Bruton Smith battling Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Published: Aug. 22, 2015 at 1:37 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2015 at 1:42 PM EDT
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CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - NASCAR Hall of Fame member, Speedway  Motorsports Chairman, and longtime Charlotte-area car dealer Bruton Smith is battling Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Smith and son Marcus, President of SMI and Charlotte Motor Speedway, provided an update on Smith's condition Friday night from the Bristol Motor Speedway where the NASCAR circuit is racing this weekend.

"The doctors said I probably needed a bit of a rest and I got that. And I probably needed it. You see, I could depend on Marcus. SMI - they can easily do with my absence. He knows what he's doing. He's doing a great job and I'm proud of him," Bruton Smith said in a press release.

"I hate to miss any of our races. I really do. It's kind of heartbreaking, really," the statement continued. "I like to be there to see what's going on."

"I enjoy what I do. I like the automobile business. I'm into that. I love the racing business. I want to contribute more and more and more. You hear us preach about fan friendly and we're into that and we want to do more on it. I think that is a driver for me to just do more things. I just like what I do. We've done an awful lot of things, as you know. I enjoy the contributions I've been able to make to the sport."

Marcus Smith also discussed his father's condition and hopes for recovery.

"We talked about this for the last few days actually, about having a conversation because health and personal matters are personal. The family, we're private about personal matters," Marcus Smith said in a press release. "A lot of people have asked me about, 'where's Bruton? How's he feeling?' I'm really excited about this weekend because Bristol was a goal. For us. For my dad. The time was such that it was a good goal to try to hit to be healthy and strong. Back around the All-Star Race in May, my dad had not been feeling 100% and a little bit prior."

"Coming back, people might think that because he lost weight that something was wrong. I thought it was better to tell the good part of the story," Smith added.

"We knew something was wrong and he just wasn't feeling right. We went to the doctor and did a lot of tests and they made a diagnosis of lymphoma, and it's Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. According to the doctors, it's the kind you want to have. It's the most treatable. We were encouraged by that."

Smith has lost 18 pounds during treatment, which he said did not require chemotherapy or radiation.

"The really good news is, through the process, treatment and ups and downs and having Bristol as a goal to be healthy by, we're back here and the last word from the doctor was things have been really good," Smith continued. "He's progressed beyond expectations they all had and we're very thankful about that of course and they have given a really good prognosis on his health. In short, he's responded really well to treatment and even beyond the expectations from the doctors."

"We've had a lot of family time and friends, and a lot of support," Marcus said. "I'm happy that he's back in Bristol to be able to enjoy it."

Smith in February stepped down as chief executive officer of SMI, and later increased the voting power of his three sons in the company. He had controlled 70.2 percent of the voting stock.

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