Smith, aged 95, passed away due to natural causes.
He was a transformative figure in American motorsports, and was inducted to both the NASCAR Hall of Fame (2016) and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (2007).
After graduating high school, his $700 purchase of a race car set the course for the rest of his life. Initially hoping to become a racer himself, he quickly moved to the business side of things.
The young entrepreneur bought-and-sold cars from his mother’s front yard and promoted his first race while still a teenager.
Partnering with Curtis Turner in 1959, he built his first permanent motorsports facility — Charlotte Motor Speedway, which would come to host NASCAR’s longest race at 600 miles.
Speedway Motorsports Inc., which he founded in 1994, currently owns and operates eleven race tracks: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Texas Motor Speedway, Dover Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, North Wilkesboro Speedway, and Kentucky Speedway.
SMI-owned tracks make up over a third of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
He was a philanthropist as well and founded Speedway Children’s Charities in 1982, in memory of his son, Bruton Cameron Smith, who passed away at a very young age. They have provided over $60 million dollars to local organizations nationwide with the goal of improving the quality of life for children in need.
He leaves behind his sons Marcus and David, his daughter Anna Lisa, their mother Bonnie Smith, as well as seven grandchildren.