CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 20, 2015) - Speedway Motorsports, Inc., founder and executive chairman O. Bruton Smith was voted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016 and will be inducted Jan. 22 in Charlotte, N.C.

"When I found out that I was nominated, I realized how much this meant to my family and the 15,000 employees that work for my companies.  Now I realize how much it means to me," Smith said.

"It will truly be an honor to be remembered at the Hall of Fame along with people like Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Glen Wood, Junior Johnson, Darrell Waltrip and so many others who helped build this sport. That's what I've tried to do my entire life. 

"I'm a frustrated builder who had a knack for promoting races, and it's been fun to always try to push the sport to greater heights for the fans. From the first World 600, I've always wanted the fans to leave with something spectacular to remember about their experience.

"Even if they don't remember who won the race, I want them to remember the pre-race show and having the time of their lives. I want fans to know we're always working to build the best facilities for them and that's who I really owe this recognition to.

"The millions of fans who've attended our race tracks all of these years are the ones who really deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. They've built the sport right along with us, and I want to sincerely say thank you to them and the voting committee."

Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger congratulated Smith on the honor.

"On behalf of all the employees at Kentucky Speedway, we are thrilled that Bruton Smith has been elected to the 2016 Class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame," Simendinger said.

"That is the highest honor in our sport and there is no one more deserving. One of the greatest days in our region's sports history occurred when Bruton Smith's, Speedway Motorsports, Inc., purchased us.

"His unparalleled energy and vision has resulted in one of America’s truly great speedways. We are grateful for all he has done and wish him our heartiest congratulations."

O. Bruton Smith Background:

Smith is considered the preeminent speedway promoter and entrepreneur who revolutionized motorsports entertainment over the course of seven decades. Smith's first major speedway endeavor began when he partnered with racing star Curtis Turner to open Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., in 1960 and held the first World 600 that year.

His racing empire of motorsports facilities has grown immensely under Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI), which currently owns and operates Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.

The speedway group plays host to 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, 11 NASCAR XFINITY and eight Camping World Truck Series races and other high-profile motorsports events.

Smith took Speedway Motorsports public in 1995 and in the process became the first motorsports company to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. He also was the first in the sport to transform speedways into modern, first-class sports venues, which included the additions of condominiums, private clubs and a proliferation of luxury suites.

He also founded Speedway Children's Charities in 1984 for the betterment of children and the result has been donations of more than $42 million over the years to charities across the country.

Smith has also been inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (2007), National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame (2006) and Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame (2008).

NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session in Charlotte, N.C., to debate and vote upon the 20 nominees for the induction class of 2016 and the five nominees for the Landmark Award.

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton announced the class and Landmark Award winner, respectively, this evening in the NASCAR Hall of Fame's "Great Hall."

The Class of 2016 was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, including representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders, a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com and, for the second year, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion (Kevin Harvick). In all, 57 votes were cast, with two additional Voting Panel members recused from voting as potential nominees for induction (Jerry Cook and Robert Yates). The accounting firm of Ernst & Young presided over the tabulation of the votes.

Voting was as follows: O. Bruton Smith (68 percent), Terry Labonte (61 percent), Curtis Turner (60 percent), Jerry Cook (47 percent) and Bobby Isaac (44 percent).

The next top vote-getters were Red Byron, Benny Parsons and Rick Hendrick.

Results for the NASCAR.com Fan Vote, in alphabetical order, were Buddy Baker, Alan Kulwicki, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin and Benny Parsons.

The five inductees came from a group of 20 nominees that included, in addition to the five inductees chosen: Buddy Baker, Red Byron, Richard Childress, Ray Evernham, Ray Fox, Rick Hendrick, Harry Hyde, Alan Kulwicki, Mark Martin, Hershel McGriff, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Larry Phillips, Mike Stefanik and Robert Yates.

Nominees for the Landmark Award included Brasington, H.Clay Earles, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier. It is awarded to competitors or those working in the sport who have acted as a NASCAR ambassador through a professional or non-professional role. Anne B. France won the inaugural award last year. 

About Speedway Motorsports, Inc.

Speedway Motorsports, Inc. is a leading marketer, promoter and sponsor of motorsports entertainment in the United States. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates the following premier facilities:Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway. The Company provides souvenir merchandising services through its SMI Properties subsidiaries; manufactures and distributes smaller-scale, modified racing cars and parts through its U.S. Legend Cars International subsidiary; and produces and broadcasts syndicated motorsports programming to radio stations nationwide through its Performance Racing Network subsidiary. For more information, about the company, please visit the Speedway Motorsports website, www.smicorporate.com. 

 - Kentucky Speedway -