Can you imagine NASCAR Mogul Bruton Smith buying the Carolina Panthers ???
“Sure, we (Speedway Motorsports Inc.) would be interested if it ever became a possibility….”
OK, that’s hardly reason to knee-jerk over-react based on whatever one might think about the oft-controversial Bruton Smith replacing the “everybody loves” Jerry Richardson any time soon – if ever.
…. But it doesn’t take much to set off regional board monkeys into a rabid feeding frenzy. And we DO so love to do that….
NOTE: Keeping with our intense dislike of McClatchy Corp, we have copied this entire article so they don’t get any “clicks” from you. TAKE THAT you nasty Journo-weasels…. except for Dan Kane who, of course, we do like.
NOTE2: I had the pleasure of working with Marcus Smith on a number of Speedway Motorsports events thru the ’90s. A totally different “breed o’ cat” from his dad Bruton.
My BEST Bruton Smith story…. it was the 2nd / 3rd year of Texas Motor Speedway – ’98-’99. The pre-race festivities are going on involving various sports celebrities racing glorified go-karts in the infield. I’m standing at the Start/Finish Line, about 10′ from Bruton and Jerry Jones (yes, THAT Jerry Jones!)…. this attractive couple walks up and the guy says….
“Good afternoon Mr. Smith. I’m Bart Connor – The Gymnast – and this is my wife Nadia Comaneci.”
Bruton looks quizzical…. he looks at Jerry who shrugs… he looks at me. I shrug too. Bart and Nadia aren’t sure what to do. Obviously neither Bruton nor Jerry have a clue who they are. The two Olympic Gymnastics Champions Bart and Nadia stroll away confused and humbled. Bruton and Jerry exchange “WTF” looks.
…. I immediately call “Kid” and the incident becomes part of our family “lore”. Whenever Kid or I are in awkward social situations we look at each other and one of us says “I’m Bart Connor – The Gymnast – and this is my wife Nadia Comaneci”.
Then there was the time Bruton and I and Wayne Newton were …. but lets save that one for another day.
Speedway Motorsports Interested In Buying Panthers….
By Jonathan Jones
Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO and Charlotte Motor Speedway general manager Marcus Smith, during a Wednesday interview with the Observer, affirmed what his father said last month: The Smiths would be interested in eventually purchasing the Carolina Panthers.
Bruton Smith, a billionaire track owner and recent NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, told Motorsport.com last month that his sons want him to buy the NFL franchise when it becomes available.
The younger Smith said there’s definitely interest.
“It’s just one of those things where it’s not even on the market,” Marcus Smith said Wednesday. “Would we be interested? Yeah. It would be an incredible opportunity and such a neat opportunity and property for anybody to be able to shepherd into the future. …. We’re in the sports entertainment world now and we love what we do, and (I) think it’d be fun to do more of it.”
Panthers owner/founder Jerry Richardson, 79, revealed the succession plan in 2013. The Panthers are to be sold less than two years after the death of Richardson, who had heart replacement surgery in 2009 and shoulder surgery this spring.
Richardson and his partners paid $206 million to bring the franchise to the Carolinas in the early 1990s. Forbes now values the team at more than $1.5 billion.
“Would I buy them? I’ve got some boys that want me to, and so we may – on a weak moment – we might would do that,” Bruton Smith, 89, told Motorsport.com.
He has made similar overtures before. In 2013, after the succession plan was revealed, Smith said on WBT-AM radio that he’d be interested in buying the Panthers “if the price is right.”
Smith’s other son, B. Scott Smith, is the CEO of Sonic Automotive, a group of car dealerships that brought in net income from continuing operations of $88 million in 2015.
Marcus Smith said he went to Santa Clara, Calif., in February for Super Bowl 50 and goes to as many home games as he can. He called the Panthers a “great franchise and a great hometown team.”
“I think that we … I love the sports entertainment world,” Marcus Smith said. “We love wowing fans and love to entertain people from all over the world. …. If we have an opportunity to expand what we do, it’s certainly something that I would always be interested in.”