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Bruton Smith: I'm Making Changes To Bristol Before August

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Bruton Smith, the Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman who isn't afraid to spend money to make improvements to his track facilities, is changing the surface at Bristol Motor Speedway, he announced Wednesday.

Smith had requested fan input after the 160,000-seat grandstands were only half full at the Food City 500 two weeks ago, a dark moment for a track which once had 55 consecutive sellouts.

After collecting what he called "a wide range of opinions," Smith concluded a majority of fans wanted to see the Bristol surface altered to resemble something similar to the track's former layout, which encouraged beating and banging among cars.

"The race fans have spoken," Smith said. "... As a result, I have ordered the equipment and work will begin within the next two weeks to allow time to have everything ready for August."

Just what will those changes be, exactly? Smith either doesn't know or isn't saying yet. He said the details as to what will be done to track surface will be announced in two weeks.

"Bristol Motor Speedway has been voted the most popular race track in the country more than a half-dozen times, even one of the 10 things you need to see before you die," he said. "We aim to keep the status as the fans' favorite."

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– COLUMN: What's behind Bristol's attendance woes?

– GUEST BLOGGER: A NASCAR driver posts his opinion on the Bristol debate