NASCAR made its unofficial return to Nashville Superspeedway on Tuesday with a Goodyear tire test involving NASCAR Cup Series drivers representing each active manufacturer in the series — Kurt Busch for Chevrolet, Christopher Bell for Toyota and Chase Briscoe for Ford.
“It’s great to rekindle an old friendship,” Busch said. “I haven’t been out here in many years, and it hasn’t changed a bit. The concrete is very consistent, and I think the track is going to be fun to race on with all the other cars out there and, more importantly, it’s something new and refreshing.”
Nashville Superspeedway, which opened in 2001, hosted the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck series yearly until 2011. The track has been idle since then. The Cup Series has never contested races at Nashville Superspeedway. NASCAR’s top series last raced in the Nashville area in 1984 at the short track now known as Fairgrounds Speedway.
All three of NASCAR’s national series will race at Nashville Superspeedway between June 18 and 20.
“We’re fortunate to have three cup drivers out here putting their cars on the track and testing various tire compounds with Goodyear,” Nashville Superspeedway President Erik Moses said. “So that’ll tell us a lot and give us a lot of data to help us make certain that we’re in the best position to have the most competitive and exciting race possible for Father’s Day weekend.”
With its return to NASCAR national-level competition — its introduction when it comes to the Cup Series — Nashville Superspeedway becomes the largest concrete track on the schedule with it 1.3-mile length.
“I love racing on concrete,” Briscoe said. “The concrete tracks, there’s a lot more tire wear and it allows for some slipping and sliding. I’m glad there’s another one [on the schedule] now. For our team, coming to a new track, at least we’ll have a general idea on what to do [after the test].”
NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Darrell Waltrip and Dale Jarrett attended Tuesday’s test session, as did NBC broadcaster and former crew chief Steve LeTarte.
“I was excited about the track re-opening after 10 years,” Waltrip said. “The Cup guys haven’t been here since 1984. Just to be here and hearing the engines run with the tire test, business is about to pick up. It’s going to be a huge event.”
Waltrip resides in nearby Franklin, Tenn. He never raced at Nashville Superspeedway but won eight times at Fairgrounds Speedway, including his first-career Cup Series win in 1975 and a win in the final Cup Series race at the track in 1984.