Bruton Smith Boulevard Becomes a Reality

Published: May. 20, 2008 at 9:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2008 at 9:15 PM EDT
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Posted by: Brad Hyatt

On Tuesday May 20, Speedway Boulevard in Concord officially became Bruton Smith Boulevard.   Concord city leaders deny it has anything to do with the controversy over a new drag strip.  But, they say, it does point to a much more cordial relationship with the billionaire owner of Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Concord Mayor Scott Padgett unveiled the new sign along exit 49 off Interstate 85.  The atmospher was a far cry from last fall, when Smith threatened to move Lowe's Motor Speedway elsewhere unless the city let him build his new drag strip.  Emotions were running high, but Concord leaders eventually put together a deal to keep the track.  "I don't remember any harsh words," says Smith, "I think the worst think I said at one time I felt like I was a victim."

Leaders say they decided to rename the road after Smith because he was the catalyst for everything.  And Smith says the hard feelings are now a thing of the past.  "It's was something that we went through," but now he believes it "... is totally reconciled and everybody loves everybody and that's the way it's supposed to be."