LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Ollen Bruton Smith (known as Bruton Smith) was one of the true pioneers of NASCAR and the owner of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway passed away Wednesday of natural causes at 95 years old.
Bruton Smith was the founder and executive chairman of Speedway Motorsports and Speedway Children Charities.
Smith built his empire around NASCAR acquiring 11 tracks, and hosting 15 NASCAR cup races including the two races each year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The Neon Garage at the LVMS was one of Smith’s ideas to improve the track and the fan experience.
“Bruton conceptualized the neon garage he had this idea that fans could look in on on the fans or on the race teams working on the race cars. Similar to the way a surgeon’s class watches an operation and learns from it,” Las Vegas Motor Speedway General Manager Chris Powell told 8 News Now. “That was his dream and we were able to pull that one off here in Las Vegas. And he conceptualized that and he had so many ideas. He was such a visionary that he knew that we needed to have facilities that were on a par with the NFL with Major League Baseball and on down the line.”
Bruton Smith was elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2016. Smith had been fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma for years.