It is hands-down, the best show in modern NASCAR racing, and is considered by many to be one of the best shows in all sports. Nicknamed Thunder Valley, Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) is the most popular venue, and one of the most sought after tickets in all motor sports. For two weekends each year, nearly 200 thousand people flock to this small town in Northeast Tennessee. For those four days out of each year, Bristol becomes the fifth largest city in the state. The spring race falls early enough in the season so that the weather is almost always perfect. This event falls at the beginning or end of many college’s Spring Breaks. It can be a heck of a way to start out or wrap up a big week. The summer race is at night, so the August temperatures are not a concern, and what a way to wrap up a summer vacation.
BMS is a great place for anyone to visit. From guys, to girls, or even entire families, Bristol has plenty to offer everyone. If played right, it can even be a damn good date weekend. Campgrounds surround the entire facility, and for around 100 bucks, you can stake your claim for the entire weekend. Though there are some grounds reserved for the quiet, family type campers, most of the areas are a huge party scene, both before the green flag, and especially after the checkered.
As for the races, there are few words that can describe this place. The drivers compare it to flying fighter jets inside a gymnasium. Pack your earplugs for this one. Forty-three, 800 plus horsepower racecars, all trapped inside of a perfect bowl-shaped stadium makes one hell of a racket. It truly feels as if the concrete foundation underneath the grandstands could crumble at any second.
Bristol is best done with a group of guys that are looking to get rowdy. Each ticket-buying patron is allowed to bring in an allotted amount of beer that is regulated by the size cooler that you carry in. If the cooler is packed right, that amount of beer should be enough for one man, especially if you funneled a few in the parking lot before you headed toward the track. There truly is nothing better than sitting inside the “Punch Bowl”, shot gunning beers, and screaming at your favorite driver.
That said, come March and August, lets go racin’ East Tennessee style.
Bristol or Bust Baby!!!!