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NASCAR City USA: Cup Series set for 2021 return to Nashville

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Brandon Brown (68) drives during NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Bristol Motor Speedway Monday, June 1, 2020, in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

It’s music to NASCAR’s ears: the stock car series is set to return to Nashville, Tennessee in 2021.

Nashville Superspeedway will hold a Cup race for the first time next season, ending NASCAR’s decade-long absence from the track. The Nashville track is owned by Dover Motorsports, Inc., which has held Cup race weekends each year since 1969. Dover will give up one of its dates and move it to Nashville for an expected late June 2021 race weekend.

Nashville Superspeedway held Xfinity and Truck events from 2001 until 2011.

The idea to return NASCAR to Nashville took root after a successful blowout last December for its season-ending awards celebration. There were burnouts on Broadway, a party with country music star and NASCAR fan Blake Shelton and a NASCAR-themed night at the Grand Ole Opry. Buoyed by the excitement, Dover started discussions with NASCAR and its TV broadcast partners about running a race at the Superspeedway.

“Especially after the awards banquet, it was, how do we get to Nashville as soon as we possibly can?” Dover CEO Mike Tatoian told The Associated Press. “It made it a fairly easy discussion that it was through Dover Motorsports.”

The 1.33-mile concrete track was built in 2001 by Dover Motorsports and hosted NASCAR and IndyCar events until 2011. The track is situated on approximately 1,000 acres just outside Nashville, and currently has 25,000 permanent grandstand seats and lights for night racing.

There’s plenty of work ahead: Tatoian said giving the track a modern makeover would cost at least $8 million to $10 million and he’d like to fit capacity at the 25,000-50,000 mark.

He also expected to hire a full-time staff that will operate independently of Dover. NASCAR eyed a date of June 20, 2021.