NASCAR & Auto Racing

Speedway owner wanted unanimous reversal

To billionaire Bruton Smith, Concord City Councilman Randy Grimes is suddenly public enemy No. 1.

Grimes was the lone no vote Tuesday night when the City Council reversed its opposition to Smith building a controversial $60 million drag strip across from Lowe's Motor Speedway.

The council had blocked the development last week, citing neighbors' concern over noise. Smith then threatened to spend $350 million to move the speedway.

During a radio show interview after the most recent vote, Smith pointed out there was one vote against the reversal.

"So we still have, I guess, an enemy of the speedway in the camp. That does concern me," Smith said. "It would be great if we had total cooperation over there because we try to do the right thing."

Grimes could not be reached for comment.

Council members Jim Ramseur, Hector Henry, Lamar Barrier, Al Brown and Ella Mae Small voted for the reversal. Councilman Dave Phillips, who handles speedway accounts through his job with Duke Energy business relations, recused himself from the vote.

The Concord City Council went into an 85-minute executive session, starting at 4:50 p.m. Tuesday. When they ended the closed-door session at 6:15 p.m., no one was left in the audience, according to the city. The council called the vote and took action with no public debate.