333 - Marcus Smith: Out of the Box


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Following the first NASCAR Cup Series dirt race in over 50 years, Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Marcus Smith joins Dale Earnhardt Jr. after hosting the dirt race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Smith delves into many exciting projects surrounding his portfolio of race tracks including the latest on Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, plus promoting NASCAR’s inaugural trip to Circuit of the Americas.

Dale Jr. along with co-host Mike Davis have a lot of questions about what went down in Bristol and what could be coming down the pipeline for Smith and SMI.

Smith details the next-level weather challenges Bristol faced over the weekend. He explains how his team adapted and overcame the curveball Mother Nature threw at them in their first attempt to host the Cup Series on dirt.

He then explains the origins of the idea of covering Bristol with dirt, why he initially turned it down, and how it eventually all came together. Plus, what lessons were learned from Bristol’s original dirt attempt in the early 2000s? He shares those and why some dirt from that track was used again.

Crafting a brand-new dirt track was no easy task and Smith details the process of preparing the surface and the intricate details that made it work. Then, Dale Jr. shares his hopes for when the dirt is removed from the surface later this spring.

The dirt race weekend will return in 2022 and Smith explains how that decision came together over the weekend and the unique way it was announced during Monday’s Cup race.

Now a year into the pandemic, Smith reflects on the circumstances his company has faced trying to host large-scale entertainment events. He shares what he believed the pandemic taught the sport and how things will look once a sense of normalcy returns.

After Dale Jr. and Smith took a trip to Nashville for a visit with the mayor, Smith explains the progress his team is making in their effort to get the contract to renovate Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. He lays out what his plans are, how noise concerns will be addressed, and why this project will be beneficial for Music City.

Marcus addresses what the future looks like for Atlanta Motor Speedway and what he hopes to see happen in the state of Georgia that hopefully could transform the speedway property. This leads to a discussion about shifting the schedule around for his speedways, why changes were made for 2021, and what could possibly change in future years.

How did SMI take interest in hosting a race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX? Smith explains and shares how Texas Motor Speedway reacted.

Smith leaves us with some major news drops including a proposed innovation for Bristol Motor Speedway and why a favorite track of Dale Jr.’s can’t be written off quite yet.

In Ask Jr. Presented by Xfinity, Dale talks about his reactions to the Bristol dirt action, testing with a radio in his race car, and his thoughts on iRacing’s Chicago Street Course.

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365 episodes