Erik Moses attended his first NASCAR race in 2019 as an XFL executive looking for marketing ideas on a trip to Dover International Raceway. A year later, Dover poached Moses and sent him to Tennessee to reopen the Nashville Superspeedway.

Moses, hired last August, will open the doors this weekend to a track that has been dormant since Carl Edwards won the 21st and final Xfinity Series race of the 2011 season.

Best of all, Moses will welcome a sold-out crowd of around 40,000 on Sunday when NASCAR’s inaugural Cup Series debuts at the Nashville Superspeedway.

It will be a watershed moment for Dover Motorsports, which opened the Concrete Oval in 2001 in search of a coveted Cup race. After a decade of hosting only NASCAR minor leagues and eight IndyCar races, the company has given up on trying the big show.

“We didn’t build this track in 2001 to just accommodate Trucks and Xfinity. It was built for the Cup,” said Moses. “Why haven’t we been able to attract a Cup race for 20 years, frankly I don’t know, and I don’t care. My job is to make sure that this track that we now have present this market to America’s best pilots and transforms this facility into a beloved institution. “

The Cup Series hasn’t raced in the Nashville area since 1984, when Geoff Bodine won the last event of the first series held at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Its comeback comes as Nashville has emerged as motorsport’s hottest market.

The city hosted the annual Cup Series Awards in 2019 and NASCAR reintroduced itself to Nashville with an elaborate “Burnouts on Broadway” exhibit in the heart of the Entertainment District. IndyCar will return to the city in August for a street race that will cross the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge, and Speedway Motorsports is trying to bring NASCAR back to the fairgrounds.

“It’s pretty interesting how everyone is doing in Nashville, focusing on Nashville as a great place, and I think that’s a long time coming,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will be part of the. broadcast team this weekend as NBC Sports begins its part of the NASCAR television package. Earnhardt has also recently joined the group supporting the IndyCar event.

Is it too much racing for one market?

“Physically they are all different and are going to provide a different style of racing and a different style of entertainment,” Earnhardt said. “The city has a lot of energy. When we were there doing burnout on the boulevard, I was upstairs in one of those buildings looking out the window and there was clear as day that it was a great relationship and a great partnership.

“It was just normal, it didn’t even sound new. It was like an old friend and boyfriend that you hadn’t hung out with for a long, long time.”

Dover made a substantial investment to finally clinch their Cup race. The company moved one of its two annual races from its Delaware track to secure its Cup date and was rewarded with a four-year sanction agreement from NASCAR.

Dover pledged more than $ 8 million for capital improvements, which Moses said included a massive fiber-optic installation for wireless capability at the highway, added barriers SAFER, a refurbished luxury suite complex , a field care center and a media center. New asphalt was also poured on the road course and the infield apron. There is a new coat of paint and new lighting and sound systems.

“If you left your house lifeless for 10 years, you would have a lot to do before inviting your friends and family,” Moses said.

Justin Marks, owner of Trackhouse Racing and Nashville resident, saw the track ahead of the NASCAR Triple Weekend. He is also part of the group promoting IndyCar racing and his vision for Trackhouse is to relocate the team to Nashville and operate out of the entertainment district by the 2023 season.

Marks said he believed the superspeedway, even though it was located about 30 miles from downtown, could be successful.

“The speedway needs to be touted and marketed as a bit more of a destination, it’s not that far away that it can’t be a ‘Nashville event’ and that is proven by the fact that they have sold every ticket, sold every suite and they sold the inventory of the sponsors, ”Marks said.“ It’s been there for a long time, it’s been quiet for a while, but it’s really a NASCAR place and to make the show a good show – all the tools are there for them to do it. “

Moses used the slogan “The Cup brings the party” to promote NASCAR superstars who are racing the superspeedway for the first time. He found it to work because the ardent fan understands the importance of Cup races on the speedway, but the casual fan only knows the stars.

He is convinced, however, that the market is hungry for the race and the chance to see the biggest names in person.

“People understand that the best American drivers are in NASCAR and we are bringing them here for the first time in 37 years, which is truly unfathomable for this market and a place so deeply connected to our sport and one that truly loves cars and racing. automotive culture, ”said Moses, the first and only black track president in NASCAR.

“Apparently everyone here on the Nashville freeways wants to be a NASCAR driver by the way they pass me on the freeway, whether it’s in a Prius or a van. It’s a top city and we want to showcase a product that these fans deserve and expect. “

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