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Concord to fight speedway lawsuit, move ahead with plan B for road improvements

The City of Concord says it will "vigorously defend itself" against a lawsuit from the owner of Lowe's Motor Speedway over $80 million in tax incentives. But the city is also moving forward with road improvements that were originally part of that deal. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: Race track owner Bruton Smith is angry that Concord and Cabarrus County want forty years to pay him back for $80 million in road improvements he'd like to make around Lowe's Motor Speedway. Smith has been at an impasse with Concord and Cabarrus County for a year now, and is suing for some resolution. Meanwhile, Concord City Manager Brian Hiatt says the city can't wait any longer to make some of the road improvements included in the Speedway Motorsports incentive deal. "Well, there were two projects that were discussed, but we're moving forward because the projects are needed for safety and congestion reasons," says Hiatt. He says the city has a plan to front money for expanding Morehead Road near the speedway and extending George Liles Parkway. The North Carolina Department of Transportation will ultimately reimburse Concord for much of that expense. The original plan was to have Speedway Motorsports put up the money. For his part, Bruton Smith says Speedway Motorsports has already made about $4 million in improvements to roads near the Zmax Dragstrip and is demanding immediate reimbursement from the city and county in his lawsuit.