Longtime Superspeedway Employee Kept Up Solitary Tasks During Racing Lull
After the final checkered flag flew over Nashville Superspeedway in the spring of 2011, and the decision to pause track events was established, the Wilson County, Tennessee, facility became a very quiet place.
There were no more roars from high-powered engines, no more cheers from the grandstands, no more fireworks after another thrilling race.
However, if a visitor drove by at the right time of day, they may have seen a solitary pickup truck on the property or a lone figure working on a building or grounds.
It was a true labor of love, especially for a facility that no one was visiting.
Fast forward to the summer of 2020 and the announcement of the return of NASCAR to Nashville Superspeedway, including the track’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race, the “Ally 400” on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 20.
Weeks later, Dover International Speedway president and CEO Mike Tatoian meets with media at the property.
“There just isn’t a significant amount of work that has to be done,” Tatoian said. “That really is a credit to the original architects, the construction company and our guys; when they put it together it literally is something that has stood the test of time. We’re really comfortable with where we are at this point and we feel like a year will be ample time to be ready to put on the big show.”
Much of the credit for that goes to Don Huebner, the only man with a key to the facility between 2012-19, who spent almost a decade maintaining Nashville Superspeedway’s buildings and grounds with no guarantee of the return of big-time racing to Middle Tennessee.
“After staying here for nine years with seeing how much potential this track has I was overwhelmed with the future of what we all can be capable of,” said Huebner, Nashville Superspeedway’s longest-tenured employee.
“My dreams for us is to be a true destination and a place everyone can be proud of.”
Huebner, a Wisconsin native, has been a Nashville Superspeedway employee since February 2001. He has been on-site for all of the track’s major events, including 21 NASCAR Xfinity Series races and 13 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events.
“I have had the privilege over the years to help in all aspects of the Superspeedway,” Huebner said. “My main job is to oversee and maintain the grounds, buildings and all equipment, as well as the setup, operations and tear down of all events.”
A longtime motorsports fan, Huebner’s favorite Nashville on-track memory was one of Carl Edwards’ elaborate race-winning celebrations, which included a backflip from his car and visit to the grandstands to mingle with the fans.
“[Edwards] wanted me to open the cross-over gate so he could run up through the stands,” Huebner said.
“I always had a love for motorsports and grew up going to tractor pulls and ran in a lot of demolition derbies.”
Today, with the June 18-20 weekend bringing America’s best drivers back to Middle Tennessee for events including the “Ally 400” on Father’s Day, the “Tennessee Lottery 250” NASCAR Xfinity Series race and the “Rackley Roofing 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Huebner can see his personal finish line in all the hard work that included years of mowing, spraying and repair work around an empty, 1,000-acre facility.
“I believe you have to love this business to be able to put in all the long days and hard work that goes into an event like this,” Huebner said.
“For me to be able to smell the race fuel and hear those engines fire up [is so exciting] and, most of all, you are part of making memories for people.”