How Many Seats Does Bristol Motor Speedway Hold? [Expert Guide!]

When it comes to motorsport and NASCAR in general, a lot of people think that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the “grandaddy” of all the race tracks. With its steep banking and long straightaways, anyone would be forgiven for thinking that. However, that logic stops at the beginning. While the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the most renowned track of all time, it is not the oldest. That honor goes to the Bristol Motor Speedway, which opened its gates in 1950 and holds an incredible array of cars and motorsport memorabilia.

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and refresh our memory of what the Bristol Motor Speedway looked like back in the day. Below, we will list down some of the things that you can still see at the track today that weren’t there back in 1950.

Pit Gates And Shorts

You can’t talk about the Bristol Motor Speedway without mentioning one of its hallmarks – the “short track” style of racing. The original track was designed to be a bit shorter than other tracks in order to create more of a “true” racing feeling. If you’ve ever raced at any other track, then you know what kind of atmosphere they are trying to create. However, this short track style also created some strange side effects. One of the most noticeable is the fact that the cars are actually shorter than you would expect. This makes it easier for the drivers to wave off, creating a dangerous situation on the track. To prevent this from happening, the track management implemented a few rules. The first was that the cars had to be at least a certain length so that the drivers didn’t have to struggle with them coming off the corners. The second rule was that the inside of the track had to be shaded, which not only provides a better viewing experience for the spectators, but can also reduce the temperature inside the cars, making it much more comfortable for the drivers and the passengers. Some of the other tracks, such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, adopted these rules as well, but the Bristol Motor Speedway continues to stick with its original layout.

Grain Bin And Refrigerator

There is also a well-known spot at the Bristol Motor Speedway that is not for racing fans. Located behind the grandstands, there is a small structure that has two huge metal bins, which are there to store the track’s leftover food and drink. These bins are a tradition at the Bristol Motor Speedway, where drivers and crews alike have been storing their food and drink for years. One of the best parts about these containers is that not only do they provide a unique look, but you can also tell what kind of refreshments the drivers and crew are having by looking at the containers. In the past, these containers have even featured drinks and snacks created by famous restaurant owners and chefs, such as Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay.

Elbow Rest

One of the things that drew the attention of drivers early on was the fact that the track’s banking was extremely steep. This, coupled with the short turns, made it necessary for the drivers to remain comfortably seated while driving. To further increase their comfort level, the track designers put in place elbow rests. These are small cushions that fit in the nooks and crannies of the steering wheel, designed to provide a comfortable place for the drivers to rest their arms. While there are no longer any official rules mandating them, many drivers still prefer to sit with their arms resting on top of the steering wheel. This not only improves their driving experience, but it can also make them more attentive to the task at hand.

Flat Spot

Another interesting aspect about the Bristol Motor Speedway is the fact that when you exit the turn one tunnel and head down towards the start-finish line, you enter a flat spot. This is mainly due to the fact that the track is very long and almost halfway down the straightaway, it starts to drop off, making the cars fly off the road. This is also the reason why the cars are so close to the wall on the outside of the turn, as they have nowhere else to go but straight ahead.

Green And White Stripes

The cars that regularly turn up at the Bristol Motor Speedway are usually a mix of old and new. The majority of them are old, pre-1975 models that were popularized back in the day when the track was used solely for automobile racing. Many of these older models are painted in the iconic “Bristol green” and white, which makes them recognizable even from a distance. These “oldies” are kept in good condition and are often driven by fans who appreciate their history.

Steel Wall And Trackside Signage

Steel walls were another feature that the track designers put in place to help maintain the integrity of the racetrack. These walls are still present today and extend all the way around the track, keeping the car crews and the drivers safe from harm. Along these same lines, there is also trackside signage that can be found at various spots around the track, warning drivers of upcoming turns and other such features. These signs can also be used to provide additional information about changes in the track or its regulations, which can make them useful for even the most experienced drivers.

One of the most interesting things about the Bristol Motor Speedway is the fact that it is a living piece of history. Just like the original track, today’s version continues to host some of the top racing series in the world. Even more impressively, many of these series are still going strong, which is a testament to the popularity of this legendary American racing venue.

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