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TENNESSEE GOVERNOR PHIL BREDESEN
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen was in East Tennessee today to dedicate the new Bruton Smith Building at Bristol Motor Speedway. (UPI Photo/David Allio)
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Ollen Bruton Smith (born 1927 in Oakboro, North Carolina) is a promoter and owner/CEO of NASCAR track owner Speedway Motorsports, Inc. The billionaire was ranked #207 on the Forbes 400 list with an estimated worth of $1.5 billion in 2005, and fell to #278 (worth an estimated $1.4 billion) in 2006. He is divorced with four children. He was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Bruton Smith watched his first race as an eight year old. He bought his first race car at 17. He began promoting stock car event as an 18 year old at Midland, North Carolina. He claims that he beat NASCAR legends Buck Baker and Joe Weatherly. He quit racing because his mother wanted him to quit.

Smith built Charlotte Motor Speedway (now Lowe's Motor Speedway) in 1959 for $1.5 million, with financing from his wealthy brother-in-law. Well-known racer Curtis Turner helped with promoting the track. Smith went bankrupt two years later. The track was turned over by Judge J.B. Craven to local furniture store owner Richard Howard, who ran the track and worked it out of its debts (the mortgage was burned publicly in 1967) while Smith moved to Illinois, eventually buying out other shares of stock in the track to regain control in the early 1970s.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bruton Smith."
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