CHARLOTTE-After two years of researching the concept, entrepreneur Bruton Smith, feels this racing-crazy area is ready to support a privately-funded auto museum. The only problem is Smith doesn’t have the nuts and bolts of the project in place yet.

Still, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports and Sonic Automotive, presented his $150-million idea for AutoSAT to Center City Partners, a non-profit group that promotes uptown development. Smith will head a committee to determine how the venture would be financed. Some funding could come from ticket sales at shops and restaurants doing business in the planned 300,000-sf museum.

Smith also doesn’t have a proposed site yet for the venture. North Tyron Street in the city’s cultural district is one possibility. Despite the lack of immediate details, the entrepreneur feels the time is right for the project.

He cites auto makers that have invested heavily in the region over the past 10 years, the racing industry’s employment of 5,500 persons in the Charlotte area, and the annual attendance of more than 1.1 million fans at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, about 25 miles northeast of Charlotte.

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