The end came quicker than expected for Fairgrounds Speedway as track operator Danny Denson has decided to cancel the scheduled season-ending All-American 400.
The race had originally been set for last weekend but was postponed due to a rainy forecast and rescheduled for the end of the month.
Denson reconsidered, but Wednesday decided to cancel the race and close the track due to ongoing problems with Metro.
“There had been so much negative attention that we decided to go and end it now,” said Denson, referring to plans by Mayor Karl Dean, and the Fair Board vote, to shut down the entire Fairgrounds next June 30.
“It’s impossible to promote a race in this kind of atmosphere. It’s all over. It’s a sad day for our sport and our city,” he said.
The track opened in 1958 on a Metro-owned site that had hosted some form of racing since 1904.
The closing of Fairgrounds Speedways leaves Nashville Superspeedway in Wilson County as the only major-league race track in Middle Tennessee. That track is considered unsuitable for local-division racing.
“I don’t know where young drivers just starting out are going to race,” said Sterling Marlin, a three-time track champion whose son Steadman and daughter Sutherlin raced at the Fairgrounds this season.
“I’ve looked around, and Montgomery (Ala.) is the closest [suitable] track I can find. I never thought we’d see a situation like this in an area that used to be famous for its racing.”