Owner and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Bruton Smith has died at 95 years old, Charlotte Motor Speedway confirmed with a tweet on Wednesday.
Smith, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2016, will have an unforgettable impact on the world of racing for years to come.
On Thursday, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France released a statement on Smith’s passing:
“Race fan are, and always will be, the lifeblood of NASCAR. Few knew this truth better than Bruton Smith. Bruton built his race tracks employing a simple philosophy: give race fans memories they will cherish for a lifetime. In doing so, Bruton helped grow NASCAR’s popularity as the preeminent spectator sport. His vision and legacy inspired many, and his fan-first mentality remains today through his son Marcus. On behalf of the France family and all of NASCAR, I offer my deepest condolences to the family and Friends of Bruton Smith, a giant of our sport.”
Smith bought Charlotte Motor Speedway for $1.5 million in 1959. He founded Speedway Motorsports Inc. in 1994 — a company which now owns 11 racetracks.
- Atlanta Motor Speedway
- Bristol Motor Speedway
- Charlotte Motor Speedway
- Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- New Hampshire Motor Speedway
- Sonoma Raceway
- Texas Motor Speedway
- Dover Motor Speedway
- Nashville Superspeedway
- North Wilkesboro Speedway
- Kentucky Speedway
Smith founded Sonic Automotive, one of the nation’s largest automotive retailers, in 1997. Speedway’s Children’s Charities, which Smith founded in 1982, has distributed over $61 million to local organizations across the country to help children in need.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame also released a touching statement in Smith’s honor.