How Big Is Bristol Speedway? [Expert Review!]

More than 120 years ago, Englishman William K. Vanderbilt II founded the City of Bristol, a suburb of Newport, in the American state of Rhode Island. Nowadays, Bristol hosts the Bristol Motor Speedway, one of the most famous race tracks in the world. The speedway is actually a multi-purpose stadium that frequently hosts sporting events as well as motorsport activities.

When one thinks of the City of Bristol, the first thing that comes to mind is the legendary Bristol Motor Speedway. The track is unquestionably one of the most recognizable sports venues in the world. When speaking or writing about the city, Bristol Speedway is usually associated with thoughts of speed and excitement. Therefore, a quick question arising from this article’s title is, how big is Bristol Speedway?

How Many Yards Is It?

The first thing to consider when answering the question is whether you’re referring to the length of the track itself or the grandstands which stand around it. The former measures 4.9 miles while the latter is a whopping 7.94 miles. For perspective, the length of the football field is 50 yards. Multiply that by nine and you’ll get a sense of how big the Bristol Motor Speedway is.

In case you’re wondering, the entire design of the track is based on the oval shape of a racing orbit. That’s right — it’s the shape that is often associated with speed and excitement. It measures 1.75 miles around and is banked from behind (i.e., the direction from which you’re approaching it) so that it becomes progressively wider toward the front. The grandstands are located between the track and backstretch so that everyone in the stands can enjoy the action. The stands include a section known as the “fan block,” which is a monumental structure made up of concrete and metal and known for its distinctive design.

How Many Feet Is It?

While it’s easy enough to estimate the size of a thing in yards, there’s another way of measuring it: by the number of feet. If you take the circumference (i.e., the measurement around the thing) and divide it by two, you’ll get the length (i.e., the measurement from front to back). Therefore, the circumference of the Bristol Motor Speedway is 13.28 miles. Dividing that by two yields 6.64 miles, which is the equivalent of 3.32 miles around the track. To put that into perspective, a quarter of a mile is about the length of a football field. Therefore, Bristol Speedway is about three quarters of a mile across.

If you want to avoid getting lost, you can use the reverse division to figure out how many feet the Bristol Motor Speedway is: multiply the number of miles by four and you’ll have the number of feet. In this way, the track is said to be four football fields’ worth of excitement!

How Many Gates Is It?

That’s the question: how many gates does the Bristol Motor Speedway have? The answer is: 18. To put that into perspective, the figure includes the front and back gates as well as the ones at the main entrances on the sides. There are a total of 43 entrances, including the ones at the top and bottom, the middle, and the ends. If you want to be particularly precise, you can measure the circumference of the entire structure and divide it by four to get the number of gates. That’s what the architects and engineers did, and that’s how they arrived at 12. This figure includes:

  • The four main gates
  • The 14 end gates
  • The 10 middle gates
  • 4 pedestrian gates
  • The eight VIP gates
  • Two speaker’s gates
  • The two ambulance gates

This brings us to the next question: is the Bristol Motor Speedway a closed or an open-air stadium? To be precise, it’s a covered stadium where the majority of the seating and the majority of the events take place. However, due to its iconic status, the track often hosts events outside of the traditional rules. For example, the IndyCar races are held annually in September and October, with the Brickyard 400 taking place in July and August. These are all “open air” events, meaning spectators are free to enter and leave the stadium at will.

How Many Seats Is It?

The last and probably the most interesting piece of information regarding the size of the Bristol Motor Speedway is how many seats it has. The short answer is: a million. To be precise, the Bristol Motor Speedway holds a million spectators and is therefore the fifth-largest stadium in the world. In case you’re curious, the largest stadium is the new Tianjin International Expo Center in China, which can hold up to 22,000 people. The next in line is the U-M Men’s Soccer Stadium, which holds 19,600 and is also located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Finally, the Empire State Stadium, home of the New York Giants, holds 18,400 and is also downtown.

Thoughts of a million spectators might make you think that the stadium is huge, there are actually many facts and figures relating to the size of the Bristol Motor Speedway that might surprise you. For example, when you compare the speedway to the average American home, it is actually rather small. In terms of area, the average home actually measures a little over 1,000 square feet. Take that into consideration, and you’ll begin to understand how much space a million people need. In case you want to learn more, here’s a link to the stadium’s website, which includes all the pertinent information:

Bristol Motor Speedway

A few years ago, the city of Bristol and the owners of the Bristol Motor Speedway built a brand-new stadium. The most recent addition to the speedway is the Andretti Sports and Entertainment Centre. The 25,000-seat, open-air arena is situated adjacent to the track and features the usual suspects: NFL team New England Patriots, MLS team New York Red Bulls, and AHL team Providence Bruins. The complex also houses the Bristol Motor Speedway museum and the headquarters of the International Speedway Corporation.

What About The Scoreboard?

If you’ve ever been to a professional sporting event, you might have noticed a large board hanging from the roof. The board is used to display the scores of the game as it progress. The Bristol Motor Speedway’s board is made up of 10,000 light bulbs and is one of the most recognizable scoreboards in the world. Though the lights are no longer required for viewing purposes, they continue to shine brightly every Saturday night during the NASCAR season.

When it comes to legacy, few venues can match the Bristol Motor Speedway. It is the quintessential symbol of American motorsport and the City of Bristol. Though the track’s glory days are long gone, the fact that it still stands tall after 120 years is a testimony to the impact it had on society and sports. Today, the track is as vibrant as ever, continuing to attract new and old fans alike to its many events and activities. It’s fair to say that there’s still no other sports venue like it in the world.

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