GLADEVILLE, Tenn. – Dover Motorsports announced Wednesday that it will not seek any NASCAR race sanctions for the Nashville Superspeedway in 2012, closing the facility located in Gladeville, 35 minutes southeast of Nashville, after 10 years.
Vice President and General Manager Cliff Hawks said in a news release, that despite "passionate race fans" and "extremely dedicated and talented employees", the track can't continue to operate as a racing facility.
He said, in part, "The reality is, after 10 years of effort, we have to face the fact that without a Sprint Cup race and/or a significant change in the operating model for other events, we simply cannot continue.''
The Nashville Superspeedway first opened in 2001 and is situated on almost 1,400 acres in Wilson County.
The 1.33 mile concrete superspeedway has 25,000 permanent grandstand seats, lights for nighttime racing, foundation work for a dirt track, short track and drag strip and infrastructure in place to expand to 150,000 seats.
A statement on the facility's Web site reads, "Thanks for all the memories!"
The future of the Nashville Superspeedway property is unclear.
Only four big races have been held at the track each year after the Indy Racing League announced in 2008 it would no longer compete at the racetrack, taking with it the Firestone Indy 200, arguably the venue's biggest event.
Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, said it's possible the company could sell the property.
He said, in part, "We are, however, at a juncture where we must evaluate all of our options for this track, including its possible sale.
Area businesses will undoubtedly be impacted.
Terri Davis is the Director of Operations at the Comfort Inn in Lebanon. She told Nashville's News 2 races at the superspeedway track help fill rooms for sometimes a week in advance.
She said now they'll have to come up with new ways to attract guests.
"You know, it's like everything now," Davis explained. "We just have to sit back, rethink it and work hard to fill those losses [empty rooms]."
Dover Motorsports said the few remaining events left on the 2011 schedule for the Nashville Superspeedway will not be impacted by Wednesday's closure.
Could NASCAR return to the Nashville fairgrounds?
Larry Woody worked as a racing beat writer for The Tennessean and has written several books.
He told Nashville's News 2 he never fully bought into the idea the Superspeedway would lead to NASCAR racing at it's highest level, which left Nashville in 1984.
"I was thinking about it, it's sort of like our 'Field of Dreams' without the Hollywood ending. We built it and they didn't come," he said.
Woody said he questioned the odds of Nashville ever getting a Cup race and was told by NASCAR president Mike Helton, "Well, kind of not in our lifetime sort of deal."
According to Woody, if Thursday's vote concerning the Nashville fairgrounds favors keeping the space as is, he believes there is virtually no chance NASCAR top tier racing would ever return to the fairgrounds and is almost as sure that second tier NASCAR racing would ever return.
"The fairgrounds seats only about 22,000 and I'm not sure that's enough to pay up a Nationwide or a truck race purse," he explained.