Press Esc to cancel. The tracks first 600-miler was held at its grand opening in 1960. A year before his NASCAR Hall of Fame induction, he overcame a case of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and was deemed healthy after surgery during the summer of 2015. Our Founder O. Bruton Smith (1927 - 2022) Directors Marcus G. Smith David Bruton Smith The NASCAR family mourns the loss of Hall of Famer and visionary track operator, Bruton Smith. Bruton Smith and his son, Marcus," Caldwell . In addition to Marcus Smith, Bruton Smith is survived by sons Scott and David, daughter Anna Lisa, and their mother, Bonnie Smith, along with seven grandchildren. FILE - Hall of Fame inductee Bruton Smith entertains the crowd as his son, Marcus Smith, left, looks on during NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. He watched his first race as an 8-year-old during the Depression and bought his first race car at 17 for $700. Bruton Smith, a key promoter and track operator and a pioneer in auto racing, died at 95, NASCAR reported and Speedway Motorsports Inc. announced Wednesday afternoon. Speedway Motorsports also owns and operates a number of subsidiaries. Jun 22, 2022. The tracks host NASCAR, IndyCar, NHRA and other series in Atlanta; Bristol, Tennessee; Charlotte; Las Vegas; New Hampshire; Sonoma, California; Texas; Dover, Delaware; Nashville, Tennessee; North Wilkesboro, North Carolina; and Kentucky. A lot of people don't have that gift because they didn't grow up working. "Bruton Smith has been one of my heroes since I started racing in NASCAR in 1972." In addition to his business interests, Smith founded Speedway Children's Charities in 1982 as a memoriam and legacy to his son, Bruton Cameron Smith, who passed away at a very young age. Sonic Automotive Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Smith has been indicted on four charges related to his October arrest for an alleged assault on a woman, according to the . I enjoy the contributions Ive been able to make to the sport.. More than two dozen flower bouquets lined the front of Central Church. "He was like a second father to me. He helped grow not just NASCAR, but all kinds of racing. Jim France called Smith a giant of a sport., Everyone knows what hes done for motorsports, NHRA and NASCAR," said legendary drag racer John Force. More than two dozen flower bouquets lined the front of the church as the choir stood shoulder-to-shoulder, below an illuminated cross mounted on the wall. Cary man becomes 27th North Carolinian charged in Capitol riot. God made Bruton. All Rights Reserved. Instead, he moved to the business side of sports and promoted his first race while still a teenager. Rockinghams lone remaining Cup Series date went to Texas. and his son Marcus Smith ran the race tracks in his absence. He was always on the leading edge at his tracks more seats, more pomp and ceremony, said NASCAR team owner Roger Penske. Smith, a native of Oakboro, North Carolina, was born March 3, 1927. Smith who didnt drink, smoke or swear was also known for his numerous feuds with NASCAR and local governments, many of which played out in public. Smith, a native of Oakboro, North Carolina, was born March 3, 1927. . "Bruton Smith has been one of my heroes since I started racing in NASCAR in 1972." Smith founded Speedway Children's Charities in 1982 as a memoriam and legacy to his son, Bruton Cameron . The two largest operators of racetracks in the country rarely saw eye-to-eye, but Smith, with his gold-framed shaded sunglasses and wild sport coats, never backed down. I'm going to miss him. 2023 Ghanafuo.com & DM Network. I met him when he opened Bristol. "I love the racing business. "Bruton's contribution to stock car racing is hard to measure," said fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. "His ambitious vision created growth and opportunities that I am forever thankful for.". The son of George Martin Bruton and Martha L. Christian.  He became vice president of business development in 2001, and was made director in 2004. Knowing the Frances and Bruton, neither one of them wanted to let the other get ahead of them, said former driver Darrell Waltrip. As I look back, that was a gift, even though I certainly didn't think so at the time. Bruton Smith, a North Carolina native and entrepreneur who fell in love with auto racing and parlayed it into a career as an eccentric . On behalf of the France family and all of NASCAR, I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Bruton Smith, a giant of our sport.. In 1949, he ran the National Stock Car Racing Association, a Georgia-based racing sanctioning body that was a rival to NASCAR, which Bill France Sr. had formed in 1948. For his lifetime of dedication and innovation, he was inducted to both the NASCAR Hall of Fame (2016) and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (2007). Speedway Motorsports, Inc. announced Smiths death, saying it occurred due to natural causes. I want to contribute more and more.. Your effort and contribution in providing this feedback is much Smith purchased Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990, built Texas Motor Speedway outside of Dallas, and bought Las Vegas Motor Speedway, taking NASCAR onto the national stage and far beyond the small tracks in places like Rockingham and Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The track was known as Lowe's Motor Speedway until 2009 when a deal could not be reached to extend the contract. And then make it happen., It tells you something about the legendary drive that Bruton had, Gibbs said. Logos for Charlotte Motor Speedway and Sonic Automotive Group during the funeral service Thursday stood beside Smiths casket, which was topped with a collection of white roses and lilies. Bruton built his race tracks employing a simple philosophy: Give race fans memories they will cherish for a lifetime.. Barbara Everitt Bryant cause of death: How did Barbara Everitt Bryant die? What people dont realize about Bruton is that he had a rough edge but a big heart.. You can't fight your mom and God, so I stopped driving.. Once in a lifetime, Charlotte Waffle House found with live roach, unclean equipment during health inspection.  In 1999, Smith led talks between SMI and Lowe's Corporation, Inc. to sell the naming rights of Charlotte Motor Speedway. He was 95. Currently, Speedway Motorsports owns an array of properties, including 10 tracks with Cup Series dates, including Dover, Bristol, Atlanta, Texas, and Las Vegas. Bruton was a builder. Through much of his auto racing career, Smith was at odds with first Bill France Sr. and later Bill France Jr., who followed his father into the NASCAR presidency. Here are his plans. And I wouldnt be surprised if he is sitting with God and telling him about the new project he wants to do., Bill Evans, a Charlotte business owner and former Jaguar car salesman, said before the service he found Smiths life and career unbelievable.. Brutons legacy and incredible accomplishments in and contributions to NASCAR will forever remain in our minds, our archives, at the cathedrals of speed he built and celebrated at the NASCAR Hall of Fame forever.. Smith began promoting dirt-track races in North Carolina as an 18-year-old. Smith also played a heavy role in philanthropic efforts, founding Speedway Children's Charities in 1982. To the delight of his mother, those ambitions did not last long. Bruton Smith, one of the richest people in the United States, according to Forbes magazine, was known for his auto racing empire but also owned and operated automobile dealerships across the country under Sonic Automotive, launched in November 1997. Speedway Children's Charities was founded by O. Bruton Smith, Chairman of Speedway Motorsports Incorporated and Sonic Automotive Incorporated, as a memoriam and legacy to his son, Bruton Cameron Smith. Smith, 88, has a good prognosis, said his son Marcus . There was a whole lot of unrest with the drivers and car owners at that time, Speedway Motorsports officials quoted Smith as saying at the time. Smiths resentment toward NASCAR founder Bill France and, later, Bill France Jr., came over power struggles about track acquisitions and race dates. Born Ollen Bruton Smith in 1927, the North Carolinian worked as a track promoter before making his mark designing and building Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval now known for annually hosting NASCARs longest race at 600 miles in length. I sure loved him. Bruton Smith, one of the city's richest men, has been ordered to pay his ex-wife $21 million in the next 10 years, a divorce settlement that includes more cash than what Ivana Trump got from. I am so thankful to be a dad, and to have an amazing dad," said the post, which was accompanied by photos of Smith surrounded by his family. Everyone knows what hes done for motorsports, NHRA & NASCAR. He was succeeded as SMI CEO by his son, Marcus Smith. In doing do, Bruton helped grow NASCAR's popularity as the preeminent spectator sport.. Left-handed batters, hurt by the increasingly popular practice of bunching defenders on one side of the field, are exacting their revenge by signing sweet post-shift contracts. It was important for me to come and pay my respects to him., Gibbs, NASCAR Hall of Famer and executive Jim France and Rick Hendrick, a businessman whos a NASCAR team owner and founder of Hendrick Automotive Group, all delivered words of remembrance during the hourlong service. . The native of Oakboro . NASCAR Chairman Jim France said in a statement released by NASCAR. Few knew this better than Bruton Smith," NASCAR chairman Jim France said. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame a year earlier. "That's what I've tried to do my entire life. Smith began his career in motorsports as a short-track race promoter in Cabarrus County. I'm really sad to hear about the passing of Bruton Smith. "I've met American Presidents and scholars. He oversaw the creation of speedways in new markets such as Dallas-Fort Worth, and races at upgraded facilities spanning from Sonoma, California, and Las Vegas eastward to Loudon, New Hampshire, and Dover, Delaware, would often comprise a large bulk of NASCARs yearly schedule. He helped grow not just NASCAR, but all kinds of racing. David Bruton Smith is CEO of Sonic. After losing his young child, Smith became passionate about wanting to help children in need. FILE - Hall of Fame inductee Bruton Smith entertains the crowd as his son, Marcus Smith, left, looks on during NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. Smith joked he was "unlucky enough" to be appointed by a committee of frustrated racers and car owners to begin promoting races. Oh, wed argue about things, Wheeler said. ", "Everyone knows what he's done for motorsports, NHRA and NASCAR," drag racing great John Force said. Smith was no stranger to controversies off the track. He has been the president of Speedway Motorsports . Driver arrested after video shows him nearly hitting students at their school bus stop. At the same time, Smith also assumed duties as general manager and president of Charlotte Motor Speedway. SMI's holdings include 11 racing facilities that currently host 15 NASCAR Cup Series events in 2022, including four of the series 10 playoff races. Why fans love it, AlphaTauri team principal denies F1 team for sale, Concussion lingers for former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch, IndyCar spotlights stars, racing and sustainability in 2023, AUTO RACING: F1, IndyCar seasons begin; Busch dominant, Marco Andretti returns to SRX to defend championship, Formula One, Tottenham team up for kart track at stadium, NASCARs Bruton Smith had a one-of-a-kind life, knocking down doors the whole way, NASCAR world reacts to Bruton Smiths death. Copyright 2023 Endgame360 Inc. All Rights Reserved. Smith was the billionaire founder and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., a group of race tracks that includes Charlotte Motor Speedway. In addition to Marcus Smith, Bruton Smith is survived by sons Scott and David, daughter Anna Lisa, and their mother, Bonnie Smith, along with seven grandchildren. Smith said he had received permission from Charlotte government officials to cut them down, something they denied. CNN Bruton Smith, a longtime fixture in NASCAR and a Hall of Fame inductee for building and promoting auto racing events nationwide, died Wednesday at age 95 of natural causes, according to. Bruton Smith, who was born and raised in the nearby rural . Funeral arrangements were pending. He could bluff with the best of them, Max Muhleman, a former sports marketing executive in Charlotte who covered racing for the Charlotte News in the 1950s, told the Observer in 2007. In January 2016, Smith was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The two largest operators of racetracks in the country rarely saw eye-to-eye, but Smith, with his gold-framed shaded sunglasses and wild sport coats, never backed down. He had his hands in all of it, and even though hes gone, his fingerprints remain. You cant fight your mom and God, so I stopped driving.. He often sparred with NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and his successor, Bill France Jr., and battled the NASCAR leadership for decades trying to bring elite Cup Series races to his properties. LEGENDARY PEDIGREE: Marcus Smith, son of SMI founder, crafts fan experience at Charlotte. At Smiths side for most of the way was Wheeler, who was often left to figure out how to pay for his bosss seemingly outlandish ideas. Where are F1 2023 absentees Vettel, Ricciardo and Schumacher? LikeSportscastingon Facebook. I had never done that, but I promoted a race in Midland, North Carolina, and I made a little bit of money, so I thought Id try it again.. Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings. 2023 Forbes Media LLC. The track was the first major speedway to host night races. Resides in Charlotte, NC Metropolitan Area. Stock car maven O. Bruton Smith attended his first auto race at age 8, promoted events on a dirt track in Midland, North Carolina as a teen, and opened the Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960 at age 33. I learned to drive, but that career didn't last long, Smith said about his early start, claiming his mother prayed for him to find another passion. His legacy will live on. According to that organization's website, Smith wanted to help children in need and was moved to start the group as a legacy for Bruton Cameron Smith, asonwho died young. Also in 2004, he became the executive vice president of national sales and marketing for SMI. Smith is survived by sons Scott, Marcus and David, daughter, Anna Lisa, their mother, Bonnie Smith and seven grandchildren. By JENNA FRYER Associated Press. But Smith returned to the sport in 1959, joining driver Curtis Turner to build Charlotte Motor Speedway after he and Turner had announced separate plans to build tracks in the Charlotte area. NASCAR races this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway, a track that was purchased by Speedway Motorsports late last year. Prior, he spent two years reporting on the Browns for Cleveland.com/the Plain Dealer. Published Smith founded Sonic Automotive in early 1997 and took it public 11 months later; in 2000, it was recognized as a Fortune 500 company and has hundreds of dealerships in over 20 states. News anchor Fred Shropshire is leaving Charlotte station WCNC. I want to contribute more and more," Smith said in 2015. "Bruton built his race tracks employing a simple philosophy; give face fans memories they will cherish for a lifetime.