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Ally to sponsor inaugural Cup race at Nashville Superspeedway

From familiar faces and redemption runs to Michael Jordan's brand new racing team, NASCAR on NBC takes a look at the top storylines going into the 2021 season.

The revived Nashville Superspeedway announced Tuesday that Ally Financial will serve as title sponsor for its inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race.

The Ally 400 on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 20, caps off a NASCAR tripleheader weekend at NSS that includes the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (June 18) and Xfinity Series (June 19).

Tickets for those races went on sale Tuesday to the general public. The Xfinity and Cup races also serve as the start of NBC Sports’ NASCAR coverage this season.

Track president Erik Moses said that improvements have steadily progressed at the 1.33-mile facility in Lebanon, Tennessee ahead of its return to racing.

“As I look out my window here at the track, I see trucks going back and forth around here daily,” Moses said in a Tuesday video teleconference. “We have already done a repaving of our apron and our infield road course here. We are in the process of upgrading and renovating our infield care center, as well as our media center, and we’re starting to work on renovations of our luxury suite complex.

“There are many other things, including a big WiFi and fiber installation, that will be ongoing. But most of those projects are already underway and will continue as we march toward Father’s Day weekend.”

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still ongoing and vaccinations in the first stages of rollout, potential attendance for the event is a salient topic.

Moses said he’s held “informal conversations with people in the live events business” about protocol ideas like designated seating sections and access areas for vaccinated fans, but no decisions have been made in that regard.

He also said that plans are in place to add portable seating that could accommodate an additional 15,000 fans. If the track is given permission, those temporary seats would bring total capacity to near 40,000 overall.

For Ally, a multi-year title sponsorship for a Cup race builds upon its partnership since 2019 with Hendrick Motorsports as primary sponsor for its No. 48 Chevrolet, now driven by Alex Bowman.

“It was always our design to have the footprint expand,” Andrea Brimmer, Ally’s chief marketing and public relations officer, said in the teleconference. “An entitlement of a race was always on the road map. We just wanted to be very deliberate about it.

“It needed to be the right race in the right place with the right partners, and (Nashville) was the combination of all of those. It was the trifecta of what we were looking for.”

As part of its sponsorship, Ally is donating $25,000 to Nashville’s Box 55 Association, which provides support to local first responders; and $25,000 to the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, a civil rights and urban advocacy organization providing direct services that impact thousands of people in underserved communities across the state.

NSS is entering the first year in a four-year sanctioning agreement with NASCAR to host races. During its first run, the track hosted the Xfinity and Truck Series from 2001-2011, as well as the NTT IndyCar Series from 2001-2008.

Along with NASCAR, IndyCar will also return to Middle Tennessee this August with a downtown street race - the Music City Grand Prix - on Sunday, Aug. 8. That event will air on NBCSN.

Additionally, talks remain ongoing between the city of Nashville and Bristol Motor Speedway about potentially bringing televised NASCAR events to historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway as early as 2022.