The potential of a brighter future for the historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway (NFS) includes a plan to enhance progress of its neighboring communities.
Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) and six organizations today announced a Community Benefits Commitment related to the proposed restoration and renovation of NFS. Nashville Mayor John Cooper has proposed that Metropolitan Government (Metro) enter a long-term contract partnership with BMS to modernize the long-neglected speedway and give it an economically viable future as a multipurpose venue.
As BMS and Nashville Fairgrounds (Fairgrounds) officials conducted more than two dozen outreach meetings with neighborhood stakeholders over the past year, an exciting opportunity emerged to form partnerships that can benefit community nonprofits.
“Being a good community partner is in the DNA of our company, and the more conversations that we had with neighborhood organizations, we were impressed with the dedicated missions being advanced by area nonprofits,” said Jerry Caldwell, BMS executive vice president and general manager.  “We wanted to find a way that our presence at the Fairgrounds could have a mutually beneficial impact for the community. As we focus on turning around the speedway to give it a new life that contributes to a fully renovated Fairgrounds, we believe our responsibility includes being a good neighbor to make a positive contribution to the communities around us.”
The Community Benefits Commitment includes partnerships with six organizations and a broader program that includes volunteerism, fundraising and event facility use opportunities for nonprofits, arts and beautification initiatives, and more. Highlights include:

  • BMS will work with Metro Nashville Public Schools’ neighboring Glencliff High School and Fall Hamilton Elementary to invest resources for student success.
    • BMS will serve an Academy Business Partner through PENCIL to develop a program to support Glencliff’s Maintenance and Light Repair Pathway (similar to the acclaimed program at Maplewood High School that involves Bridgestone Americas).
    • BMS will support Glencliff academies in culinary arts, health and hospitality and business/innovation for pathways that align with BMS and NFS.
    • BMS will support Fall Hamilton reading, STEM and leadership initiatives tied to motorsports concepts designed to engage student learning. Students will have access to field trips at NFS facilities and staff through classroom projects and as a reward for their achievements.
  • BMS will work with Conexión Américas and its Casa Azafran facility to support the communities around the speedway. Specific engagement is committed for Conexión Américas’ longstanding microenterprise, culinary incubation, education and community development initiatives to benefit career and equal economic opportunity.
  • BMS will partner with Operation Stand Down Tennessee to support military veterans and their families. BMS will host veterans’ events and honor military veterans at NFS events and programs to engage, equip and empower our local military veterans.
  • BMS will partner with Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee, Inc., to provide educational access and activities for youth across Middle TN Clubhouses
  • BMS will partner with the North Nashville Community Economic Development Consortium, a group of five nonprofits, to assist in MBE/DBE goals for track renovation, construction and ongoing maintenance, as well as workforce recruitment and development
  • BMS will create a Nashville chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, an organization devoted to raising money and distributing to local charities that meet the needs of children. A nonprofit arm of Speedway Motorsports founded in 1982 by BMS founder O. Bruton Smith, Speedway Children’s Charities has raised more than $60 million for local organizations to help children have a better, brighter, healthier future.
  • BMS commits to a $15.50 per hour minimum wage rate for all full-time, part-time and event staff.

Statements from Community Benefit Commitment Partners:
“We are elated to begin this partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway; the opportunities for the students at Glencliff High School in the Academy of Agriculture, Automotive and Technology are endless,” said Thommye’ Kelley, academy coach of Glencliff High School. “Having them as one of our Academy business partners will give our students the chance to learn more about the industry and experience a part of their community like never before. We know that great things will come from this partnership for our students, our teachers and our community.”
“Fall-Hamilton Elementary is proud to partner with Bristol Motor Speedway and is grateful for their commitment to our students’ success,” said Mathew Portell, executive principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary. “With their support, we will establish innovative reading initiatives and STEM programs rooted in motorsport concepts and designed to engage students in new learning opportunities.”
“Operation Stand Down Tennessee (OSDTN) is proud to partner with Bristol Motor Speedway as they work to bring NASCAR back to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway,” said Penny Anderson, chief development and external affairs officer of Operation Stand Down Tennessee. “This partnership will connect Veterans to employment opportunities and the excitement of racing. Together, we will engage, equip and empower those who served in uniform.”
“This new partnership will open more opportunities for Conexión Américas' longstanding community development, microenterprise, and culinary incubation initiatives in Southeast Nashville to ensure our Latino community benefits equitably from Nashville's continued economic growth. Conexión Américas looks forward to working together with Bristol Motor Speedway to further our mission of creating a welcoming community and creating opportunities where Latino families can belong, contribute, and succeed,” said Martha Silva and Tara Lentz, interim co-executive directors of Conexión Américas.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee is beyond grateful for Bristol Motor Speedway’s investment in our local youth and this historical site that has a history as long as our own,” said Eric Higgs, chief executive officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. “We’re especially excited for the experiences and exposure our youth will gain through this partnership as we prepare them for college and career.”
“The North Nashville Community Economic Development Consortium (NNCEDC) is excited about engaging with Bristol Motor Speedway as a Nashville community benefits partner. The NNCEDC is a partnership of five 501c3 organizations: The William F. Buchanan CDC, Jump Nashville CDC, Mt. Calvary Herman Street CDC, New Level CDC and Be a Helping Hand CDC,” said Carlina Bell Rollins, North Nashville Community Economic Development Consortium. “We value transparent community communication, accountability and engagement. Because of this development and our partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway, we will be able to ensure that the communities we support benefit economically through this coming project. The benchmark of our success will be equitably determined by the stakeholders of North Nashville. We aim to surpass minority business enterprise expectations by creating deep and long-lasting partnerships between Bristol Motor Speedway and North Nashville neighbors and stakeholders.”