Woody: Little Bobby Buys Little Bristol
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
Perhaps its fitting that a racer known as “Little Bobby” should operate a race track known as “Little Bristol.”
That’s what has happened in Carthage, Tenn., located 60 miles east of Nashville, where it was announced this week that Bobby Hamilton Jr. has bought Riverview Speedway.
The quarter-mile paved track is called “Little Bristol” because of its bowl-like construction, cramped racing and high speeds. The track has 3,000 seats. It has sat idle since 2008.
“This is a great little track with a lot of potential,” said Hamilton, who plans to hit the asphalt running – he will squeeze in some races this season, starting with an Oct. 10 opener. “It’s in a great location and we hope to draw drivers and fans from Middle Tennessee. It’ll be closer for most of them than the old Fairgrounds was.”
Fifty-three-year-old Fairgrounds Speedway, where Hamilton’s late father was a track champion, is scheduled to close later this fall.
Hamilton also owns and operates Highland Rim Speedway, another paved quarter-mile track located in Ridgetop, 30 miles north of Nashville.
Part of his business plan centers around drawing displaced Fairgrounds drivers and fans looking for a replacement race track.
“I’d been considering this for sometime and the timing is perfect right now,” said Hamilton. “I hate to see racing end at the Fairgrounds, but at the same time I see it as an opportunity to try some new things.”
Hamilton is making some major Riverview renovations, including an improved pit road.
“This is a neat little track that a lot of fans compare to Bristol,” he said. “It’s in a scenic location alongside the river, it’s easy to get to from the interstate, and most important of all it has a reputation for exciting racing.”
Hamilton, who is assisted in his racing ventures by wife Stephanie, said there is a possibility that the facility could be put to some other uses in addition to racing.
“Right now we’re looking at everything and we’re open to ideas,” he said. “I have some good friends in the country-music industry and I may get some suggestions from them.”
Hamilton said he intends to work closely with the community and welcomes any input.
Hamilton has not entirely given up on his own racing career. He has run a few NASCAR truck races this season and is keeping his driving options open.
In addition to his two race tracks, Hamilton also owns a restaurant in Springfield and oversees Hamilton Racing. He said his goal is to expand into a truck-racing team and follow in the footsteps of his late father. Bobby Sr., won a NASCAR championship racing out of his Mt. Juliet, Tenn., headquarters.
“Right now I’ve got a lot on my plate,” Bobby Jr. said. “I’m busy, but I don’t mind because I’m doing something I enjoy.”
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