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NASCAR track owner dies at 95 –

Bruton Smith was the founder and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, who owned NASCAR tracks including the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR legend

Smith loved racing from an early age, and as a young man, he tried his hand at driving. His racing career didn’t last long, as he soon began working as a promoter instead. Smith built his first racetrack in the 1950s: Charlotte Motor Speedway opened in 1959 and became the well-known home of the World 600 (now Coca-Cola 600) NASCAR race. He went on to found Speedway Motorsports and built other NASCAR tracks including the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and Sonoma Raceway. His early promotion of races as his tracks helped build NASCAR from a regional organization to the major national draw it later became. After the death of his young son, Smith founded Speedway Children’s Charities, a non-profit that funds local children’s organizations. In 2007, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Notable quote

“I’m a frustrated builder who had a knack for promoting races, and it’s been fun to always try and push the sport to greater heights for the fans.” —from a 2015 interview for the Associated Press

Tributes to Bruton Smith

Full obituary: Charlotte Observer

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