The first new NASCAR Cup Series track in a decade will come in 2021. On Wednesday morning, Dover Motorsports, Inc. announced Nashville Superspeedway will host Cup racing for the first time next year, taking one of Dover International Speedway‘s dates.
“While we have been in discussions with NASCAR for some time about the possibility of bringing the NASCAR Cup Series back to Nashville Superspeedway, plans really just became solidified in recent weeks,” Dover Motorsports head Denis McGlynn stated. “We will have many more announcements and exciting updates to share regarding plans for the facility shortly.”
Located in Lebanon, Tennessee, Nashville Superspeedway is a 1.33-mile concrete circuit that was constructed in 2001. The year of its opening, the track began hosting the now-NASCAR Xfinity Series, and added a second date in 2002. Other stock car series that have raced at Nashville include the now-Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and ARCA. The IndyCar Series also ran at Nashville from 2001 to 2008.
NASCAR stopped racing at the track after the 2011 season. Although it remained in use for testing, it has not hosted any form of major racing since, and was subject to various attempted deals that ultimately fell apart.
Nashville will be the first new track on the Cup schedule since Kentucky Speedway joined the calendar in 2011. Contract agreements at numerous tracks are expected to end after the 2020 season, which provided the opportunity for NASCAR to begin experimenting with new locations. NASCAR’s specific deal with Nashville will run for four years, with revenue being used to help support the facility.
The possibility of a return to Nashville was entertained when the city hosted the Cup Series banquet last December.
“Nashville, central Tennessee and the surrounding market area is filled with passionate race fans,” McGlynn said. “We are thrilled that we were able to collaborate with NASCAR and our television partners to get this done and we can’t wait to put on a great show there in 2021.”
Despite the addition, skepticism has been expressed, with many feeling nearby Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, which hosted Cup races from 1958 to 1984, should have taken the slot. The ARCA Menards Series has raced at the half-mile track since 2015, but efforts to revitalise the Fairgrounds for NASCAR have led to a lengthy legal struggle between the city of Nashville and Speedway Motorsports, Inc..
Cup driver Chase Elliott tweeted, “One snooze fest at [Nashville Superspeedway] will put the nail in the coffin of the fairgrounds, bummer.”
The Nashville return will take place in June 2021. Although Dover International Speedway loses its summer date, the “Monster Mile” also has a race in the fall.