So I was clicking around today, and came across this blog post from the NASCAR.com Community blog section. It was featured on the front page of NASCAR.com and has had quite a few responses. Long story short, this guy is doing yard work for a lady on top of his actual job to earn enough money to pay for his trip to Bristol, and she questions if Bristol is really worth it. The writer ends the post with this quote: “some people just don’t get it!” I’ve got to say, I agree with him 1000%.
If you call yourself a NASCAR fan and you don’t understand why this guy is killing himself to pay for the trip, then you are shaming every true fan the sport has. My first experience at Bristol was as a fan several years ago, but I had the amazing chance to get a pit pass for the Truck Series race (gotta love connections). Walking through the tunnel in turn three and out into the infield for the first time was a breathtaking experience. Their TV commercial calls it the “Last Great Coliseum,” and I can’t say I disagree.
When you are heading south on Hwy. 11 out of town, you come around a little hill and the race track sits off to the left. That first drive up there from Charlotte, I came around that curve and was amazed at this place. If you ever get the opportunity to attend a race at Bristol, I’m telling you, you have to go. You will not regret it for a second.
I look forward to the Bristol events every year and I think its immensely popular for a few reasons. First, the action. I think the old surface was a little better for this, but the rootin’ and gougin’ that goes on at this track is unlike any other. Sometimes the bump-and-run is just necessary. Second, the noise. You haven’t heard loud at a NASCAR event until you go to Bristol. They don’t call it Thunder Valley for nothing. And third, I think it takes everybody back to the roots of racing. Short track Saturday nights are what racing is all about. A bunch of guys, under the lights, duking it out for the win is why we watch racing. No fuel strategy, no aero crap to worry about, just racing.
Although you can’t usually see the entire track, the view from pit road is pretty cool for these races too. The race track is only a few feet from the crews standing on the pit wall, and the action is right in your face. And having 150,000 race fans right on top of you is something not many professional athletes get to experience.
During my long tenure as a fan, and my shorter tenure as a tire changer, I’ve been to a lot of race tracks. Daytona and Talladega are cool tracks, there is nothing like the history at Darlington, and Martinsville is the essential half mile. But there is no other Bristol.