BRISTOL, TENNESSEE — Earlier today, Bruton Smith, founder and CEO of the parent company of Bristol Motor Speedway, welcomed the Volunteer State’s two United States senators to his quarter-mile high speed, high-banked race track, the site of the spectacular documentary, Remote Area Medical, directed by Jeff Reichert and his wife, Farihah Zaman.
Tennessee’s senior senator, former GOP presidential candidate Lamar Alexander, and its junior senator, Bob Corker, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, both Republicans, were accompanied by a solitary reporter who had just seen Remote Area Medical. At the invitation of Smith and the solitary reporter, the two Republicans viewed the film in Mr. Smith’s private suite at the Speedway.
Remote Area Medical is a volunteer organization which provides free dental, optometric, and limited urgent medical care to thousands of residents of northeastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia. According to RAM, the organization has provided $33,079,038 worth of free health care to 357,368 patients with the help of 36,675 volunteers since its inception in 1985. The United States accounts for approximately two-thirds of this total. In their compelling film, Reichert and Zaman interview dozens of people, mostly poor whites living in Appalachian Eastern Tennessee, who arrive in the very early morning hours of a three-day weekend in April, 2012, park their cars in the huge parking lot of the Speedway, and, often clothed in blankets to avert the cold, await a number, hoping to be treated. Many of them have not seen a physician, optometrist, or dentist in many years. This documentary is a sure bet to be nominated for an Academy Award.
The Bristol Motor Speedway, owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI), hosts two NASCAR events every year. RAM held its entire three-day clinic on the grounds of the Speedway.
Both Sen. Alexander and Sen. Corker voted against the Affordable Care Act, but after viewing the film, under semi-polite questioning by the solitary reporter, admitted that they were not aware that most of the residents of impoverished Sullivan County, Tennessee, and surrounding areas, have very limited access to medical care. “I just voted the way McConnell told me to vote,” Alexander said. “Senator McConnell repeatedly told us that the American people do not want Obamacare, and I’m a loyal soldier to the Republican Party."
In 2011, Corker voted in favor of the Republican alternative budget proposed by Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a proposal that would eliminate the health care provided through the Medicare program and instead give seniors subsidies for part of the cost of obtaining private medical insurance. Corker referred to such programs as Medicare and Social Security as "generational theft".
Smith and SMI have other racetracks, including the one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. In 2006, Smith had a reputed net worth of $1.4 billion.
The solitary reporter, who owns property in idyllic Tamworth, New Hampshire, also queried Smith as to whether he plans to acquire Club Motorsports, Inc., which is building a two and one-half mile mile race course on Mount Ossipee, in Tamworth.
Smith, the oldest CEO in the Fortune 500, told the solitary reporter that he does plan to purchase Club Motorsports, saying “We are devoted to making as much ear-splitting noise as possible on our race courses, so that people who live in peaceful areas such as Tamworth will appreciate the importance of fracking as much petroleum as possible to keep our race cars running.”