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06 December 2008

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway Seating Chart

Bristol Motor Speedway History
Address: 151 Speedway BlvdBristol, TN 37620

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway is the biggest little track in racing.

There are nearly 170,000 seats around the .533-mile concrete marvel these days, but getting a ticket to see a NASCAR Nextel Cup race there is one of the most difficult things for any sports fan to accomplish.

Race cars go as much as 60 mph faster at other tracks than they do at Bristol Motor Speedway, but there’s not a driver in the sport who won’t tell you the sense of speed during a 15-second lap at Bristol is as great as is at any track in the sport.

Contradictions abound when you’re talking about Bristol Motor Speedway, but there’s one thing that’s absolutely certain. When it comes to excitement, there’s no other place like it.

Put 43 cars in a bowl, add the intensity of thousands of excited fans and mix at high - extremely high - speeds. That’s the recipe for a day, or night, of racing at Bristol.

NASCAR fans look forward all year to the August night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. How tough of a ticket is the Sharpie 500? The waiting list grew so long that the track finally just stopped adding names to it.

But the fans who are lucky enough to get tickets are rarely disappointed by the action they see on a track that started as a smaller-scale copy what was then called Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Larry Carrier and Carl Moore were at the first race at what is now Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1960, and they decided to bring racing to northeast Tennessee. By July 1961, a track had been built about five miles down the road from the site they originally picked in a place called Piney Flats. Instead of Piney Flats International Speedway, the first NASCAR race was held at Bristol International Speedway.

That track was a half-mile of asphalt with 22-degree banking in its turns. There were 18,000 seats. Forty-two cars started that first race in 1961 and only 19 finished. And the driver who took the checkered flag first was not the driver who’d started in that car! Jack Smith drove the first 290 laps of the Volunteer 500, but Johnny Allen took over as a relief driver and finished it up.

Bristol Motor Speedway’s turns were banked an intimidating 36 degrees in 1969 and it was re-measured to its current distance of .533 miles. The lights went up in 1978, and that August the track played host to the night race that has now become one of NASCAR’s signature events.

Bristol Motor Speedway became the first track with an all-concrete surface in 1992. Four years later, it was sold to Bruton Smith and Speedway Motorsports Inc.

At that point, there were about 71,000 tickets available for a race at what was then renamed Bristol Motor Speedway. But by the August race in 1996, 15,000 seats had been added and more - much more - were on the way.

No words can prepare a race fan for what now awaits as he or she walks into Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time. Major additions named for some of the sport’s greatest drivers - Alan Kulwicki, Dale Earnhardt and 12-time race-winner Darrell Waltrip - now completely surround the concrete oval with double- and triple-decked seating.

With the more than 150 luxury suites included, Bristol Motor Speedway’s capacity now approaches 170,000.

Every ticket is sold for every Cup race. And nobody goes home disappointed.

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