Statement from SMI Executive Chairman O. Bruton Smith
After battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma earlier this summer, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) Executive Chairman Bruton Smith is attending this week's NASCAR events at Bristol Motor Speedway. The following are comments Bruton and his son, SMI CEO and President Marcus Smith, made earlier Friday about his health and return to the speedway for Saturday's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol.¬†
O. Bruton Smith, Executive Chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
"The doctors said I probably needed a bit of a rest and I got that. And I probably needed it. You see, I could depend on Marcus. SMI - they can easily do with my absence. He knows what he's doing. He's doing a great job and I'm proud of him.
I hate to miss any of our races. I really do. It's kind of heartbreaking, really. I like to be there to see what's going on.
I enjoy what I do. I like the automobile business. I'm into that. I love the racing business. I want to contribute more and more and more. You hear us preach about fan friendly and we're into that and we want to do more on it. I think that is a driver for me to just do more things. I just like what I do. We've done an awful lot of things, as you know. I enjoy the contributions I've been able to make to the sport."
Marcus Smith, CEO and President of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
"We talked about this for the last few days actually, about having a conversation because health and personal matters are personal. The family, we're private about personal matters. A lot of people have asked me, where's Bruton? How's he feeling? I'm really excited about this weekend because Bristol was a goal. For us. For my dad. The time was such that it was a good goal to try to hit to be healthy and strong. Back around the All-Star Race in May, my dad had not been feeling 100% and a little bit prior.
Coming back, people might think that because he lost weight that something was wrong. I thought it was better to tell the good part of the story.
We knew something was wrong and he just wasn't feeling right. We went to the doctor and did a lot of tests and they made a diagnosis of lymphoma, and it's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. According to the doctors, it's the kind you want to have. It's the most treatable. We were encouraged by that.
The really good news is, through the process, treatment and ups and downs and having Bristol as a goal to be healthy by, we're back here and the last word from the doctor was things have been really good. He's progressed beyond expectations they all had and we're very thankful about that of course and they have given a really good prognosis on his health. In short, he's responded really well to treatment and even beyond the expectations from the doctors.
We've had a lot of family time and friends, and a lot of support. I'm happy that he's back in Bristol to be able to enjoy it."