(Image/Speedway Motorsports LLC)

Today, the racing world mourns the passing of Bruton Smith, the legendary race promoter and innovator that played an integral role in the growth of NASCAR during its early years and beyond.

Inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007, and a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2016 class, Smith’s halo expanded well beyond racing and into the business side of the automotive world.

Smith founded Speedway Motorsports in 1994 and today it owns and operates 11 tracks, including Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway.

He was also heavily involved in philanthropic work, most notably through his Speedway Children’s Charities founded in 1982, that focuses on serving communities around the Speedway Motorsports network of race tracks.

Bruton Smith passed away Wednesday of natural causes. He was 95 years old.

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