due to a narrow, and we believe incorrect, reading of the statute, please let us know as soon as possible. So that we can begin the process of determining what incentives and opportunities might be offered by Texas or Georgia.”
Bristol is the site of Saturday night’s Cup Series race, the final race of the first round of NASCAR’s playoffs. It’s the first time the track has hosted a playoff race as its traditional night race has been held in August since 1978.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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