Is Kentucky Speedway Closing? [Ultimate Guide!]

In case you haven’t heard, Kentucky Speedway is up for sale. If the news seems familiar, that’s probably because you follow horse racing. But this is bigger than horse racing, it’s the future of American motorsport. We’re not certain what will happen to the facility, but whatever does happen, it will surely be felt in the racing community.

What Is Kentucky Speedway?

Kentucky Speedway is a NASCAR Auto Racing Track in Lexington, Kentucky. The track takes its name from its main sponsor, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) formerly known as the American Advertising Association. It is the third-oldest NASCAR Auto Racing Track in the country, the second-oldest active one next to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the fifth-largest track in the sport. The venue hosts races for all three NASCAR touring series (the NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and the NASCAR Gander RV & Truck Series), as well as various weekly racing organizations like the ARCA Menards Series (formerly called the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) and the World Sportscar Championship.

The track was previously owned by Bruton Smith and his family, who purchased the facility in 1967. Smith’s late brother, Jack, helped build the track back in the 1950s. They opened it up as a way to provide for the family after their father passed away. Over the years, Bruton and Jack Smith made many changes to the facility, adding many amenities for the enjoyment of the spectators. The track was also expanded several times, adding more turns and expanding the grandstand and paddock areas. Today, Bruton’s great-grandchildren, Todd and Jarrod Smith, still own and operate the track. They have kept the same basic structure of the facility while adding several new buildings.

Is Kentucky Speedway Closing?

Rumors of Kentucky Speedway’s impending closure first surfaced back in June 2019, when a letter was sent to affected staff members notifying them of the sale. The letter stated that the owners had received “numerous expressions of interest” from potential buyers and that they were negotiating with a venture capitalist group to sell the track for future development.

The track’s future was brought into question a second time when four investors purchased a 99-year lease on the facility back in October 2019. The investors are from Tennessee, California, Michigan, and Kentucky. While the team behind the purchase hasn’t publicly stated their plans for the site, many in the industry believe they intend to close the track down and redevelop it into a mixed-use sports and entertainment district. If this becomes a reality, it would be the end of an era as the track would be the last of its kind.

Why Is Kentucky Speedway Important?

For those unfamiliar, NASCAR was founded in 1948 and began as a touring series for cars on grass. The vehicles were modified to handle better on dirt and gravel terrains like those found in the infield of a racetrack. The organization grew rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s and soon became a popular entity among the American public. A record 324 million people now follow the sport in some form, more than any other in America save for the NFL. The growth of NASCAR was largely fueled by the booming baby boomer market and the rise of television. Today, you can find NASCAR races on Sunday afternoons and late nights on the weekends, as well as various other events throughout the week. The sport is even prominent during the winter holidays, with Santa Claus hitting the track in an annual race on Christmas Eve.

While the end of an era seems inevitable at this point, there is still time for the community to come together and try to save the track. If this happens, it will surely be one for the record books.

What Will Happen To The Track?

Only time will tell what will happen to the track. While it could eventually close down, there is still time to save it. The facility is up for sale and the team behind the purchase hasn’t publicly stated their plans for the site, but with the economy being what it is, there’s no telling what kind of development could occur. It would be a shame if the track were to close, especially since it is the home of so many great stories.

If you’d like to be notified when more is known about the track’s future, feel free to sign up for our weekly newsletter here. We’ll keep you updated on all the latest news as it relates to Kentucky Speedway and the surrounding community. (1)

Last updated December 17, 2020

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