Shake and Bake NASCAR Blog

5 best HOF quotes from the always entertaining Bruton Smith

Even at 88 years of age, Bruton Smith is a quote machine. And he did not disappoint as he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Saturday.


Bruton Smith poses in his condo at Texas Motor Speedway, another one of the tracks his company built and operates to this day.

Jonathan Ferrey

It happens ever year at the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony: One speech goes a little too long or goes a little too far off the track, or both.

Saturday at the Charlotte Convention Center, it was the always colorful Bruton Smith, who had the longest and most rambling speech of anyone.

But he had the crowd in the palm of his hand for most of it, as he talked mostly about the trials and tribulations of building Charlotte Motor Speedway, which he opened in 1960.

Here are the five best quotes from the 88-year-old track operator's speech.

5. On the audience -- "I see an awful lot of friends here, and I want to thank all my friends that are here, and I want to thank all my employees. I understand we have 15,000 of them, and some of them are here this evening. Thank you for coming, Mr. and Mrs. Employee."

4. On debt -- "We had debt, and some of you may know about debt, but I learned about debt. When you owe people money, they want you to pay them, you know? And of course sometimes you have a couple of contractors, and they would get to the office in the morning before I would, and so when I got there, they'd say, could we get a check today?  I'd say, well, let me think about it, because if I wrote a check it wouldn't be any good, so I couldn't just write a check."

3. Coke vs. Pepsi -- "I'm looking everywhere trying to figure out what we can do for money (to finish CMS), and I remember meeting with Pepsi Cola.  I knew Pepsi Cola had money, so I was there, and I said, we need to do this and that and the other, and I thought, 'Well, I could sell them on the idea, I'm going to give them a 50-year deal, we'll sell Pepsi Cola at the speedway.' They did not go for it. And you know, till today, you know, we still haven't sold any Pepsi there?

"But we have sold an awful lot of Coca-Cola. I mean, we have sold millions and millions of cans of Coca-Cola.  As a matter of fact, if we had all the money we took in from selling Coca-Cola, we would have plenty of money and I could give y'all some money tonight because we took in lots of money there. We were selling Coca-Cola."

2. Construction calamities building CMS -- "At one time I had six (bulldozer) operators in the hospital, and they were not hurt per se, but they couldn't see. Their eyes were shut. They had been hitting hornet nests there, and when they struck those hornets, those hornets would attack, and of course they'd sting them and sting them until their eyes would close and with that I'd send them to the hospital."

1. On his former partner and fellow inductee Curtis Turner -- "Most of you people did not know Curtis Turner, but let me tell you, I knew Curtis Turner, OK? I'll tell you that Curtis Turner was the greatest race driver -- I think most of the drivers that I know would have bought a ticket to have seen him just drive a car. That's how good he was."