Bruton Smith, one of the most innovative and influential figures in NASCAR Cup Series racing history, received the sport’s prestigious Buddy Shuman Award during yesterday’s NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon in Las Vegas. Established in 1957, the award has been sponsored for 61 consecutive years by Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ Champion brand of spark plugs, filters, wipers, batteries and related automotive products. Federal-Mogul Motorparts is a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings LLC.
The Shuman Award was created in memory of Louis Grier “Buddy” Shuman, a beloved professional racer who competed in NASCAR Grand National (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) events in the early 1950s and served as the sanctioning body’s first technical inspector. As the 61st recipient of the award, which recognizes individuals and organizations that have shaped professional stock car racing, Smith joins such leading figures as NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Richard Petty, Robert Yates, Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush.
Smith purchased his first racecar in 1944, at age 17. At the behest of his concerned mother, he focused his attention on off-track activities, promoting his first stock car event as an 18-year-old. In 1959, Smith built Charlotte Motor Speedway, which eventually became the first racing facility to feature condominiums overlooking the track and the first superspeedway to install lights for night racing. Over the years, Smith and his company, Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI), became known for innovations that enhance racing experience for fans, sponsors, drivers and media professionals. SMI today owns and operates eight tracks that together host 12 of the 36 annual Monster Energy Series NASCAR Cup Series points races as well as the Monster Energy All-Star Race.
“NASCAR Cup Series racing has become a global powerhouse thanks in large part to Bruton Smith’s vision and relentless focus on the fan experience,” said Tim Nelson, director of motorsports, Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “Like many of our past winners, he is an intense competitor at heart who has spent his career overcoming challenges and bringing new ideas to the table.”