Charlotte Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith dies at 95 – WSOC TV

Charlotte Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith dies at 95 – WSOC TV

CHARLOTTE — NASCAR Hall of Famer and Charlotte Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith has died at the age of 95, according to officials.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway confirmed he died Wednesday of natural causes.

“When you think about the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bristol, and tracks like New Hampshire and Sonoma and Atlanta, he’s been the best,” 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and fellow automobile dealer Roger Penske told NASCAR.com in 2016. “There’s no question. He set the bar.”

Smith built Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960 and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2016 class.

He founded Speedway Motorsports in December 1994, and in February 1995, he made it the first motorsports company to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

>> Photos: Bruton Smith through the years

Now, Speedway Motorsports owns 11 motorsports entertainment facilities across the country, including 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 and Kentucky Speedway.

Then in January 1992, Smith founded Sonic Automotive, and in 2000 it was first officially recognized as a Fortune 500 company based in Charlotte.

Under Smith, Speedway Motorsports facilities were the first in racing to add condominiums, fine-dining Speedway Clubs, superspeedway lighting, and giant high-definition video screens.

“His mind is racing all the time; he’s done so much for the sport,” said Rick Hendrick, an auto dealer and fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer, in a 2016 interview with NASCAR.com. “He’s so brave to step out and try things that have never been tried before. He helped build this sport.”

The Charlotte Motor Speedway said information regarding funeral arrangements will be released later.

This is a developing story. Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

Racing community shares social posts remembering Bruton Smith

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