Template:Infobox Nascar Racetrack

Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville is a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series racetrack located at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds near downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The track is one of the oldest tracks in the United States. The track held NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) races from 1958 to 1984, when it was called Nashville Speedway USA. In the early 2000s, the name was changed to Music City Motorplex. Following another change in track management, the speedway became known as Fairgrounds Speedway at Nashville.

The winner's trophy for NASCAR races held at the track was a Les Paul guitar from Gibson.

Track Configuration HistoryEdit

Nashville Speedway USA is currently an 18 degree banked paved oval. The track is 0.596 mile long. Inside the larger oval is a quarter-mile paved oval.

The track was converted to a half-mile paved oval in 1957, when its began to be a NASCAR series track. The speedway was lengthened between the 1969 and 1970 seasons. The corners were cut down from 35 degrees to their present 18 degrees in 1972. The track was repaved between the 1995 and 1996 seasons.

Track HistoryEdit

The track first featured "horseless carriages" and motorcycles on June 11, 1904 on a 1 1/8 (1.125) mile dirt oval. Races were canceled after a motorcycle ran in to the back of a car that was lining up. Harness (horse) racing events were also held at the track.

In September 1904 another series of races was organized. Most of the entrants came directly to Nashville from the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. Racing pioneer Barney Oldfield was one of the entrants. People marveled at cars driving over 60 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour).

The track began holding annual events in September 1915 to coincide with the state fair. Many of the same drivers from the Indianapolis 500 brought their cars down to Nashville.

Local tracks sprange up and began running weekly Saturday night shows (collectively called the "Legion Bowl"), and the local racers competed at the track for the 1954 through 1957 State Fairs. In 1958 car racers decided to build a paved racetrack. The racers ended opposition from horse racers by building a horse track. The racers got a 10-year lease from the state fair board in order to build a paved 1/2 mile track which shared the frontstretch with a 1/4 mile track. On July 19, 1958, the first race was held at the new speedway. Races were held only on the 1/4 mile track (except for special events).

The original cars (since 1948) were 1930s model cars called "Modified Specials". By 1964 the parts for cars were too hard to find, so the track changed to newer 1950s model cars called "Late Model Modifieds". Some of the early stars of the track decided to retire.


The 1960s also frequently brought drivers from outside Nashville, most notably the Alabama Gang. The Alabama Gang (from Hueytown, Alabama) included future NASCAR legends Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, and Nashville native Red Farmer.

Coo Coo Marlin was the first back-to-back champion in 1965/1966. 1968 champion P.B. Crowell decided to retire, and hired the talented young Darrell Waltrip to drive his car.

Several changes happened at the track in the 1960s. Lights were added to the 1/2 mile track in 1965, and races in the main division moved to the big track. A fire burned the grandstands at the 1965 State Fair. Weekly Tuesday night races were added, and fans were awed by the crazy Figure-8 drivers barely missing each other as they crossed each other's paths. New grandstands were built and the track was lengthened (and banked to 35 degrees) in 1969.


The bankings in the corners proved to be too fast, so the banking was reduce to 18 degrees. The new ownership decided to hold no weekly races in 1979.

The 1970s also featured talented drivers that would progress to NASCAR's highest division. Second generation drivers Sterling Marlin (son of Coo Coo) and Mike Alexander (son of car owner R.C.) were both track champions. Alabama Gang member Jimmy Means took the track title home to Alabama in 1974 before he moved on to NASCAR.


In 1980 the track reopened to weekly racing. The new headline division featured smaller Camaro-type bodies called "Late Model Stock Cars". The new division caught on slowly, and only 13 drivers competed in the first race. The division finally caught on in 1987. NASCAR stars that raced in 1987 or 1988 included Bobby Allison, Sterling Marlin, Mike Alexander, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, and Dale Earnhardt. Third generation driver Bobby Hamilton won track championships in 1987 and 1988.


The 1990 season was dominated by Jeff Green. Chad Chaffin won the 1993 and 1995 track championships. Andy Kirby won the 1994, 1996, and 1997 track championships before being killed in a motorcycle accident in 2002. Busch Series races continued at the track, including some notable finishes in 1998 and 2000. The Camping World Truck Series also ran at the track. However, in late 1996, the plan for the new Nashville Superspeedway was announced, meaning that the races would be moved to that 1.333-mile facility when it was openeed in 2001.


The track was renamed "Music City Motorplex" for 2004 by new promoter Joe Mattioli III, whose family owns Pocono Raceway and South Boston Speedway.

The 2007 schedule featured races in NASCAR's two regional series, including Grand National (Busch East) and a Whelen Modified (Southern) event.

The 2008 season marked a critical year for the historic track. The lease was up in December 2008, and the Tennessee State Fair Board hired a consultant to do a future use study. However, after much discussion, new promoter Denny Denson agreed to run the facility in 2009. In 2009, Music City Motorplex was to host an ARCA RE/MAX Series event on June 20, but it was announced on February 20, 2009 that the race would be moved to Mansfield Motorsports Park in Mansfield, Ohio[1]. The annual Camping World East Series was also cancelled. Most of these issues could be placed on the philosophies of new track management and the testing ban NASCAR enforced to save money. That ban prevented teams from testing at any NASCAR-sanctioned track. Had Nashville remained under sanction, it would stand to lose thousands of dollars from track rental to testing NASCAR teams.

NASCAR Winston Cup track historyEdit

The track held at least one Cup race each year from 1958 to 1984.

A capacity crowd of 13,998 watched Joe Weatherly win the first NASCAR race on August 10, 1958.

Geoff Bodine beat Darrell Waltrip for his second career win in the last Winston Cup race at the track.

NASCAR left the track because the grandstands are too small, and because of a dispute over who would manage the track took place prior to the start of the 1985 season.

Of the 42 Cup races, Richard Petty has the most with 9. Counting NASCAR, USAC, ASA, and local track races, Darrell Waltrip holds the all-time track record for wins with 67.

NASCAR Winston Cup winnersEdit

Year Driver Started Car # Owner Make
1958 Joe Weatherly 8 72 Holman-Moody Ford
1959 Rex White 1 4 Rex White Chevrolet
1959 Joe Lee Johnson 2 77 Joe Lee Johnson Chevrolet
1960 Johnny Beauchamp 2 73 Dale Swanson Chevrolet
1961 Jim Paschal 10 44 Julian Petty Pontiac
1962 Jim Paschal 3 42 Petty Enterprises Plymouth
1963 Jim Paschal 3 42 Petty Enterprises Plymouth
1964 Richard Petty 2 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth
1964 Richard Petty 1 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth
1965 Dick Hutcherson 2 29 Holman-Moody Ford
1965 Richard Petty 1 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth
1966 Richard Petty 1 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth
1967 Richard Petty 2 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth
1968 David Pearson 3 17 Holman-Moody Ford
1969 Richard Petty 1 43 Petty Enterprises Ford
1970 Bobby Issac 2 71 Nord Krauskopf Dodge
1971 Richard Petty 1 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth
1972 Bobby Allison 1 12 Richard Howard Chevrolet
1973 Cale Yarborough 1 11 Richard Howard Chevrolet
1973 Buddy Baker 7 71 Nord Krauskopf Dodge
1974 Richard Petty 2 43 Petty Enterprises Dodge
1974 Cale Yarborough 2 11 Junior Johnson Chevrolet
1975 Darrell Waltrip 1 17 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet
1975 Cale Yarborough 3 11 Junior Johnson Chevrolet
1976 Cale Yarborough 2 11 Junior Johnson Chevrolet
1976 Benny Parsons 6 72 L.G. DeWitt Chevrolet
1977 Benny Parsons 2 72 L.G. DeWitt Chevrolet
1977 Darrell Waltrip 6 88 DiGard Chevrolet
1978 Cale Yarborough 2 11 Junior Johnson Oldsmobile
1978 Cale Yarborough 2 11 Junior Johnson Oldsmobile
1979 Cale Yarborough 4 11 Junior Johnson Oldsmobile
1979 Darrell Waltrip 1 88 DiGard Chevrolet
1980 Richard Petty 6 43 Petty Enterprises Chevrolet
1980 Dale Earnhardt 7 2 Rod Osterlund Chevrolet
1981 Benny Parsons 3 15 Bud Moore Ford
1981 Darrell Waltrip 4 11 Junior Johnson Buick
1982 Darrell Waltrip 1 11 Junior Johnson Buick
1982 Darrell Waltrip 3 11 Junior Johnson Buick
1983 Darrell Waltrip 1 11 Junior Johnson Chevrolet
1983 Dale Earnhardt 3 15 Bud Moore Ford
1984 Darrell Waltrip 1 11 Junior Johnson Chevrolet
1984 Geoffrey Bodine 5 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Busch Series EventsEdit

Year Driver Started Car # Owner Make
1984 Jack Ingram 7 11 Jack Ingram Pontiac
1988 Darrell Waltrip 12 17 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet
1989 Rick Mast 2 22 Alan Dillard, Jr. Buick
1995 David Green 5 44 Bob Labonte Chevrolet
1996 Bobby Labonte 25 44 Bob Labonte Chevrolet
1997 Steve Park 18 3 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet
1998 Mike McLaughlin 21 34 Frank Cicci Chevrolet
1999 Jeff Green 18 10 Greg Pollex Chevrolet
2000 Randy LaJoie 28 1 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet

Craftsmen Truck Series EventsEdit

Year Driver Started Car # Owner Make
1996 Dave Rezendes 14 7 Geoffrey Bodine Ford
1997 Jack Sprague 3 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
1998 Jimmy Hensley 30 43 Petty Enterprises Dodge
1999 Dennis Setzer 4 1 Bob Keselowski Dodge
2000 Randy Tolsma 7 25 David Hodson Dodge

List of Famous Former Weekly DriversEdit

The number and quality of former weekly drivers to reach the upper levels of NASCAR demonstrates how high the competition level must have been at the track, and the importance that the track has had to the sport.

Joe Buford - 4 time track champion

Andy Kirby - 3 time track champion

Chad Chaffin - 2 time track champion

Mike Alexander - 2 time track champion

Jeff Green - 1 time champion


Aerial view of Music City Motorplex

Bobby Hamilton - 2 time track champion (plus 2 time champion in a lower division)

Sterling Marlin - 3 time track champion

Jimmy Means - 1 time track champion

Darrell Waltrip - 2 time track champion

Coo Coo Marlin - 4 time track champion

Deborah Renshaw - became the first woman to ever lead a NASCAR sanctioned series when the young woman climbed to the top of the points standings at Nashville Speedway USA.

Chase Montgomery - ran the full 2000 season

Casey Atwood - 1996 Rookie of the Year

Jeremy Mayfield - regular weekly competitor

Bunkie Blackburn - regular weekly competitor

External linksEdit

Speedway Media Racing News

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