COLUMN: Meanwhile, back in Nevada ...
... Bruton Smith wants to build a track
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Huge banners tout Bristol Motor Speedway as “The Last Colosseum.”
It’s catchy. It conjures up images of chariot races, “Ben-Hur” and the grandeur of ancient Rome. Bristol conjures images of stock car races, “Days of Thunder” and the grandeur of Bruton Smith, whom I could see in a toga.
The CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc. is always in his element at Bristol, where he is fond of grand pronouncements. In the past he has unveiled great plans to entice Tennessee and Virginia Tech to play football down in the middle of his great speed palace. In spite of Smith’s lavish offers, no such game has ever been seriously considered by the respective schools, let alone played.
Smith loves to talk about how much he loves to build. He now wants to build a gigantic test track in the desert of Nevada, one where all the manufacturers of the world could test their ideas on a circuit similar to Germany’s Nurburgring.
How the green undulations of the Eifel Mountains could be duplicated in the sandy wasteland of Nevada is of little concern to the great builder, who, after all, took a prosperous short track near the Holston River and basically dropped something akin to an extraterrestrial mother ship around it.
Smith says he doesn’t even want to own this Nevadaring. He just wants to build it on land provided him by his cronies the politicians of Nevada. Any 13-mile test track that requires 8,000 acres is going to require some serious public assistance.
One can only imagine Smith making his case. Utah’s got its Bonneville Salt Flats. Why can’t Nevada become the world center of automotive testing?
For many of little faith, this idea seems as hare-brained as high-speed rail, but high-speed rail works well in Europe, which is where a Nurburgring already exists.
Most Americans actually expected the high-speed rail to come first here.
Monte Dutton; 704-869-1841; twitter.com/montedutton