At the end of the 2019 season, Bristol Motor Speedway will become the temporary home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The speedway has a large paved oval track and an infield that holds restaurants and concert venues. It previously hosted the Southern 500, a prestigious NASCAR Cup Series race, until the track’s then-owner, Ted Turner, sold it to Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI). SMI then set about renovating and modernizing the track, changing the racing surface from concrete to asphalt, installing new seating areas, and building a fan zone.
One of the most interesting aspects of the redevelopment was the decision to hold a concert every Sunday night in the infield. Previously, concerts took place on Wednesday and Saturday nights, and the Sunday night concerts were sparse. Under the new management team, however, the Sunday concerts became a weekly occurrence, and in many cases, attracted large crowds. The speedway also decided to add capacity by increasing the number of grandstands. When renovations were complete, the capacity rose from 45,000 to 60,000, and the Sunday night concerts were a great success.
Many racing facilities have a limited amount of seating, and their primary purpose is to host sporting events. The renovation of Bristol Motor Speedway was different, as it sought to increase the facility’s capacity while still adhering to the original design. In order to add more seats without altering the speedway’s layout, designers looked to the outside world for inspiration, discovering that the majority of the seating areas were not inside the track but outside on its terrace. The terrace has several hundred seats and provides a breathtaking view of the entire race track and infield. In some cases, the capacity is enhanced by adding more outdoor seats, which can be accessed from the track’s main road through ticket windows.
The Impact Of The Renovation
When the renovations were complete, the speedway’s capacity rose from 45,000 to 60,000. The capacity increase enabled the facility to host a wide array of concerts and festivals. In some cases, the number of people attending an event exceeded the maximum number of ticket holders. Concerts and other major events at the speedway have included: