Dover Motorsports’ surprise announcement on Friday that it is closing Memphis Motorsports Park was bittersweet news for Cliff Hawks.
Hawks is vice president and general manager of Nashville Superspeedway — another Dover facility — which now will inherit the 2010 NASCAR truck race that had been scheduled at Memphis. However, while the Superspeedway can use the extra business, Hawks said it was a sad way to get a race.
“It’s sad to see Memphis taken off the race schedule,” he said. “We had a close working relationship with the folks over there. We will move forward to promote the race and made it a successful part of our schedule next year.”
The truck race will be run on April 2 in conjunction with Nashville’s April 3 Nationwide Series race. The Gladeville track already had a Camping World Series truck race scheduled for Aug. 7 and Hawks said that race will remain unchanged.
The Superspeedway, based in Wilson County, which celebrates its 10th anniversary next year, also has a second Nationwide race later in the spring.
Dover Motorsports earlier had reached an agreement to sell the Memphis facility to Gulf Coast Entertainment, which would continue to run the NASCAR races, but that deal fell through when GCE was unable to secure financing. Dover then, unable to sell the track, decided to close it.
“This was a difficult decision for us, but one that ultimately was dictated by economics,” said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports in a release Friday. “We greatly appreciate the many years of dedication shown by our Memphis employees and their efforts to make Memphis such a great racing destination. For all concerned, it is truly sad to see Memphis Motorsports Park taken off the racing schedule.”
The Memphis track is the second major Tennessee racing venue to close. Earlier this month, Nashville's mayor, Karl Dean, announced that Metro-owned Fairgrounds Speedway will be shut down next year.
The 51-year-old track’s final race is the Nov. 20-22 “All-American 400” (originally scheduled for this weekend but moved back due to a forecast of rain.)
“I hate to see it,” said Sterling Marlin, who got his start at the Fairgrounds as a teenager and went on to win two Daytona 500s. “All the tracks are closing. I don’t know where young drivers who are just starting out are going to find a place to race.”