Bruton Smith, NASCAR Hall of Famer and track owner, dies at 95
According to a statement from the track management business Speedway Motorsports, Bruton Smith, a longtime figure in NASCAR and a Hall of Fame inductee for creating and promoting auto racing events countrywide, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 95 from natural causes.
While we mourn my father’s departure, we also rejoice for the life he lived and the incredible legacy he left to inspire us all, said Marcus Smith, his son and the president of the business his father oversaw for decades.
Ollen Bruton Smith, a North Carolinian who was born in 1927, began his career as a track promoter before becoming famous for constructing and erecting Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile racetrack now famous for staging NASCAR’s longest race—a 600-mile event—every year. At the track’s official debut in 1960, the inaugural 600-mile race was run.
According to the statement, Smith previously observed, “I realised from my own experience that when people go to an event — like a huge race — they may recognise who won the race, but all the other stuff they don’t remember.” “I want to put something on so that it would be a great experience regardless of who won the race. We’re here to amuse the crowd, and I want them to take something with them when they go.
Smith had a significant role in NASCAR’s growth in the 1990s as the sport started to shift from being mostly driven by the Southeast to having a more national focus. Races at modernised tracks stretching from Sonoma, California, and Las Vegas eastward to Loudon, New Hampshire, and Dover, Delaware, frequently made up the majority of NASCAR’s annual calendar. He managed the construction of speedways in new areas including Dallas-Fort Worth.
In 2012, Smith, who was the CEO of many businesses well into his 80s, was recognised as the oldest CEO to appear on the Fortune 500 list.
For his accomplishments to the sport, he was honoured by being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2016.
In a statement, Hall Executive Director Winston Kelley remarked that “NASCAR has lost one of its real pioneers, visionaries, and inventors.” “Bruton’s legacy and amazing achievements to NASCAR will always live on in our memories, our archives, and at the cathedrals of speed he constructed and honoured at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”
Smith leaves behind seven grandchildren in addition to four children.