NASCAR's most popular drivers eager to bring sport back to Nashville

FOX 17 News Photos{ }

The idea of NASCAR coming back to Nashville is catching some steam in the racing community.

FOX 17 News spoke to many of the sport's most popular drivers about the return of races to the Fairgrounds and received nothing but positive reactions.

"Country music and NASCAR go hand in hand," 2018 Daytona 500 champ Austin Dillon said.

Dillon is also married to former Titans cheerleader Whitney Ward and said she'd "be happy" about the move.

Rising star Ryan Blaney said he raced at the Fairgrounds before and that it was a "great track."

Bristol Motor Speedway & Formosa Productions Inc. announced in December the possibility of bringing major NASCAR events back to Nashville after striking a deal to work with Metro Nashville and the Board of Fair Commissioners, which owns the short track in town.

Beloved middle Tennessean and legendary driver Darrell Waltrip, who had his first short track race at the Nashville Fairgrounds, has been outspoken about his wish to see NASCAR return to the area.

"Christmas came early," Waltrip said about the announcement last year. Waltrip maintains short tracks are the most entertaining races to watch in the sport.

The plan is to make significant track improvements and host major race events which could include NASCAR events.

“I have a ton of family in Nashville, went there a lot for vacation, so I love it,” driver Bubba Wallace said. “Awesome race track, so yeah, get on that Nashville, let’s do it.”

Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson said generations of drivers and fans have made great memories at the Fairgrounds.

“I love the idea, I really do,” Johnson said. “The Nashville Fairgrounds have been a place for drivers and fans alike to experience NASCAR and so many great drivers have come through that track. For me in the few short track years that I raced, that was ‘the Daytona’ of short track racing. So, I’m really excited to hear that conversation is taking place.”

Driver after driver said Nashville and NASCAR just go together, but only time will tell if racing makes it return to Music City.

Nashville Mayor David Briley previously said he'll be exploring how this will fit into other developments happening at the Fairgrounds:

The Fairgrounds has tremendous community support. I look forward to exploring how this news fits into the overall plan that Metro Council has approved for the MLS stadium, mixed-use development and refurbished Expo Center complex.