Influential N.C. sports execs: Marcus Smith
chief executive officer, Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Headwinds face NASCAR racing, including declining attendance caused by retirements of star drivers, changing rules and economic strife of the middle-class workers most associated with the sport. But the speedway operator, led by founder Bruton Smith’s son, sees lots of value, offering to buy the company for $806.6 million, or $19.75 per share. That’s 42% higher than the share price before bidding commenced, but below the record level of $43.63 in 1999. The Smith family owns a 71% stake and believes it can better handle NASCAR’s challenges as a private company. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Marcus Smith joined the business in 1996 after attending UNC Chapel Hill and was named CEO in 2015.