posted on 5/1/24

The footprint of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum on the Marion County Fairgrounds is about to change in a big way.

Construction is expected to begin in late May on a second suite tower, the Dennis Albaugh Suite Tower, which will be a twin to the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower that was built seven years ago.

The new six-story building will house 12 new suites and will sit to the east of the Hall of Fame between turn two of Knoxville Raceway and highway 14, which runs just outside of turns one and two at the legendary half-mile dirt track.

The new suite tower is named for Dennis Albaugh, who made a significant donation, which will allow construction to begin. Albaugh is a huge supporter of sprint car racing and the Hall of Fame, including his sponsorships of the Jason Johnson Racing sprint car wheeled by Carson Macedo and the Troy Renfro 2ks driven by Chase Randall.

Hall of Fame Executive Director Bob Baker said, several other options, including a USDA loan are on the table to fund the remainder of the project, which is expected to cost $6.2 million.

“Dennis Albaugh is making a major donation to get us started and we have two or three other funding sources that we are working on,” he said.

The location of the tower is interesting to many.

“Some people have wondered how that building is going to fit in the space, but it is exactly the same size as the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower foot by foot by width and depth, and so are the suites. They are the same size,” Baker explained. “This new suite tower will not have an observation deck on top. One observation deck is plenty for our turn-two area over here.

“This will be boxed in on the first and second floor and that is a little different. It will be enclosed whereas the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower is open air underneath,” Baker added. “We will be able to utilize the first floor for museum store inventory storage and the second floor will have viewing windows like the second floor in the museum, so people can go in and watch the races from the second floor.”

The two suite towers will book-end the Hall of Fame, which was built in 1991.

“It is supposed to match the museum and the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower, so when you are sitting in the main grandstand and you look over at the Hall of Fame, the Dennis Albaugh Suite Tower and the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower will book end the museum,” Baker explained. “The museum will be in the middle and the two suite towers will be on each end. It will look like it was planned that way from day one.”

Baker said work has been going on behind the scenes for months to secure permits and make the necessary arrangements to accommodate the new tower, which will be constructed by Newman Brothers Construction, which also built the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower.

“It will be a very nice addition for the Hall of Fame and for Knoxville,” Baker said. “Newman Brothers has been great to work with and so has the city of Knoxville and the Marion County Fair Ass’n. They were the first people we talked with to make sure we had their blessing and they were very positive and very encouraging. They have been extremely helpful.”

Preparations are currently under way to prepare the site for construction, and a groundbreaking ceremony is expected to be held Friday, May 31 during the annual National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Induction weekend.

“We are moving dirt around now, but we are not building anything,” Baker said. “We are just relocating utilities. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before we can begin construction. Construction is scheduled begin at the end of May.”

The Dennis Albaugh Suite Tower is expected to be complete in time for the opening of the 2025 sprint car racing season at Knoxville Raceway.

“Our scheduled completion date is opening night of the 2025 season at Knoxville Raceway,” Baker said. “We were able to do that with the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower and open it before the season started, so suite holders can get in and bring in furniture and other amenities. We like to have it available to suite holders before opening night, so they can decorate and bring in appliances. This way, we can also lease the suite out for the entire season starting on opening night”

One may wonder what led to the need for a second suite tower. Baker explained.

“Since the Hall of Fame started in 1991, the museum suites have been one of the largest sources of revenue to help us keep the museum open year around,” Baker said. “We are open seven days a week and we are only closed on four days. Not only were the suites full and have been full for a long time, but we have had a long waiting list of people who wanted suites and we didn’t have them.

“That’s part of the reason we built the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower and when we built that we were still not able to fill all of the demand that we had at that time, so there are people on the waiting list who have been on it since we built the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower seven years ago.”

Baker is grateful for the support the Hall of Fame gets from the racing community.

“Thanks to all the people who support our museum like our suite holders, people who contribute to all of the events, the sprint car sweepstakes, the Corvette sweepstakes, the six annual auctions, and the golf tournament during the Knoxville National,” Baker said. “We are always doing fundraisers of some type and the support that people give us at these events is what is allowing us to move forward and make this museum and everything around it the best that it can be.”

Construction of the Dennis Albaugh Suite Tower is the latest proof of that notion.

For more information on the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, contact Baker at or call the Hall of Fame at 641-842-6176.



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