Monday, April 08, 2013

SMI Wants Lawsuit Reinstated

SMI's Bruton Smith
Last year, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Charlotte Motor Speedway alleging that Cabarrus County, NC had reneged on a commitment to provide more than $80 million in tax incentives as part of a deal to build ZMax Dragway.

Now, SMI owner/CEO Bruton Smith wants that suit reinstated.
Lawyers for SMI will appear before a three-judge panel in the NC State Court of Appeals tomorrow to argue that county officials made a verbal commitment in 2007 to provide those incentives, after Smith threatened to move Charlotte Motor Speedway’s thriving motorsports complex to South Carolina. City and county officials offered an appeasement package at that time, renaming the road adjoining the track “Bruton Smith Boulevard” and offering a series of tax breaks worth an estimated $80 million.
That agreement was never put to paper until a year later, however, after the drag strip had already been built. Terms of the written agreement would have required SMI to wait up to 40 years for full reimbursement of infrastructure and facility improvements, and Smith sued in 2009, claiming that the county “has received what it bargained for, and seeks now to avoid its return promise."
Attorneys for the county insist it was Smith’s decision to build the drag strip before finalizing their agreement, adding, "This was an agreement to agree, which is not an agreement at all.”
The motorsports industry generates an estimated $6 billion dollars of revenue per year in North Carolina, much of it in Cabarrus County, which is home for a majority of NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series teams. SMI – which owns eight tracks hosting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events nationwide -- reported profits of $42.1 million last year on revenues of $490 million.
The three-judge panel will meet tomorrow to determine whether the suit should be reinstated. A decision is not expected until June or July.


  1. Anonymous2:43 PM

    Bruton Smith wants his cake and eat it to. I am a race fan and a tax payer. I feel that we should not be asked to assist in paying for these tracks and stadiums for these sporting events. We pay more than enough to get into these events and now you want us to help build these for a man that should take his own risk in building these tracks. Suck it up Bruton!

  2. Anonymous3:11 PM

    Rich guys want everything for free or they'll take their marbles and go home. What a shame this guy is like this. But he isn't alone. The uber rich demand everything and give nothing to help the little guy. I won't be going to Zmax (he even got them to pay for the naming rights) again that's for sure.

  3. Anonymous3:57 PM

    Wouldn't it be nice if there were more tracks where you could feel good about lining the track owners pockets? I love Charlotte Motor Speedway but I feel a little sick paying any money to Bruton (and miss Humpy). Haven't been back to NHIS since he bought it since Friday practice tickets were almost as much as the cheapest grandstand ticket for Sunday the one time i went. (Though i took the tour at NHIS and recommend it...and can't wait to go to the museum)

  4. Anonymous, phooey. I do agree that taxpayers money should NEVER fund sports complexes, whether it directly or through tax "incentives". Ol' Bruton makes millions, let him pay for his race tracks his-ownself.

  5. I empathize with Bruton. I felt the same way Bruton does now when he decided not to refund money to Kentucky ticket holders that were turned away from the 1st race. His excuse... "I don't feel like it". Maybe Cabarrus County, NC doesn't feel like it. I second the motion to suck it up Bruton.

  6. Anonymous3:25 PM

    I'm a huge fan of the sport , live in Cabarrus county . I used to attend 7-8 cup races a year . Between Bruton throwing a fit over ZMAX and SMI'S outrageous ticket prices I stopped going to their tracks .Charlotte, Richmond, and ,Bristol . I still go to events but only ISC tracks . Daytona , Martinsville , and my favorite Darlington . Love your show and keep up the good work .

  7. Anonymous3:09 PM