Let’s wave the red flag on NASCAR track funding


May 16, 2019 2:16PM

Beacon has long opposed using taxpayers’ hard-earned money to fund sports venues. It’s not the role of government to pay for the playthings of millionaires and billionaires. But cities like Nashville sure can’t help themselves.

For decades, stadium subsidies were reserved for the crème de la crème of sports—football, basketball, and baseball. But in recent years, D-league sports like soccer have gotten in on the action. Last year, I joked in an article that, “Nashville taxpayers subsidize soccer. What’s next, curling?” I failed to realize at the time how close to the truth that actually was.

This week, Speedway Motorsports asked Nashville city officials for a handout to plop a racetrack next to the new Major League Soccer stadium that is already in the works and is itself subsidized by taxpayers. The “public-private partnership” would purportedly need revenue bonds backed by taxpayers to fund half the project’s cost.

NASCAR certainly has a following, but it also has plenty of detractors and even more people who don’t give a damn about watching cars race around in circles. Those who don’t care about racing, who like it but can’t afford tickets to attend in person, or who prefer to avoid tinnitus should not be forced to subsidize the fun of Natty Light drinking rednecks with beer guts and American flag bikinis. (After outraging a few dozen curling fans with the aforementioned article—who knew those people existed?—I couldn’t resist the opportunity to offend some NASCAR fans here, too.)

If we taxpayers fund a racetrack, where does the stadium subsidy madness end? Mayor Briley has already put the kibosh on an even more outrageous request by Speedway Motorsports for public money to build their track. Let’s hope he likewise rejects their still-preposterous proposal to generously fork over half the funding to seal the deal.