Local Nashville authorities have shut down proposals for an IndyCar or IMSA race outside Nissan Stadium, although Grand Prix of Nashville organizers remain optimistic that the event can be revived.
According to a report in The Tennessean, Metro Sports Authority Director Monica Fawknotson, speaking on behalf of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s office, told the sports authority board on Tuesday that her main concerns with the plans related to logistics
“In the end, we just felt like there were just too many unanswered questions, especially in regards to the needed infrastructure and, quite honestly, just how do we work around this city’s vigorous special events schedule,” she said. “There’s just so much going on.”
Event organizers, led by former Pocono Raceway president Joe Mattioli and Matt Crews, ex-CEO of former NASCAR team Baker Curb Racing, had proposed a five-day riverside festival starting in 2019, culminating in a headline race on a 1.79-mile track around Nissan Stadium’s carparks and neighboring Interstate Drive.
“While we are disappointed with today’s announcement, the Grand Prix of Nashville continues to move forward,” Mattioli said in a statement. “We understand that this is a complex event requiring all parties to be comfortable with an undertaking of this magnitude.
“Since the Sport Authority’s unanimous approval earlier this year, we had been continuing our site due diligence and working to address various issues raised by the city, the Sports Authority and the Tennessee Titans. They have all been great partners, and we hope that we can move forward, if not now, then perhaps in the future.”
Mattoli also alluded to other potential venues in the Nashville area being under consideration, but did not elaborate about which sites the group was targeting.
“The group put a lot of effort into it,” Fawknotson told The Tennessean. “Clearly, there’s a lot of interest in large events that are racing-related and centered around motorsports. But I think just like with any other event, especially here in Nashville, it has to be the right event at the right time, and we just aren’t there yet.”
IndyCar had yet to respond to a request for comment as this story went to print. The series last visited the area in 2008, when Scott Dixon won the final IRL race at Nashville Speedway. The prospect of a Nashville street race had been gaining momentum for several months, with suggestions that it might have been a possibility to replace Watkins Glen on the IndyCar calendar as early as next year. While that would have represented fortuitously great timing, coming off the back of the crowning of Tennessee native Josef Newgarden as 2017 series champion, the vacant spot on the schedule was ultimately claimed by Portland.