The Dale Jr. Download

405 - Marcus Smith - NEW Details About The All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro

405 - Marcus Smith - NEW Details About The All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro

The Dale Jr. Download - October 25, 2022 - 1:47:03

Back in September, the stock car racing world was turned upside down when the announcement was made that the 2023 NASCAR All-Star race would be held at the recently revived North Wilkesboro Speedway. On this week’s episode of The Dale Jr. Download, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and co-host Mike Davis sit down with the man who helped make the decision, CEO and President of Speedway Motorsports Incorporated Marcus Smith. Devotees of The Download will recognize that this marks Smith’s fifth appearance on the show, and his yearly check-in usually provides great insight into some of the upcoming projects in the NASCAR world.Much has changed since Marcus’ last visit in May 2021, most notably the passing of his father Bruton, who was a major contributor to the racing world and founder of SMI. Marcus reflects on the difficult process of coming to terms with his father’s declining health but is thankful that he lived a long life of 95 years. He also explains how his father got his start in car sales by running a used car lot on his mother’s front lawn. Though he was eventually shut down by city officials, his knack for the industry eventually led to him forming Sonic Automotive, the fifth-largest automotive retailer in the country.The interview addresses the rumors surrounding the reconfiguration of Texas Motor Speedway. Dale and Marcus unpack the September Cup race held at the Fort Worth-based track and discuss what can be done to help boost attendance while keeping competitors and teams happy. Marcus explains that with the current grandstand set-up, there are limited changes that can be made to the track’s actual configuration. However, alterations can be made to the speedway’s profile, much like the recent reshaping of Atlanta Motor Speedway. In fact, with the help of iRacing, they’ve been able to model potential changes and test through simulation to see what effect they’d have on the racing product. The process was essential to the work done in Atlanta, and the results found in the trial runs were comparable to the actual Cup races held this season.In addition to the changes made to the racing surface at Atlanta, there have been talks of bringing a casino resort to the grounds in an effort to build up the area similar to that of Kansas Speedway. Marcus explains that in order for the plans to go through, there needs to be an amendment made to the Georgia state constitution that would allow for sports gambling, and encourages listeners and supporters of the speedway to be vocal to their local representatives.Another huge topic of discussion was the status of the Nashville Fairgrounds project. Those following along will remember that Dale and Marcus have been huge proponents in bringing NASCAR Cup racing back to the famed oval. Marcus makes clear that while they have been seemingly stuck in place for a while, progress is being made on the initiative. A glimmer of hope in bringing relics of NASCAR’s past back to life has been the return of North Wilkesboro Speedway. Dale and Marcus reflect on the huge success of the recent CARS Late Model Stock Car race at the track and fill listeners in on the changes and upgrades being made to the facility in anticipation of next year’s All-Star event. Aside from additional seating being brought in, improvements are being made to the facilities, scoring system, retaining walls, and traffic flow. The conversation also touches on NASCAR’s ongoing television contract discussions and what it means for the tracks and the Race Team Alliance. Tune in for insight from one of the great minds and innovators in the motorsports industry regarding what it takes to run a speedway and what all parties can do to help the sport grow as a whole. Check out for updates/details.

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About The Show

NASCAR’s 15-time Most Popular Driver and winner of two Daytona 500s, Dale Earnhardt Jr., hosts his very own podcast, The Dale Jr Download on Dirty Mo Media. Earnhardt and co-host Mike Davis raise the bar with unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and fascinating, first-person insight into the life of a broadcaster, celebrated racer.