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Speedway Motorsports Cuts Staff 20% At Charlotte, 6 Other Tracks

Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord
Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord

Updated Friday April 17, 2020

Speedway Motorsports Inc. has laid off or furloughed more than 20% of its 1,200 employees at its seven race tracks nationwide, including Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

The Concord-based track operator says it has been paying all its employees since states began restricting large gatherings and nonessential businesses because of the coronavirus pandemic. But with NASCAR races, concerts and other events all canceled or on hold, the company now has laid off 180 people and furloughed another 100 at its tracks and headquarters. 

“The extraordinary circumstances presented by this pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of the economy have had a significant impact on our business," the company said in a statement. "It has become clear that we must be a more nimble, more efficient organization. As such, we have made the difficult decision to restructure our business and eliminate many duplicate positions." 

Those laid off are getting severance pay, and the company says it hopes they can be hired back when events resume.

Most of the company's revenue comes from large events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and six other tracks: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway in California and Texas Motor Speedway.

The layoffs come as other racing-related businesses also are feeling financial pain as the sport comes to a standstill during the pandemic. In late March, NASCAR cut pay 20% across the company until racing returns, the Associated Press reported. NASCAR also eliminated an undisclosed number of jobs April 3 that it said were related to a merger last year.  Some race teams also have cut pay and closed their Charlotte-area shops to visitors.

The NASCAR season is on hold, and it's not clear when it, and other sports, might resume. Charlotte Motor Speedway officials are hoping racing returns in time for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. A statewide stay-at-home order is scheduled to end April 29, but state officials say they are looking at whether it needs to be extended.  

Meanwhile, other events already have been canceled, including two major drag racing championships at the company's zMax Dragway in Concord, and the three-day Epicenter rock festival at the nearby speedway campground. 

Statement from NASCAR 

On Friday, NASCAR announced that the May 8-9 races at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia were postponed.  Here's the statement:

“NASCAR is postponing the scheduled events on May 8-9 at Martinsville Speedway. Our intention remains to run all 36 races, with a potential return to racing without fans in attendance in May at a date and location to be determined. The health and safety of our competitors, employees, fans, and the communities in which we run continues to be our top priority. We will continue to consult with health experts and local, state and federal officials as we assess future scheduling options.”

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David Boraks is a WFAE weekend host and a producer for "Charlotte Talks." He's a veteran Charlotte-area journalist who has worked part-time at WFAE since 2007 and for other outlets including and The Charlotte Observer.
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