Tennessee Downs: A new track for the Nashville area

By J.A. Ackley
May 2, 2022 | Tennessee Downs

Photograph and images Courtesy Tennessee Downs

GC Performance Classics proprietor Jeremy Carpenter, along with a couple of his clients, saw a need for a sports car-oriented facility for the Nashville, Tennessee, market. Thus, Carpenter’s spearheading the effort to construct the Tennessee Downs in nearby Shelbyville, Tennessee.

We service Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs, Shelbys from the ’60s,” says Carpenter of his GC Performance Classics business. “A lot of those guys also have Porsches, Ferraris, McLarens, Lamborghinis and cars of that nature. It’s tough to drive those cars on the streets of Nashville for what they were built for.”

Carpenter possesses a background in commercial development and construction. He’ll put that to use as his group develops the 195 acres available.

We’ll be a club-based facility, similar to NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green or Atlanta Motorsports Park,” Carpenter says. “We’ll have open track days and do a lot of events. There will be a commercial complex, with GC Performance Classics and related businesses–from paint and body, engine and machining, upholstery work and exotic car services.”

Click either image to view it larger in a new window.

While building a track–or any property, for that matter–near the heart of the superheated Nashville market is next to impossible, Carpenter feels his location will serve its intended clientele well. He says most of his demographic comes from the south side of Nashville, which is less than an hour away. Murfreesboro is about a half-hour away, directly north on U.S. Highway 231. The Shelby Municipal Airport is right down the road, less than 2 miles away.

In addition, the Nashville area has seen a resurgence of interest in motorsports. Nashville Superspeedway reopened in 2021. The Music City Grand Prix that ran through the streets of the city debuted last year as well. The Fairgrounds Speedway oval track continues to look to make improvements to bring a NASCAR race there. Tennessee Downs is also an hour and 45 minutes from Chattanooga, which puts on the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival in October. Plus, Nashville has a vibrant car enthusiast scene, which is exemplified by places like the Lane Motor Museum.

[Chattanooga: a great place for a city, a perfect place for an automotive festival]

There’s a lot of synergy for motorsports in Nashville,” Carpenter explains. “There are some opportunities for those Nashville venues to have some events at Tennessee Downs that prelude to those other races.”

Carpenter says the track has “complete zoning approval” for its intent as a racing facility. Bedford County and Shelbyville governments fully support the project, according to Carpenter.

He adds that they are still seeking “a few founding memberships,” which are $400,000. For those with serious interest, Carpenter says you can email him at jcarpenter@tennesseedowns.com.

Right now, the Tennessee Downs is in its design phase. At the center of it will be a road course that measures somewhere between 2 and 2.5 miles.

We hope to break ground in the third or fourth quarter of this year,” Carpenter says. “I’d hope we’d open next summer.”

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View comments on the GRM forums
Durty Reader
5/3/22 8:36 a.m.

I'm excited for a new facility within 3 hours of me. I hope they do well, its nice to see AMP finally opening up for more club races and I look forward to when this track can do the same.


On their sign may I suggest a comma between horsepower and cars? Are we suggesting "horsepower cars" is a specific group of cars?


I'll also accept "high horsepower cars, whiskey and guitars"

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/3/22 12:16 p.m.

In reply to Durty :

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/3/22 1:15 p.m.

"Downs" seems like an awkward naming choice for something not related to horse racing.  A little research tells me that "downs" is British and derived from "dune", generally referring to a hilly area.

But, then I wonder about zoning board approvals and perceptions.  Tennessee Speedway might be perceived as loud and more "hooligan."  Horse racing is seen as more serene and gentlemanly.   Maybe the implied horse racing was intentional.  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/3/22 1:49 p.m.

Downs does sound more about fancy dress. I like it. :) 

rustomatic Reader
5/3/22 5:18 p.m.

This is good news!

racerfink UltraDork
5/3/22 6:11 p.m.

I can just see it now...  mint juleps and fancy hats during a Lemons race...

Error404 HalfDork
5/3/22 6:17 p.m.

'Downs" just sounds snooty. Find your whitest of New Balances and your denimest of jorts, call your emergency detailer, and go flog* your Corvette for a day. Or maybe I'm just projecting, ehh a new track is a good thing and it was probably part of making sure that someone on the approvals board feeling better about not having young hoonigans hooning around.


*flog meaning park with caution so as to minimize dirt or grass stain accumulation on the tires

petemc53555 Reader
5/4/22 2:53 p.m.

Shelbyville is the epicenter for TN Walking horse lovers.  
Maybe trying to fly under the radar?

MotorsportsGordon Dork
5/5/22 1:45 p.m.

Pretty much all the tracks in tennesse are ovals dirt and pavement plus on one drag strip that I know off the top of my head an 1/8 mile. The name is probably to help distinguish it from those aswell.

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