LEBANON, Tenn. (AP) — The man who founded Speedway Motorsports was in attendance Sunday at NASCAR’s Ally 400 race at follow his company bought last November.
Bruton Smith died on Wednesday at the age of 95. The Hall of Famer who was one of the greatest track owners and most successful promoters in motor racing history was remembered on cars at the Nashville Superspeedway with a popular sticker bearing Smith’s name along with the years of his life.
The John Force Racing car featured Smith’s name and called him “A TRUE LEGEND – A TRUE FRIEND”.
Smith’s son, Marcus, said his father would be honored by all the recognition.
“Our family has felt an incredible outpouring of prayers, support and kindness over the past few days,” Marcus Smith wrote on Twitter. “My family and I are grateful. Thanks.”
Smiths’ funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will be open to the public. The funeral will be broadcast live at Charlotte Motor Speedway Youtube channel. The ceremony at the cemetery will be private.
Staying cool on and off the track on Sunday was top priority at the Nashville Superspeedway with the temperature sizzling into the mid-90s in the hottest race yet this season with humidity hitting around 100 degrees. Inside race cars, the temperature can soar to nearly 125 degrees.
With fan entertainment starting hours before the start of the race, track officials had six misting tents as well as free cold towels handed out at the gates. They also had six free water stations and water fountains scattered throughout the halls.
Fans were allowed to bring empty insulated bottles or containers up to 64 ounces or bring their own water bottles if sealed. Everyone got a break when lightning within seven miles stopped the race at the start of Stage 1 for just over an hour. Then the thunderstorms really chilled everyone, stopping the race again for over two hours.
Racing in Nashville means bringing out the stars, and NBC Sports has perhaps invited Music City’s brightest to greet viewers on Sunday.
music icon Dolly Parton anchored a nearly 2-minute intro that noted his own willingness to travel from his hometown in East Tennessee to Nashville where any scene gives “a magical feeling because now you’re standing on the stage where some of the greatest legends have ever stood outfits”.
Parton said the key is having a lot of faith and trust in your gift to pursue the dream.
“Then you have to work, you have to stay with it,” Parton said. “You have to be willing to sacrifice yourself for this. You have to get there. It’s not going to happen. I really think that’s what drives most people with great talent. We burn with this desire… We have something magical.
AVOID MEME STATUS
WWE Star Sheamus easily handled Sunday work as an honorary starter, although he had some concerns before the race. He didn’t let go when it came time to wave the green flag with the wrestler knowing millions would be watching.
“So I just want to make sure I super glue this thing to my hand, so it doesn’t fall off, you know what I mean? That’s the thing. I mean, I don’t want to become a meme.
Sheamus held the flag without issue, avoiding any meme issues.
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