What Is The Bank At Bristol Speedway? [Answered!]

When you think of NASCAR, a bank probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But in case you’re wondering, the “Banks” are the concrete islands at the back of the racetrack that catch all the dirt, debris, and water that’s washed down from the cars during the race.

Banks were built in the 1960s after noticing that the back of the grandstands were prone to erosion and flooding. Since then, they’ve become a permanent part of the NASCAR landscape. It’s not exactly the most glamorous place to be, but it is a surprisingly unique and interesting feature of a race track.

Here’s a look at what is the bank at Bristol Speedway.

History Of The Banks

The banks at Bristol came about in the 1960s when NASCAR was still a minor league sport. Because water was such a huge issue (and still is), local realtors and race track officials came up with the idea of building a series of concrete terraces behind the grandstands that would drain any excess water that may have accumulated during a race. The design of the concrete islands was inspired by the banks of the Seine in Paris.

They also took their cue from the terraces that surrounded the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, which were built during the Roman Empire. The idea was to build an area that would make the spectators feel as if they were at a real football (or soccer) game rather than at a car race.

The first two or three banks were simply called “the banks,” but as time went on, the name was changed to better reflect their purposes.

The Grandstands At Bristol

Bristol is a racetrack that was originally built for oval racing. The grandstands were first brought in for the 1975 season, and they’ve never really left. They’re still used today for most NASCAR events, and were even the backdrop for a 1992 episode of Designing Women.

The grandstands at Bristol are made of wood and metal and have a roof that can be opened or closed as needed. Before the introduction of the safety glass windshields, drivers would often get injured at these races because of the intense heat that the sun bore down on them. The roofs eventually became a place where fans could legally drink alcohol, and today, they are a symbol of Southern hospitality.

Livestreaming The Race Through Time

If you want to truly understand what is the bank at Bristol, you have to go back in history. To do that, you need to consider how technology has changed the way we look at and experience sports. And to be specific, you need to look at NASCAR from the lens of video cameras and social media.

The inception of televising sporting events is often credited to the late 40s, early 50s, when cameras were bulky and expensive and only a select few could afford them. But the technology needed to capture live sporting events on tape did not exist back then. So when a game came to an end and the commentators spoke of what they just saw, that is literally what they saw—the game as it happened, live and in person.

The early days of NASCAR could be described as a dark time for sports as they were televised. Drivers did not want to be on camera because they felt they would be made to look foolish. This was especially the case when it came to the wet races, as they were considered lucky charms back then and featured prominently in TV broadcasts.

As time went on and cameras became lighter and more affordable, the drivers began to see the benefits of being on TV. They could gain more sponsorships, connect with more fans, and even make a little more money. A driver’s career could literally be launched because of a televised race.

The Effect Of Social Media On NASCAR

It is difficult to even imagine life today without social media. And while it is still early days in the realm of televised sports, it is already clear that social media has changed the way fans interact with and experience sports. This can be especially seen in NASCAR.

The fans today have grown up with social media and benefit from the exposure that it provides. They not only follow the sport but are also an active part of the community that supports it. This was not the case in the past when fans had to tune in to radio broadcasts or attend events in person to have an impact. Social media gives fans the ability to be part of the experience regardless of whether they are at home or a remote location, and this has great implications for sports trends moving forward.

A Changing Landscape

While some may see the banks at Bristol as an eyesore or a symbol of bad geography, those involved see it as a vibrant symbol of change. Water usage has decreased significantly since the building of the tanks, and as climate change continues to pose new challenges to inhabitants of the Southern United States, the need for such infrastructure is no longer a question. The banks at Bristol are a testament to technological advancement and the triumph of human ingenuity in solving a pressing problem.

The landscape of NASCAR is constantly changing, and while some may see this as a negative trend, it is actually an opportunity for those involved to reinvent themselves and give the sport a new face.

Final Takeaway

Banks are certainly not a glamorous feature of a race track, but they are a surprisingly unique part of NASCAR. The sport is often described as being in its “golden age,” and with the right blend of nostalgia and innovation, it is sure to inspire future generations.

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