The Short Answer
Bristol Motor Speedway is most well-known for hosting the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup (National Series for Champions). A Sprint Cup race is typically a 200-mile (322 km) downtown bracket race that is part of the NASCAR Grand Prix schedule.
The track hosts three NASCAR Sprint Cup races each year. The odds for any of the three races are generally 120/1 or less. Additionally, some races may be reduced to the proverbial dull spots (short tracks).
The Long Answer
Bristol Motor Speedway is just under an hour northwest of Atlanta, GA and is the third-oldest proving ground for stock cars in the United States. It was established in 1927 and has been known to host some of the most influential races in the history of the sport.
The track is owned by Gordon Inc. (NASCAR Grand Prix founder Lloyd Gordon), and is one of only a few NASCAR tracks that still operates under a private owner structure. However, the track has a relatively equal partnership with the community, with the Gordon Inc. board of directors consisting of community leaders and business professionals.
The track is mostly known for its bullring, which features three fought races each day of the year. The first race of the day is usually run in the morning, followed by either a rest period or a backstage show (after the third race). The last of these three races is scheduled for the evening session.
On the backside of the track, there is an entrance/exit fountain designed by the late Maserati Corporation (now Marquise Maserati Corporation). The fountain’s principal architect was Dr. Othmar Ammann, who also designed La Sarthe, France’s largest public art installation.
Before each race, drivers and crews visit the finish line and pay tribute to the memory of any individual who lost their life while serving their country during World War II. A United States flag is then placed on the monument by the military honors guard, presenting the last flag to the driver who crosses the line first.
Additionally, several military aviators and flight uniform groups fly over the track before the first race each day, and a POW/MIA column line is positioned by the fountain before the third race. These spectacular pre-race arrangements are highly intended to honor the men and women who served their country and the memory of those who lost their lives in the war.
A Few Things You May Not Know About Bristol Motor Speedway
The track’s capacity is 52,000 spectators, with a maximum of 60,000 admitted for special events. It has one of the largest grandstands in all of North America, with over 30,000 seating sections. The track is also known for its unique bullring structure, which is a 50-minute walk from the entryway on the backside of the track.
The bullring is a circular structure that centrally features the arena (the place where the fights occur), which is approximately 761 feet in diameter. It was originally designed by Herschell Johnson (father of Auto World Magazine publisher Herschell Johnson III), and features a cage where cows and bulls fight for place in the arena each day. The arena’s capacity is 12,500 seats, and it is one of the largest in the world. Additionally, the arena is also a movie set, and was used for the film Cattlemen’s Ballot Box (1943).
The backside of the course features a complex of dodecagonal pillars, which are all that stands between the modern world and the past. The race track was originally built to house racers in the 1920s, and it is one of the largest concrete structures in the world. The whole backside is over a mile long, making it the second-largest race track in Georgia, after the Atlanta Track, which is located in Atlanta itself. The backside of the track features a dressing and holding area for race teams, a grandstand, an office building, a hotel, and a practice paddock. Most famously, it is the base of the Bristol Beach Boys, a group of racers who recreate the antics of a Southern California beach life in the midst of Georgia winter.
How Does The Racing Season At Bristol Motor Speedway Differ From That At Other Tracks?
The racing season at Bristol Motorspeed is very short compared to other tracks; it only runs from mid-March to early October. However, since it is a small town racing track, the townspeople and visitors take their racing very seriously, making it one of the more intimate racetracks in the country.