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Elliott, the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have been vocal proponents for bringing NASCAR back to the historic Fairgrounds for several years. On Dec. 2, Mayor John Cooper announced a deal had been reached in principle with Bristol Motor Speedway to bring a NASCAR Cup Series race back to the Fairgrounds.
Elliott was critical of NASCAR's return to Nashville Superspeedway in 2021 because he felt it would hurt the chances for bringing the Cup Series back to the Fairgrounds.
Even after his win Sunday at Nashville Superspeedway, when Elliott overtook Kyle Busch late and held on for his second Cup Series win of the season, he hasn't changed his tune.
"It still doesn't mean I prefer this over the Fairgrounds and what that could be," Elliott said. "I don't want people to get a sour taste about that. It's just that racetrack and the history of that racetrack and its location is something we're never going to replicate again."
Nashville Superspeedway is located in Lebanon about 35 miles from downtown. Elliott prefers NASCAR tracks be located closer to Metropolitan cities where they are more likely, he said, to attract larger crowds and receive greater exposure.
Attendance for Sunday's race was 32,000, down from the sellout crowd of 38,000 for the inaugural race in 2021.
"For the most part all these facilities that we have are 45 minutes to an hour outside whatever said market is we're trying to reach," Elliott said, "if it's Michigan or here or Atlanta, which is 30-45 minutes south of the city. Homestead's an hour outside of Miami. At the Fairgrounds you'd be drawing from an area that's 15 blocks from downtown. Correct me if I'm wrong on that but it's a helluva a lot closer than it is here."
Elliott is convinced the Fairgrounds, which was built in 1958 and hosted NASCAR Cup races until 1984, is the last chance for the sport to get close to a large city.
"In today's society you're never going to build a racetrack in a city like that again," he said. "That's why as an industry, I think we need to take advantage of that. We don't need to let that place die."
Some feared the opening of Geodis Soccer Stadium, the home of Nashville SC which seats 30,000, in May hurt the chances for NASCAR's return to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Elliott believes it actually enhanced those chances.
"They built that big soccer stadium next door. Use that as positivity because the infrastructure is now there to house all the people," Elliott said. "Now they have ideas and ways to get people in and out. It's just too good of a place and too good of an opportunity for us to not be utilizing that."
Traffic issues fixed at Nashville Superspeedway
Traffic congestion was a major issue at the inaugural Ally 400.
Nashville Superspeedway's operations team made several changes, including not collecting parking fees onsite, adding parking spaces, and worked with local, county and state public safety and traffic officials to point out the best routes for fans to take while also encouraging them to take advantage of ride-share opportunities.
The effort paid off.
Unlike 2021, when the race was delayed about 30 minutes because of late-arriving fans, Sunday's race started on time. Also, Nashville Superspeedway president and general manager Erik Moses said the track did not receive any complaints about traffic or parking.
Overton QB Ryder Hagan commits to TSU
Overton quarterback Ryder Hagan committed to play for Tennessee State.
The Tennessean listed Hagan as one of the top area high school quarterbacks to watch in 2022.
Hagan, 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, threw for 2,947 yards with 28 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his first year as a starter in 2021.
He also was recruited by Austin Peay, UT-Martin, Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee Tech.
Also, Tennessee Tech received a commitment from quarterback Jordyn Potts, who led Powell to the Class 5A state championship.
Potts completed 24 of 30 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns in the 42-34 state championship win over Page. He was also being recruited by TSU, Murray State and Eastern Kentucky.
MTSU's Alysha Clark scores 2,000th career point in the WNBA
Former Mt. Juliet and Middle Tennessee State basketball star Alysha Clark became the seventh-fastest player to reach the 2,000 career points plateau in the WNBA.
Clark, in her 10th season in the league and first with the Washington Mystics, reached the milestone when she scored 11 points in an 85-71 loss to her former team Seattle.
Clark scored 1,756 career points at MTSU and was inducted into the Blue Raiders Hall of Fame in 2020.
Local assistants make most impactful coaches list
Several coaches with local ties made the annual 50 Impactful D1 and Mid Major Men’s and Women’s Basketball Assistants list by Silver Waves Media.
Some included Tennessee men’s assistant Justin Gainey; East Tennessee State’s Brooks Savage and Jason Shay, who both were on the staff at Tennessee; UT Arlington assistant Riley Davis, who was the video coordinator at Tennessee; along with women’s assistants Ariel Massengale from Lipscomb and Christine Clark from Belmont.
Former longtime UT Lady Vols assistant Dean Lockwood, now the associate head coach at Michigan State, is on the list along with Jasmine Lister, a Connecticut assistant who played at Vanderbilt.
OVC commissioner Beth DeBauche named to NCAA Board of Governors
Ohio Valley Conference commissioner Beth DeBauche is one of nine voting members on the new NCAA Board of Governors.
The board was outlined by the new NCAA constitution adopted in January by member schools and conferences. It is the highest governance body for the NCAA.
The board responsibilities include oversight of the finances of the NCAA, employment and evaluation of the NCAA president, and media rights and revenue-producing contracts.
“The NCAA and intercollegiate athletics as a whole are in a period of significant transformation, and I appreciate the responsibility associated with helping the association chart its future course,” said DeBauche, who is in her 14th year as the OVC commissioner.
The other board of governors members are Grant Hill (co-owner Atlanta Hawks), Nadja West (Army surgeon general), Jere Morehead (Georgia president), Linda Livingstone (Baylor president), John J. DeGioia (Georgetown president), Mary-Beth Cooper (Springfield president) and Steven Shirley (Minot State president).
A student-athlete will be added to the board.
Cheatham County hall of fame class announced
The Cheatham County Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2022 class.
It includes Chris Barron (Sycamore), Josh Garza (Sycamore), Whitley Perry Davis (Sycamore), Audra Williams Fowler (Harpeth), Stephen Williams (Harpeth), Don Beshears (Cheatham County Central), James Blanford (Cheatham County Central), Ron Ballard (Cheatham County Central), Adam Boyd (Cheatham County Central), Jay Goehring (Cheatham County Central), Bill Stinnett (Cheatham County), Christopher Pipkin (Cheatham County Central), Luke Wyatt (Cheatham County Central), the 1997 Harpeth football team and 1982-83 Cheatham County Central boys basketball team.
The Gold Medal Family award went to Leala Sanders Allen and Jimmy Allen (Cheatham County Central).
The induction ceremony will be on Nov. 5.
Brantley Gilbert and Carly Pearce to headline Grand Ole Opry performance at Music City Grand Prix
Multi-platinum star Brantley Gilbert and Grand Ole Opry member Carly Pearce will headline the special Grand Ole Prix show Aug. 7 at the Nissan Stadium campus as part of the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.
Other Big Machine Label Group artists Midland and Callista Clark will join Gilbert and Pearce during the 90-minute show beginning at 5:45 p.m. after the second annual IndyCar race finish.
Gilbert was the ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year in 2012 and Top New Male Artist in 2013. Pearce is the reigning ACM/CMA Female Artist/Vocalist of the Year. She became a Grand Ole Opry member in 2021.
Along with the IndyCar Series, the three-day festival will include Indy Lights, GT America, Trans Am, Stadium Super Trucks and Vintage Indy races.
Single day tickets ($39 general admission and $49 reserved grandstand) for all three days of the Grand Prix went on Wednesday. All single-day tickets include free admission to concerts on that coinciding day.
Ex-Brewers pitcher Jerry Bell will sign autographs at Mt. Juliet card show
Former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jerry Bell, who played at DuPont, will sign autographs at a sports cards and memorabilia show on Aug. 20 at the Mt. Juliet Community Center on Charlie Daniels Parkway.
The show will be from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Bell will sign autographs from 10 a.m.-noon.
Bell baseball cards and memorabilia will be available for purchase for autographing.
Admission is free.
FRA hall of fame class announced
Franklin Road Academy announced its 2022 athletic hall of fame class.
It includes: Sterling Ambrose (1983), Eric Brandon (2001), Tate Rogers (1986), Kristin Garmin Salato (2004), Emily Canady Smeykal (2008) and the 1984 state champion baseball team.
Chip Campbell (1987) was the Distinguished Alumni Award winner.
The induction will take place Sept. 23 during halftime of the football game against St. George's Independent School.
Ex-Brentwood Academy coach Matt Hoppe hired at Clarksville Academy
Former Brentwood Academy boys basketball coach Matt Hoppe is the new coach and athletics director at Clarksville Academy.
He replaced Tyler Hickman, who was the Clarksville Academy basketball coach, and Jake Peterson, who was the AD.
Hoppe went 68-12 in three years at his alma mater Brentwood Academy and led the Eagles to the Division II-AA state tournament the last two seasons.
He resigned in March.
Armstrong holds off Personett in Players Championship
Lucas Armstrong from Church Hill held off two-time champion Loren Personett from Mt. Juliet to claim the 2022 Tennessee PGA Players Championship at Stones River Golf Course in Murfreesboro.
Armstrong birdied holes 13, 14 and 15 to finish at 5-under par in the final round and post a 6-under-par 136 total. Personett birdied 14 then parred the last four holes to finish with a 5-under 137.
Personett, the pro at McCabe Golf Course, won in 2017 and 2012.
Oliver Peacock from Franklin finished tied for fourth with two others at 1-under and 2021 champ Johan Kok from Nashville tied for eighth with Matt Mitchell from White Bluff and one other at even par.
Former state commissioner joins Music City Baseball
Danielle Barnes, executive director of the Nashville accounting firm Ernst & Young, has joined the Music City Baseball board of directors.
Music City Baseball is trying to bring a Major League baseball franchise to Nashville.
Barnes previously served as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services commissioner. Music City Baseball will depend on her expertise with state-run programs.
Jalen Anglin headed to TSU
Former West Carrol basketball standout Jalen Anglin committed to TSU.
Anglin is a 6-4 point guard who also had offers from Tennessee Tech, Columbia State and Walter State junior colleges.
Anglin, who said it was important for him to sign with an HBCU, averaged 24.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists while leading West Carroll to a 22-5 record and the Class 1A state tournament.
He scored 30 points in a 60-56 loss to Hampton in the state tournament quarterfinals.
TSU offensive line great George Balthazar dies at 81
Former TSU football standout George Balthazar died June 15. He was 81.
Balthazar was a Houston, Texas, native who played offensive tackle at TSU (1957-60). He became the first Tiger to play in the All-American Bowl his senior year.
Balthazar was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he spent one season. He played the following season with the Minnesota Vikings.
He then returned to his alma mater Phillis Wheatley High School, where he coached football and swimming for 24 years.
Wilson County FCA Golf Tournament coming in July
The Wilson County Fellowship of Christian Athletes 2022 Golf Tournament is July 14 at Pine Creek Course.
Registration and breakfast is at 7 a.m. The tournament tees off at 8 a.m.
Lunch will be served and there will be closest-to-the-pin and hole-in-one contests.
The cost is $150 per golfer and $500 per team. Register by emailing Kallie Mathews at email@example.com.
If you have an item for Midstate Chatter contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Chase Elliott still pushing for NASCAR's return to Nashville Fairgrounds