When "The King" Richard Petty speaks, it's smart to listen, and he had plenty to talk about this past week while he was in Nashville.
Petty was in Nashville to be inducted into the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Hall of Fame, and he used the occasion to push for NASCAR's return to the historic speedway.
NASCAR's greatest driver with 200 cup victories and seven championships said he would like to see the contract agreed upon between the city and Bristol Motor Speedway for a partnership to renovate the track at a cost of roughly $100 million, which would pave the way for the NASCAR Cup Series to return to "Music City."
Petty spoke with Mike Organ from The Tennessean about how special it would be for the sport to have the fairgrounds back on the schedule.
"I would like to see NASCAR come back here like it came back to Wilkesboro (North Carolina) to show the history to people that this is where it all started," Petty said. "I mean they wouldn't have that big race track on the other side of town (Nashville Superspeedway) if it hadn't been for this race track here. It took tracks like this to nurture NASCAR into growing into what it has become."
NASCAR returned to the Nashville area in 2021 for the first time in 37 years when it started running the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway.
The NASCAR All-Star race in 2023 helped bring back North Wilkesboro Speedway, where the event will return to in 2024, but Petty would like to see it move around, and he says that Nashville's Fairgrounds Speedway would be a great place for it.
"I like that they're having the All-Star Race at Wilkesboro and would like to see them keep moving it around," Petty said. "They could come to Nashville for a year or two or whatever and I think it'd be great. I think the fans would really appreciate it."
Petty won nine times at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and four generations of his family have raced there. Clearly, a return to the Nashville Fairgrounds would mean a lot to both the sport and NASCAR's winningest driver.
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