Fans Can Help Vote Legendary Race Promoter Bruton Smith to the NASCAR Hall of Fame
SPARTA, Ky. - Kentucky Speedway fans can help vote legendary race promoter, catalyst for NASCAR's historic growth and SMI Chairman Bruton Smith to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015 by voting online through noon Tuesday, May 20.
Fans are able to cast unlimited votes by visiting: http://bit.ly/NASHOF.
Growing up on a modest farm near Oakboro, N.C., O. Bruton Smith parlayed his love for "building things" into a business empire, focusing on the motorsports and automotive industries.
Smith founded Speedway Motorsports Inc., (SMI) by consolidating his motorsports holdings in December 1994, and in February 1995 he made it the first motorsports company to trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:TRK).
Smith promoted various racing events during the 1950s, featuring the burgeoning National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). Though a rough era for the sport, Smith was one of the first truly professional promoters who paid good purses, tended to the needs of the fans and found unique ways to promote events staged at the speedways he leased around North Carolina.
Smith built his first permanent motorsports facility, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the track opened in June 1960 with NASCAR's first 600-mile race. While the speedway was successful in attracting large crowds, it was undercapitalized and eventually placed in Chapter 10 reorganization. It later became one of the first North Carolina corporations to survive reorganization.
During the reorganization, Smith left Charlotte to pursue other business interests and became quite successful, opening several automotive dealerships. At the same time, he began purchasing shares of stock in Charlotte Motor Speedway. By 1975, Smith had again become the majority stockholder in the speedway, regaining control of the day-to-day operations.
Since that time, Smith has built the 1.5-mile superspeedway into what many consider "the Mecca of Motorsports facilities."
His innovative style brought many amenities never before seen, such as plush VIP suites, condominium units, a country club-style restaurant, enclosed clubhouse seating and huge grandstand additions. Smith added a $1.7-million lighting system in 1992 that made it possible for the track to host the first night race on a modern superspeedway, and in 2011, he added the what was then the world's largest HDTV, which revolutionized the at-track fan experience.
Many of those same features can be found at SMI facilities which annually entertain NASCAR fans across the country such as our speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Race Sonoma, and Texas Motor Speedway.
Smith also is very active in philanthropic activities, including Speedway Children's Charities, which he founded in 1982. The nonprofit organization has grown to include chapters at each of the Speedway Motorsports facilities and has distributed more than $47 million to agencies that provide educational, medical and social support to children. He received the prestigious NASCAR Award of Excellence in 1997 in recognition of his efforts on behalf of Speedway Children's Charities.
In April 2007, Smith was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and he became a member of the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in January 2006. In 2012, he received the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award from the North Carolina Motorsports Association.
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