Bruton Smith considering moving fall Charlotte race to Las Vegas

Todd Warshaw

Bruton Smith says he’s leaning toward moving one of Charlotte’s two races to Las Vegas.

Since 1960, Charlotte Motor Speedway has played host twice a year to NASCAR's premier series. But according to track owner Bruton Smith, he is strongly considering moving one of the track's two dates to a different facility.

In an interview with WBTV, Smith, the president of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., said there is a 70 percent chance he will move Charlotte's traditional fall date to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, one of eight NASCAR tracks he owns.

Smith has long sought a second race for his Las Vegas track and has openly campaigned NASCAR to award the speedway another event. However, with the Sprint Cup Series calendar full at 36, races plus two exhibition events, NASCAR has continually declined his request.

"I've been having some strong conversations about one of these events being moved," Smith told WBTV. "And Las Vegas is a great place -- it's the entertainment capital of the world -- and they want another event."

But while Smith may sound serious about shifting a race out of the hub of NASCAR, this by all measures is just more bluster in an attempt to obtain additional public funding. He has been in a protracted battle -- public and legal -- with Cabarrus County, where the Concord, N.C., track is located.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed by Smith against the city and county stemming from a contract he claimed officials reneged on to make infrastructure improvements. He says that while this issue does center on money, this latest news shouldn't be construed as a "threat, per se."

"Some of your dear friends over at Cabarrus County are gonna say 'Is he? Is he? Is he?' Well... he may," Smith said. "Someone once said 'follow the money.' Well, if we do this, we will be following the money because, here again, there's a lot of money in Las Vegas.

"And if it gets to be strong enough, I imagine we might do something like that."

If he were to transfer a race from one track to another, Smith would have to be granted permission from NASCAR, which has yet to receive a formal request.

Charlotte is the site of Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.

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