NASCAR Hall of Famer Bruton Smith, a man synonymous with NASCAR, died at the age of 95. This is news that has saddened many NASCAR fans, especially the elderly. Smith has been in this sport for almost 70 years! He marked many NASCAR events and was one of the richest people in the world.
Messages of condolence come from all over the world, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame shared a post:
“First and foremost, on behalf of the NASCAR Hall of Fame team, I want to offer our most sincere condolences to Bruton’s sons Scott, Marcus, David and daughter Anna Lisa, the entire Smith family and everyone at Speedway Motorsports on the passing of Bruton Smith.
"From promoting his first race prior to turning 18 to becoming one of the most successful businessmen in all of motorsports O. Bruton Smith did as much as any single person in creating the standard for the modern racetrack.
In 1959, he led the effort to design and build Charlotte Motor Speedway working alongside fellow Hall of Famer Curtis Turner. The track became the flagship of Smith’s company, Speedway Motorsports, which through his vision of taking SMI public in 1995 has grown to operate tracks across the country.
"Smith has always sought to focus on the fans and competitors and how he could make things better from their perspectives. His tracks were the first to add lights to a superspeedway and add innovative amenities such as officer towers, condominiums and high-end restaurants -- all ushering in a new era of tracks.
"A multi-faceted businessman, Smith founded Sonic Automotive, Inc., a group of several hundred auto dealerships across the United States. His philanthropic foundation, Speedway Children’s Charities, has contributed millions of dollars across the SMI footprint for children’s related causes.
"NASCAR has lost one of its true pioneers, visionaries and innovators. Bruton’s 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."
NASCAR expressed its condolences in its statement. "Race fans are, and always will be, the lifeblood of NASCAR. Few knew this truth better than Bruton Smith Bruton built his race tracks employing a simple philosophy: give race fans memories they will cherish for a lifetime.
In doing so, Bruton helped grow NASCAR’s popularity as the preeminent spectator sport. His vision and legacy inspired many, and his fan-first mentality remains today through his son Marcus. 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. - Jim France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO