Bristol Motor Speedway now has a new look and feel thanks to a $4.5 million renovation that was recently completed. Gone are the days of the infield ditches, replaced with lush green grass and brightly colored seats. While the track welcomed its first Supercars in 1969 and the Brickyard 400 in 1971, the following year would see the end of auto racing at the track. With the rise of fuel costs coupled with fans taking a liking to their vehicles, the business decision was made to stop holding motor races at the iconic track. Nowadays, the only thing you’ll see at Bristol are sheep, college football games, and music festivals.
But will NASCAR fans be back to watch the famed “Short Track” get ready for the annual Motorcycle Grand Prix of Great Britain?
The short answer is yes, they will be back, but the long answer is not so simple. Even though it has changed a lot, the track is still very similar to the one that started it all back in 1928. So, let’s take a closer look.
What Is Bristol Motor Speedway?
Bristol Motor Speedway is a half-mile oval track located in Bristol, Tennessee. The track was the brainchild of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., who envisioned a short track that would give the average motorist the opportunity to experience the thrill of driving a race car. On April 23, 1928, France officially opened the track to the public. Since then, the track has held countless milestone events in the history of NASCAR, from the very first Indianapolis 500 to the rise of the sport as we know it today. Even after decades of renovations and changes, the track still looks much like it did in its original form back in 1928, which is both a testament to the history of the place as well as a warning to any would-be competitors that may be reading this article.
Over the years, the track has housed some of NASCAR’s most memorable racing events, including the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (formerly CART) finale, the All-Star Race, and a dozen more. In addition, the track has played host to some of the greatest drivers in motorsport history, including Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, and Dale Earnhardt. The list of NASCAR champions that have raced there goes on and on. In total, Bristol has hosted some of the most important events in the history of NASCAR. It was also the starting point of nearly all of NASCAR‘s major innovations, from the now-famous catchphrase “It’s not over ‘til it’s over,” to the idea of having a garage to store your car. So, it’s fair to say that if you’re a NASCAR fan, then Bristol is a must-see track.
Why Is Bristol Motor Speedway Important?
Bristol Motor Speedway is important for a number of reasons. For one, it’s the birthplace of NASCAR, which has cemented its place in American culture as a whole. In addition, the track’s rich history makes it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region, due mostly to its sheer size and nostalgia-inducing nature. The track also holds a special place in the hearts of many fans, due to its unique blend of nostalgia and technology. Finally, the track’s capacity, which was recently upgraded to 100,000, makes it one of the biggest stadiums in all of motorsport. This is largely thanks to the efforts of former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, who was instrumental in raising the necessary funds to renovate the track back in 2013.
To begin with, the renovation of Bristol Motor Speedway was extensive, encompassing everything from the grandstands to the lights to the track itself. The most recognizable change is the color scheme. The entire stadium is now clad in brick red, with accents of white, giving it a “College Station” feel. This is a direct reference to the University of Texas, where the majority of the track’s board members work. In fact, the grandstands were originally built for the Texas A&M Aggies football team in 1939, and have since been used for numerous college football games. The white lights behind the stands were also replaced with red lights, evoking an image of waves of cars speeding towards the finish line. Finally, the track was resurfaced, and its banking was changed to facilitate faster speeds and better cornering. The result is a much more interesting layout for spectators to watch.
What Is The Track’s Layout Like?
Even though the layout of the track hasn’t changed much, there are still a number of subtle differences between the way it was in its original form and the way it is now. The biggest change is that the track is much wider and taller than it used to be. Before the renovations, the track was just under one-quarter mile long, with the finishing line being at the top of the banked turn one. Now, the track is nearly a half mile in length, with the finishing line being just a hairpin turn before the exit to pit road. In other words, more than half the track is uphill, giving the cars a boost at the start, and then slamming them into the wall the rest of the way.
How Is The Track’s Seating?
The seating at Bristol Motor Speedway is unique in that there aren’t any traditional grandstands or skyboxes. Instead, the track has installed horseshoe-shaped steel seating along the entire perimeter, with the exception of the endzone. The idea is to bring the spectators closer to the action, as well as to make the noise levels more manageable. The result is a more intimate atmosphere at the track, which can make a difference in creating a more immersive experience. While some may argue that there’s not much difference in terms of view from the seats in the endzone compared to the rest of the track, this is certainly not true. The seats in the endzone are significantly higher than the rest of the grandstand, and offer a completely different view. It also makes a world of difference whether you’re sitting in the front row or in the back. In the end, it’s all about having a good view of the action.
What Is The Track’s Amenities?
One of the biggest changes to Bristol Motor Speedway over the years has been in terms of the track’s amenities. As mentioned above, the track’s seating was originally designed for college football games, and this became the case in 1937, when the stadium’s first football game was played. After the game, some of the fans would often stay and watch the cars race, which inspired a renovation of sorts in 1965, when wooden bleachers were installed behind the steel-seated grandstands. These days, there’s a lot more to offer, with several concession stands, picnic areas, and restrooms scattered around the track. In addition, there are also dozens of vendors selling all types of merchandise, from T-shirts to collector cups to jewelry. Finally, the track has installed a fully equipped press box, which is also used for interviews and features races as they unfold.
As you can see, there are many changes for the better at Bristol Motor Speedway, which have made it one of the most interesting tracks to follow in the NASCAR playoffs. The track has upgraded its amenities, increased its capacity, and brought back some of the original features from its pre-renovation days, making it a must-see location for any motorsport fan.