Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the great American treasures, a NASCAR oval that never gets old. Since it opened in April of 1940, thousands of drivers have taken the green flag in a variety of racing styles and competitions. Even those who don’t love motorsports will still find something about Bristol to admire. It’s an oval that perfectly blends nostalgia with modern day automobile competition.
The History Of The Speedway
The history of Bristol Motor Speedway begins in the early 1930s, when the New York Racing Association began holding races at the former Whitlee Heights Aerodrome in Morris Plains, New Jersey. The first running of the race was on May 23, 1932, and it continued annually until 1941, when World War II put a stop to motorsports competitions in America. The NYRA continued using the airport until 1948, but after that the races were held at other venues around New Jersey. In fact, the final running of the Morris Plains race took place on May 27, 1949, which was two years to the day after the track opened in 1947.
It was during this time that the NYRA took the unusual step of joining with the newly formed National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) to form the National Championship Series (NCS). This series consisted of 12 races, all of which would be held in the state of Connecticut. The 12th and final race in the 1949 season took place at New London’s Thames Stadium, which was a precursor to the modern-day New London Stadium. This race was won by Tim Flock for the Woodbridge Company team, but it was actually his cousin, Bill Flock, who was sitting in the cockpit.
The Track Layout
Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the great all-around tracks, something that can be said for many NASCAR ovals. The concrete surface is smooth and perfect, allowing drivers to push their cars to the limit while still maintaining perfect vision. The design of the track is such that the cars run straight on just about every lap, which makes it easy for the fans to follow the action. It’s one of the few tracks where the action never stops, so even if you have a slow car, you’ll still want to be in the right place at the right time to catch a glimpse of what’s going on.
The Atmosphere At The Track
Bristol Motor Speedway is often referred to as the ‘Mother Church of NASCAR,’ and it’s easy to see why. The track is iconic in the sport, and it’s one of the great venues where fans can get close to the action. On the grounds of the speedway, you’ll find camping, bumper stickers, and T-shirts, all of which are emblazoned with the iconic race car logo. The atmosphere at the track is unique and electric, an overall feeling that anything could happen. You never know what effect a blown tire or a last-second pass will have on the racing in progress. The race fans here are passionate and knowledgeable, and you’ll never feel ostracized for being a casual fan.
Bristol Motor Speedway is located in the beautiful city of Bristol, Connecticut. If you’re driving, you can’t miss the iconic green and white sign that dominates the skyline, a landmark that welcomes you to the ‘Windy City.’ The speedway is located just off of I-95, less than 30 minutes from the New York metropolitan area. Those who live in the area will tell you that it’s well worth the trip to watch a race at one of the great American tracks.
The Shifting Surroundings
Bristol Motor Speedway is in a unique position in terms of the location of the track and the city it is in. The surrounding area is filled with rolling hills and scenic countryside, creating a breathtaking atmosphere that will take your breath away. If you ever get the chance to visit this part of the country during off-peak season, be sure to take a trip to nearby Woodstock or New London to catch a glimpse of what life is like outside of a race weekend. It’s one of the great places to be around during the off-season.
The Current NASCAR Scene
The 2014 NASCAR season was one of change and growth for the sport. Not only did there need to be a course-correction in light of the dismal performance of the ‘Stros and their ilk,’ there also needed to be a push toward greater inclusivity. The ‘Gram Slammer,’ which is a nickname for Danica Patrick, became a viral sensation as she won the Daytona 500, Indy 500, and Brickyard 400 in the same year. Not only did she accomplish this feat in its entirety, but she did so in style, dominating throughout each of those three races. It was quite the comeback story for the 31-year-old, who was previously best known as the daughter of stock car legend Dick Patrick. There is also a saying in NASCAR that ‘any given day’ is a ‘make or break’ day for the drivers and teams, and it is true at Bristol Motor Speedway. Those who are looking for a fast track need to be careful, as the field is filled with quality contenders, and they won’t get very far if accidents start to pile up. The competitive spirit is unmatched at this track and is something that will keep you coming back for more. Even if you’re not a fan of NASCAR, you need to make a point to visit this great American track to get a feel for what it’s like to be here during a race weekend.