Speedway Motorsports Institutes Employee Layoffs

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, April 17 2020

Texas Motor Speedway is one of the tracks effected by Speedway Motorsports layoffs.

Speedway Motorsports, LLC has implemented a cost-reduction program that has laid off 180 employees and furloughed another 100 company-wide in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Announced on Tuesday and Wednesday, the cuts have affected approximately 15 percent of Speedway Motorsports’ overall staff. The Charlotte Observer reported some impacted staff may be re-hired as event day personnel once racing resumes.

The layoffs reportedly include approximately 30 to 35 of the 100 employees at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. However, a TMS Media Relations spokesman did not have details on which departments were affected by the staff cuts.

Based in Charlotte, N.C., O. Bruton Smith’s company also owns and operates Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Sonoma Raceway _ all tracks with races on the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

Speedway Motorsports also operates U.S. Legend Cars International and the Performance Racing Network as subsidiary companies.

Marcus Smith is President/CEO of the empire founded by his father, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame who serves as executive chairman.

“The extraordinary circumstances presented by this pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of the economy have had a significant impact on our business,” the company announced in a statement. “Since the beginning of the shutdown four weeks ago, we have kept our entire team on full pay while our properties remained dormant. In that time, it has become clear that we must be a more nimble, more efficient organization.

“As such, we have made the difficult decision to restructure our business and eliminate many duplicate positions. Unfortunately, part of this restructuring includes eliminating approximately 180 positions across all departments at our speedways and subsidiaries.

“Approximately 100 additional employees have been furloughed. These decisions were not easy. Our company is providing a severance package to each person affected by job eliminations.

“Speedway Motorsports remains committed to providing the very best entertainment experience to all who come through our gates when America’s fight against this pandemic is behind us. This reorganization positions us to move forward at that time and well into the future. In the meantime, our staff will continue to maintain our facilities in preparation for the event days ahead and support our community with outreach efforts during this time of need.”

Beginning in mid-March, NASCAR postponed seven scheduled Cup races including weekends at AMS, TMS and Bristol. Those races have yet to be rescheduled. TMS currently is listed by INDYCAR as its revised NTT IndyCar Series season-opener on its originally scheduled June 6 date.

The TMS spokesman said track President Eddie Gossage would not comment on the employee reduction program beyond the corporate statement.

But Gossage sounded an economic alarm for North Texas after TMS’ first scheduled NASCAR weekend (March 26-29) was postponed. TMS management previously reported that a typical NASCAR Race Week in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex generates approximately $90-million in tourist-related spending _ a figure equal to hosting the NFL’s Super Bowl. A percentage of that March loss certainly was absorbed at TMS by parent company Speedway Motorsports.

“Well, you know, I really can’t get into the (financial) particulars, to be honest with you. So I couldn’t say,” Gossage said during an interview with RacinToday.com. “I mean, just like any business person right now, it’s tough. It’s tough whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop or the biggest corporation in America. We want this over sooner than later for humanitarian reasons and also for business reasons.”


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, April 17 2020
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