A rendering of the proposed renovated Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway

Although veteran Lebanon racer Scott Fetcho has some concerns about a takeover of Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway by Speedway Motorsports, LLC he concedes it could be the track’s only hope for survival.

“The track is allowed only 13 dates a year by the Fair Board,” says Fetcho, “so if SMI brings in NASCAR races and other big events, it will have to cut back our already-slim local schedule.”

Despite that, however, Fetcho agrees with several fellow Wilson County racers that the 65-year-old track might not survive without SMI’s vast resources.

“It may be our last hope,” admits Fetcho, a retired driver who now fields cars for his son Dylan, the 2020 track champion.

Fetcho would prefer to see current track operator Track Enterprises of Illinois continue to run the track, but doubts that’s feasible.

“I think (Track Enterprises president) Bob Sargent has done a great job,” Fetcho says. “But he can’t make the kind of investment the track needs to survive without a long-term lease.”

Charlotte-based SMI owns several premier racetracks around the country – its latest acquisition being Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville – and thought it had reached an agreement to take over Fairgrounds Speedway.

On Dec. 8 SMI president/CEO Marcus Smith and Nashville mayor John Cooper announced SMI would be granted a 30-year lease to run the Metro-owned facility. SMI agreed to invest millions in rent and renovations, with plans to bring big-league NASCAR racing back to the historical track.

However, the deal has yet to be finalized, and with each day’s delay, concern grows that it will happen.

Fetcho expressed skepticism when the deal was first announced, noting that it “faced a lot of hurdles,” starting with approval of the Metro Council and the governing Fair Board.

Fetcho is aware of the Fair Board’s long history of contention with the track, which some blame for losing Nashville’s NASCAR Cup races in 1984.

“I had my doubts at time, and I still do,” Fetcho says.

SMI officials decline to comment on the situation until the transaction is finalized.

Dylan Fetcho, meanwhile, is busily making plans to race this season. He hopes to make a run for another Fairgrounds championship, having won it in 2020 and finished second in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

He will also compete in the Feb. 29 Speed Fest in Cordele, Ga., and in races in Alabama and Florida. In addition to preparing a new car for this season, he will maintain one for Jackson, Tenn., racer Bryson Shaffer. Shaffer, 17, won last season’s Rookie of the Year.

“We’re ready to race,” Fetcho says. “We’re just waiting to find out where.”

Radio races: Nashville radio station 102.5 "The Game" has announced it will carry 25 NASCAR Cup races this season, including Nashville Superspeedway’s June 26 Ally 400.