NASCAR is heading to Nashville and Trackhouse is welcoming the teams and drivers to its hometown.
The race shop may be in Concord, North Carolina, but team owner Justin Marks made Nashville the home to Trackhouse Entertainment Group.
This weekend’s Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway is sold out. The focus will be on this entertainment capital where Trackhouse has set up its headquarters.
“It is extremely special when the entire NASCAR industry comes to Nashville, either for the race like this weekend, or for the year-end banquet,” Trackhouse President Ty Norris said. “We feel pride in our town and really enjoy hosting various people throughout the weekend.”
Marks has big dreams, not only for the future success of one of the top racing teams in the NASCAR Cup Series, but also creating an entertainment division that includes content creation and, in the future, brick-and-mortar establishments such as Trackhouse bars and restaurants.
“We run this business out of Nashville, Tennessee where there is massive opportunity for great experiences for people,” Marks explained. “It’s an event city. It’s a music and entertainment city.
“To be able to work every day in that environment gives us the opportunity to look at the bigger picture for experiences for consumers in America. We are very much deeply invested right now in the process of identifying what that path looks like.”
Trackhouse has already established its competitiveness on the race track.
Next up for Marks, team co-owner Pitbull and Trackhouse President Ty Norris to create a brand and personality that merges entertainment and racing under the same roof at a place called Trackhouse.
“The most important thing is establishing a really strong brand that has a personality that is trying to tell a story and being thoughtful and strategic about how to scale that,” Marks said. “I look at companies that have found their niche and they have found their voice and have really run with the ball and how to exploit that and grow that in as many different verticals as possible.
“I think the next three to five years are going to be really exciting in how we grow and scale the business. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity because there isn’t an experiential and content platform in America that exists with its core being motorsports and America’s history, love, and passion for the automobile.
“That opportunity is right there for the taking for Trackhouse. That will develop over the next couple of years.”
As Trackhouse President, Norris takes Marks’ dreams and helps turn them into reality through execution of those ideas. The two work closely in helping realize the tremendous potential that exists at Trackhouse.
That is what brought them to “Music City” – one of the most popular entertainment destinations in the world.
“Since the first whiteboard session in the summer of 2019, Justin said that this new company – which became named Trackhouse – needed to be headquartered in a culturally relevant city, where the company can be more than just a race team, but engrained in entertainment, media and other platforms that extend the brand,” Norris recalled. “That is why Nashville was at the center of that target and why Trackhouse Entertainment Group set up our headquarters there.
“Nashville has become our home and we have spent a ton of time building relationships in Music City, with incredibly talented, entrepreneurial, influential, and creative people. The city has embraced Trackhouse, as well, as one of their sports teams.”
By having two key parts of the business located in different states means Marks and Norris spent quite a bit of time commuting from one location to another.
But it’s important to have a strong presence in both North Carolina and Nashville.
“The actual race team shop and daily activities remain in North Carolina to stay within close proximity of the GM Technical Center in support of our Chevrolet Key Partner status,” Norris explained. “But the business of Trackhouse absolutely runs through Nashville.”
The connection between NASCAR and Nashville was strengthened when Nashville Superspeedway was revived and earned a date on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
Marks, Norris and Trackhouse wanted to find a way to strengthen the unique connection between entertainment and the racing team.
Enter Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, which will sponsor Daniel Suarez’s No. 99 Chevrolet this weekend. Ross Chastain’s No. 1 Chevrolet will be sponsored by Worldwide Express.
“When Nashville Superspeedway came back on the schedule in 2021, the same year we launched our team, we wanted a quintessential Nashville company involved with that race event,” Norris said. “We found an unbelievable partner in Steve Smith and Tootsie’s.
“Steve owns Tootsie’s, Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk, Rippy’s and Central Honky Tonk and is the Godfather of lower Broadway. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to Nashville every year and the No. 1 honky tonk they all want to visit is the purple Tootsie’s bar at the corner of 5th and Broadway.
“We believe that our racing program has solidified that position for Tootsie’s.”
Trackhouse has brought entertainment to the NASCAR Cup Series garage area this season with the addition of live music at the team’s transporter before the race.
This weekend will feature rising country music singer Taylor Lee, who will help Trackhouse celebrate its “home race.”
The California country songwriter was on season 6 of NBC's The Voice. Since then, he has been writing songs and playing shows all over California. More recently, he moved to Nashville to pursue his dreams to become a country artist. He performed an acoustic set before the race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 23.
Lee's performance is an enhancement to the Trackhouse hospitality display at the team’s haulers intended to engage and entertain partners, fans, and guests in the NASCAR Cup Series garage area.
"It's neat to have a musician behind our haulers for everyone to enjoy, especially at Nashville since it’s the country music capital," said Chastain. "I hope everyone takes time to come by and listen to Taylor."
The third-year NASCAR Cup Series team will also display its four digital LED video boards on the back of the team haulers. The digital boards debuted at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April and have the capability to include 4K videos of race highlights, sponsor and Trackhouse content along with rotating graphics of Suárez and Chastain for fans in the garage.
With so much attention as NASCAR’s hometown team at Nashville, Chastain and the team welcome the role of host.
“I don't think there is any added pressure,” Chastain said. “We do a lot of extra activities there but as far as competition, it’s a pretty normal weekend. It's a unique track but I prepare for it just like any other track."
Trackhouse has been a major storyline in every race this season. That is very important to remain in the spotlight in a city where the spotlight shines brightly on some of the best musical and entertainment acts in the world.
“It’s very important,” Marks said. “We have a lot of money invested in this and a lot of people working very hard. The whole idea was to build something that was part of the conversation; that’s a real valuable element of this sport, that fans pay attention to. We are helping to write our story and write a NASCAR story every week.
“It’s something that is very important to us.”