Two politically connected music industry moguls have attached their company names to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, giving what racing enthusiasts say is momentum to keep racing at the site long-term.
The sponsors, announced Friday, are Mike Curb and Scott Borchetta, both major Nashville music industry players with histories of support for auto racing. Curb, former Republican lieutenant governor of California, owns Curb Sports Inc., and a record label with the same name. Borchetta is founder and president of Big Machine Records.
“With their names being attached to it, it solidifies how important this place is to so many,” racing promoter Shane Smiley said at Friday’s announcement. “You’re going to find more people coming up and thinking about sponsoring.
“This verifies we’re strong and we’re back,” he said.
Those involved with the sponsorship negotiations declined to say how much the two parties paid for the two-year sponsorships.
Earlier this year, the five-member Metro Board of Fair Commissioners contracted former NASCAR drivers Bobby Hamilton Jr. and Chad Chaffin to hold racing events at the much-disputed speedway for the next two years.
Beyond 2012, the future of racing at the 117-acre fairgrounds is in doubt, with a public referendum slated for Election Day on Aug. 4 to decide whether to keep the status quo at the property.
Gathered before a small crowd of reporters, Hamilton showed off a new logo that reads: “Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, sponsored by Curb Sports Inc. and BigMachineRecords.com.”
The logo is to greet fairgrounds visitors as they enter at Wedgewood Avenue and Nolensville Pike, according to Smiley. Racing fans will also notice it on the walls of the track and the backside of the scoreboard speedway, he said.
In the works, Smiley said, are potential promotions, giveaways and future national anthems sung by artists represented by the sponsors, as well as post-racing concerts.
Clients of Big Machine Records include Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and Steel Magnolia.
Hamilton said Curb and Borchetta merge the “political side and racing side” necessary for racing to have long-term backing. Smiley indicated the sponsors would be interested in extending their contracts beyond two years, if given the chance.