Spring 2012 and Bristol Motor Speedway

It's Race Time in Tennessee...

You can generally tell it’s springtime in east Tennessee when the crowds start gathering in the many campgrounds that surround BMS or Bristol Motor Speedway about this time each year. About ten to twelve days before the first scheduled race each season we hear of the first of the faithful race fans rolling into one of the many favored awaiting slots eager to set up their temporary ‘home site’ in anticipation of the area’s first appointed spring race at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile Oval and one of the most popular racetracks on the NASCAR circuit. If you’re into racin’, you’ve no doubt been to Bristol. Upwards to 160,000 loyal fans plan this trip at least once a year and often two times as the most notable drivers assemble for the early spring and late summer events annually at BMS.

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For over fifty years now the whole of upper east Tennessee and southwest Virginia gear up for the treasured events. Each major cities local WalMart parking lots are graced with the drivers and their race cars drawing enthused fans and their families hoping for a picture with their favorite driver and auto be it Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Carl Edwards or maybe Tony Stewart who won just last weekend in Las Vegas. The local merchants love the income generated by the many fans and endure the noise and rivalries during the festive atmosphere accompanying Race Week.

This race at Bristol officially opens the short track season for all of racing. One reason the short track is so popular is that the grandstands are as close as possible to all the action on the track. The guy that’s won the most times at Bristol is a featured historian and spokesman for the Bristol oval, Darrell Waltrip. When recently asked about this week‘s historical event and the action a sightseer might expect, the NASCAR Hall of Fame driver solemnly replied, “If you have four wheels and most of the fenders on the car, you’ll probably have a pretty good day.” noting that the winner’s car at Bristol usually looks worse than those of the teams he just beat.

David Keith filming a video at BMS
David Keith filming a video at BMS

"There's Racin' and then there's Bristol..."

The excitement is building and the time is short but I believe you still have time to witness this year’s event. The local TV stations have featured the clean-up and preparation at the track nightly on the news and the restaurants are already featuring special enticements to lure in the crowds that are already showing up. The motels and hotels are filling up fast as are the campsites and the racin’ fever is already in the air. It is said that by tomorrow night one will not be able to find a room between Roanoke VA and Knoxville TN if it’s anything like past race weekends. Many local people even rent out their homes and week end lake or mountain cabins for this event to interested and trusted race fans and their families from around the country, and in the all familiar words of David Keith, the famous Hollywood actor that always promotes RaceWeek at BMS. “There’s racin’ and then there’s Bristol…”

© 2012 SamSonS

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Comments 10 comments

oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 4 years ago from The Midwest, USA

We have some Nascar Fans in the house here! Its more of a "break" on Sundays, a time to unwind and watch the race. We had the benefit of going to a couple of races, one in California, and then to Texas Motor Speedway a couple of times when living in Texas.

We have never been to Bristol, but when we have gone, there is a great excitement for sure. We had tickets, but never made it a large week event or anything like that. Observing how others really go all out for a Nascar event was a thing to observe in itself! They have barbecues and everything. Its like a neat social or community thing to observe. That is a good thing for people to take time to enjoy life and others.

Voted up, awesome and interesting. Happy Spring Samsons!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thank you so much oceansnsunsets for sharing some of your experiences with me. I've been have way around the world and found that NASCAR fans are everywhere! Would you believe I've yet to see my first race, live; and yet I was born and raise in Bristol. Knew many of the old time drivers before all the sponsors came into the picture.

Thanks again for your nice remarks and also for the kind votes of confidence and likewise I wish you and yours a very happy springtime. I really enjoy your hubs and pix...

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

My husband is an avid race car fan and you named his favorite drivers. Through the years he has gotten me interested in the sport. He used to go to many of the races when he was younger and healthy. I felt your excitement for the racing just by reading your hub. Up and awesome.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks you so much Pam for your nice comments. NASCAR racing is a very exciting sport. Before the big tracks the locals pretty much keep everyone excited with dirt track racing around here but then the sponsoring came and really commercialized the game, 'big time.' Appreciate the 'up' votes...

Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Thailand

Although I haven't watched the Nascar for years, as it isn't shown over this side of the globe, but I remember the excitement well. I also remember seeing a race live once, it was one of the best days out!

Thanks for SHARING.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks so much Brett for stopping by and sharing your comments. Since I wrote this hub there has been much activity going on at BMS. In an attempt to 'regain' the attendance once claimed, the surface of the raceway is undergoing massive changes thought to allure the fans once more to a more 'exciting' experience on raceday...

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

We like to watch Nascar, but I have to admit we are drag race fans. My husband, son and I just got back from racing at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas. We didn't win, but had a lot of fun. Hubby used to race dirt track also. I would like to go to a Nascar race someday. Hubby went once and said it was a lot of fun! I enjoyed your hub! Voted up and interesting! Have a great day! :)

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks so much sgtbrown for your nice words of encouragement. Since you like the 'Drag Races', did you notice this week what happened at Thunder Valley? Some lady driver lost it and her car went airborne and came across the barricade and right into the camera. It was on Nat'l News...

ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I know little about Nascar so it was nice to get more 'in the loop' with your hub (or should I say 'on the track'!). My dad is a big fan of watching motor sports on TV so I hope to be able to correspond more with him on the subject. I vote up and interesting :)

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks so much Christy for stopping by and commenting on one of my hubs. Did not know that racing was popular outside the US...

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