Speedway Motorsports Inc. founder Bruton Smith has been getting cancer treatment in recent weeks.
It wasn’t enough to keep him away from his beloved Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend.
Smith 88, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2016, showed up this weekend at the short track in Bristol, Tenn., to attend his first race since May. NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series held its Irwin Tools Night Race on Saturday.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. announced Friday that the company’s executive chairman was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“The doctors said I probably needed a bit of rest and I got that,” Smith told reporters. “And I probably needed it. I could depend on Marcus (Smith’s son, the CEO and president of SMI). SMI can easily do with my absence. I hate to miss any of our races. It’s kind of heartbreaking, really. I like to be there to see what’s going on.”
Marcus Smith says he was just happy the prognosis looks good for his father, who went to the doctor after not feeling well this spring.
“We knew something was wrong and he just wasn’t feeling right,” Marcus Smith said. “We went to the doctor and did a lot of tests and they made a diagnosis of lymphoma. According to doctors, it’s the kind you want to have. It’s the most treatable. We were encouraged by that.
“The last word from the doctor was things have been really good. He’s progressed beyond expectations they all had and we’re very thankful about that. In short, he’s responded really well to treatment even beyond expectations by doctors.”
Smith founded SMI in 1994, and today the corporation owns nine speedways, including some of the most popular tracks on the NASCAR circuit in Charlotte, Texas, Las Vegas and Bristol.