Bruton Smith, founder and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., was honored Monday evening with the 2012 Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award from the North Carolina Motorsports Association. The honor was given to Smith before a large crowd of motorsports industry professionals at the 6th Annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards presented by Senn Dunn Insurance at the Embassy Suites and Convention Center in Concord. Smith joins previous Tribute Award recipients Bill France Jr., Benny Parsons, Richard Petty, Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Junior Johnson.
After accepting the award, Smith was joined on stage by the Executive Director of Speedway Children’s Charities, M/Gen. Thomas M. Sadler, USAF (ret.); New Hampshire Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Jerry Gappens; and Doug Rice, President and General Manager of the Performance Racing Network (PRN). The group entertained the audience with new and old stories about Smith’s legendary life in motorsports and business.
“We still have lots to do,” said Smith, who is 84-years young. “My best time in racing is today and tomorrow.
Smith regaled the audience with tales of his adventures flying with driver and friend Curtis Turner, and he spoke about his desire to improve the race-going experience for his customers.
“I always enjoy talking to the race fans,” Smith said. “You learn a lot about this business by listening to fans and hearing their thoughts.”
David Poole, longtime Charlotte Observer motorsports writer, was honored (posthumously) with the Media Recognition Award. The award was accepted by Poole’s widow Katy [Poole] and Mike Persinger, Executive Sports Editor for the Charlotte Observer.
In addition, seven industry companies (listed below) were awarded for their 2011 accomplishments and positive impacts to the Motorsports Industry. The night began with a cocktail reception and was capped off with a desert reception both provided by Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP.
2012 North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards:
• Bruton Smith, Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award
• David Poole, Media Recognition Award
• G-Force Racing Gear
• Industrial Hard Carbon
• JRi Shocks
• Lake Norman Elementary School Pit Crew
• NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
• Racing Electronics
• Richmond County Tourism Authority