Having attended more sporting events than I can count and watched countless numbers more on television, I have to admit there are some things I’d rather watch from the recliner. Golf for one, too much walking. Baseball, you can nap between innings two through eight.
Hockey is much better in person. The speed and violence of the game are amazing, line changes go virtually unnoticed on TV. Following the puck is much easier in person.
Sometimes it’s the venue that makes a live event so much more spectacular. NASCAR races are like that. The buzz of being there is so much more exciting than sitting at home.
The Last Great Colosseum
Bristol Motor Speedway is a place that TV does not do justice. Sure you can catch all the race action on the tube along with all the “boogity” you can handle. But, being there is the experience of a lifetime, even for the casual fan.
7 Reasons You Must Come to Bristol
1. The Hauler Parade
It starts up off Interstate 81 at the Bass Pro Shops in the Pinnacle shopping complex. Winding their way through the cheering crowds downtown and onto the boulevard that leads to the track. Hauler driver’s salute the fans with blasts from their ear-splitting air horns. It’s true Roman Spectacle, they don’t call it “The Last Great Colosseum” for nothing.
2. Haulers Entering the Speedway
After arriving at the towering grandstands surrounding the track, it’s like the gladiators entering the arena where they will fight it out. Pulling through a narrow space under the seating sections at the end of the backstretch, right where the banking of Turn 3 climbs to a 28° height.
The haulers pause at the precipice as the driver in the cab takes a deep breath. Unable to see the track at that point, it’s like driving off a cliff. Plunging over the top rim of the asphalt they continue to hold their breath. The descent to the bottom twists the trailer to the point the mud flaps scrape loudly on the racing surface. If the brakes fail, impact with the wall separating the track from pit road is inevitable.
The driver must make a turn to head the wrong way down the backstretch. If he turns too late the cab of the truck will scrape the pit wall. If he turns too sharply, the trailer may roll over. The biggest possible disaster. The whole process for all the teams takes about an hour, you can watch it from the grandstands. But, not on Fox or NBC.
Bristol Motor Speedway, before the race weekend the haulers have to bring in the race cars and equipment the teams need for the race. After a parade through the city streets, this is the really exciting part for the drivers. Live coverage all weekend long from The Lasco Press.
Posted by Steve Sweitzer on Thursday, April 4, 2019
No infield camping at Bristol, the haulers own that space. There are plenty of options available, the west side of town turns into a camp city on race weekends. The Speedway offers camping on the Dragway, the terraced hill adjacent to complex, and just about any piece of flat ground on the property.
Earhart Campgrounds are one of the finest race camping areas you will find at any track. They own huge tracks of land around the Speedway and can accommodate any type of RV or trailer. They even bring the party to you with vendor tents, beverage stations, and live entertainment.
4. The Carnival Atmosphere Outside the Track
The track hosts a kids zone all weekend with adventures like zip lines and game zones. Merchandise trailers line the entryway, fans stroll through sponsor displays and try the various race-related activities. The vendor tents, food trucks, beer bars, and liquor sellers dot the traffic areas leading into the Speedway. Even if you are not camped at the Earhart grounds you can stroll through their entertainment area.
5. The Track
Only a little over a half mile, no matter where you sit you’re on top of the action all over the track. The high banks combined with the 750 horsepower race cars create speeds over 125 mph. Incredible for a short track.
Winding through the Tennessee hills, when the Speedway comes into view it is a majestic sight. Set up on its own knoll it looks like a crown covered with jewels, nighttime views are a must see when you’re in town.
6. The Colossus Video Screen
Most race tracks have huge video screens in the infield for fans to view the race and replay highlights. Bristol Motor Speedway has taken the video screen to a new level, literally. Suspend over the center of the infield the Colossus Video Screen is a four-sided technological wonder. Held in place with four cables attached to towers on the outside of the grandstand, it offers a high definition unobstructed view to everyone in the arena.
7. The Racing
You’ve seen the action from Bristol on TV. There’s no doubt it’s a track created for excitement. Regardless of how many cameras the networks employ you can see only a small segment of the action at one time.
The bump and run, the door handle-to-door handle banging action, the nudge to the rear bumper. They happen all around the track on every lap. You can see it all and choose to focus on what you want to watch. The sound is a constant roar not just a couple minutes of “crank it up.”
A Bonus for Coming to Bristol
If you are still not convinced, this might seal the deal. Every Spring race Bristol Motor Speedway opens the track for you to drive your own car on the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.” “Track Laps” lets you purchase 10 laps for $35 per vehicle or 20 laps for $50. Enjoy the exciting experience while all proceeds benefit Speedway Children’s Charities! Sports cars, trucks, even SUV’s take to the track. Speeds are safe, and you must stay in line. Still, with the group working together they open gaps wide enough to punch it going down the front stretch.
Tickets are available for this weekend’s Alsco 300, NASCAR Xfinity Series race with kids admission only $10. As well as the Food City 500 on Sunday. The series visits again on August 17th, 2019 for the annual “Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.”
You gotta see it live!
The Lasco Press will be at Bristol Motor Speedway all weekend. Pictures, race reports, all the excitement online, on Facebook, and Twitter.