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Newport Speedway Property Sold With Plans to Return to Racing in 2024

A massive clean-up project is underway at the Tennessee facility, looking to host its first racing event since 2017.


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The sale of East Tennessee’s 3/10-mile Newport Speedway concluded today (April 1, 2024). Chuck Ward, an East Tennessee native and proprietor of multiple East Tennessee business ventures including Chuck Ward Real Estate as well Knoxville entertainment venue Cotton Eyed Joe, purchased the property located on Industrial Road in Newport, TN.

In addition to purchasing the property associated with Newport Speedway, Ward acquired the adjacent land where Newport Raceway Auto Parts and Towing has conducted business for over 30 years. The Ramsey family, long-time owner-operators of that business will close their family operation and clear the final contents of the salvage yard while Ward begins an extensive restoration of racetrack.

Work started immediately following the completion of the transaction. An expansive array of improvement projects will be needed to rehabilitate the facility and bring it back to life in a manner satisfactory to the new owner. The November 2017 Boo Bash was the last racing event staged on the asphalt oval. The speedway has remained dormant since.

“We have a lot of work to do, but I am going to make a significant investment into this racetrack. I have a standard that I will meet before I will begin racing,” said Ward. “That work will begin right away and I think everyone will be excited about the improvements. When we finish with the renovations I want this facility to be a show place.”

The Ramsey family, including former facility promoter and driver Ed Surrett, initiated a massive clean-up project several weeks ago after Ward and the Ramsey family agreed in principle to the terms of the sale. Hundreds of tons of scrap automobiles and metal have been removed from the Speedway property in a matter of weeks.

“Ed has worked tirelessly to get this facility ready for me to take over,” added Ward. “We are at a point where once I get the keys to the facility, I am going to be able to begin work right away.”

Ward plans to open the facility for a limited auto racing schedule in 2024. “I would like to race four to six times this year to establish the new race business and give our local racers and fans an opportunity to experience the track. When people talk about Newport, they talk about how much fun the track looks with its steep banking.” At an estimated 26 degrees, the corner banking reminds drivers and fans of a downsized version of Bristol Motor Speedway.

Auto racing will not be the only attraction at the Speedway. The city of Newport experienced national recognition in July 1996 when the travelling music festival Lollapalooza was staged at the Forks of the River Entertainment Showpark. With his background in the music and entertainment industry, Ward plans on utilizing the Speedway infield for concerts.

“We are going to move around the buildings and storage containers and relocate the amenities in the infield. We need to improve the space for concerts. The tech area, restrooms, and infield concessions will be moved to create additional space. The plan for 2024 is to stage one concert,” added Ward.

Ward owned a race team that campaigned at 411 Motor Speedway as well as Newport Speedway beginning in the mid-1990’s. He also campaigned in the now defunct Southern All Star (asphalt) travelling race series with driver Chris Corum.

An event schedule, race competitor classes, pricing, sponsorship, and employment information will be provided as soon as those details are finalized.

-Newport Speedway Release

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