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151 Speedway Blvd.
Bristol, TN 37620

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Surrounding the speedway are large private campgrounds primo for tailgating. Remember that if you are tailgating on the Bristol Motor Speedway property you will need a parking pass.

Interstate 81 north of Bristol is frequented by State Troopers especially on Fridays and Mondays so be smart and drive safe.

Click MAP IT at the top of the page to get directions.


The campground for the entire 2009 season is currently SOLD OUT. There is parking available.

Parking on BMS grounds is by permit only. BMS also operates two free parking areas on St. Rt. 394. "Speedway Parking" and "Multi-Purpose" parking areas offer free shuttle service to and from the track. Refer to the parking map to identify these parking areas.

ADA Accessible Parking

There is improved parking for guests who have state-issued handicap placards. The Bristol Motor Speedway Events Department will require advance requests to help guests park closer to their seats.

ADA Accessible Wheelchair Parking

If you need to obtain a wheelchair space for any of Bristol Motor Speedway's events please contact the Bristol Motor Speedway in advance for arrangements.


$10 a day parking! - Located along Sweet Knobs Trail which parallels Hwy. 394, just East of the Copperhead Road entrance to the Bristol Motor Speedway property.This parking area is lighted and secured and typically has portable toilets available. There is attendants on duty and it is close to free shuttles to track.

Finish Line Parking! Located at Hwy 394 and Copperhead Road, just east of the Bristol Motor Speedway Dragway. This parking facility is family owned and operated and is within walking distance of the Bristol Motor Speedway. You can ride shuttle buses. The parking lot is lighted, has security and portable toilets. From this lot you can make a fairly quick exit after the race.

The following items are not allowed inside the Bristol Motor Speedway;

  • Folding Stadium Seats. Please note that STADIUM CUSHIONS ARE PERMITTED
  • Umbrellas
  • Illegal Drugs
  • ATV-type vehicles or Golf carts
  • Fires, Grills, or Fireworks
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Folding Chairs
  • More than one carry-in bag (bag cannot exceed 14 inches)
  • Glass Containers
  • Pets (except service animals assisting the disabled)
  • Bicycles
  • Beer Balls
  • Noise-Makers, Horns, Helium Balloons and Beach Balls


  • Your Tickets
  • Local Map
  • Grill
  • Cooler and a smaller cooler
  • Ice
  • Charcoal or gas
  • Lighter/Matches
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Food/Drinks
  • Napkins
  • Serving Utensils
  • Plates/Utensils
  • Radio
  • Garbage Bags
  • Umbrella, poncho,hat
  • Something to sit on
NOTE: If you are bringing a cooler inside the Bristol Motor Speedway make sure it is 14 inches or smaller on any side. There is no glass bottles allowed in the speedway as well alcohol.


Pork & Chicken BBQ with a sweet smoky sauce. Tennessee whiskey in BBQ is widely accepted and in Tennessee they eat what are known as Ramps (Tenn, Truffle). Tailgating foods range from chicken wings to pork steak and can be served with cole slaw, a smoky sauce and soup beans.


Seats: 160,000
Track Shape: Oval
Turns: Banked 36 degrees
Straightaways: Banked 16 degrees
Length: 0.533 miles
Length of frontstretch: 650 feet
Length of backstretch: 650 feet



Bristol Motor Speedway could very easily have opened in 1961 under a different name. The first proposed site for the speedway was in Piney Flats but, according to Carl Moore, who built the track along with Larry Carrier and R.G. Pope, the idea met local opposition. So the track that could have been called Piney Flats International Speedway, was built five miles down the road on Highway 11-E in Bristol.


The land, upon which Bristol Motor Speedway is built, used to be a dairy farm. Larry Carrier and Carl Moore traveled to Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960 to watch a race and it was then that they decided to build a speedway in northeast Tennessee. However, they wanted a smaller model of CMS, something with a more intimate setting and opted to erect a half-mile facility instead of mirroring the 1.5-mile track in Charlotte.

Work began on what was then called Bristol International Speedway in 1960 and it took approximately one year to finish. Carrier, Moore and Pope scratched many ideas for the track on envelopes and brown paper bags.

Purchase of the land on which BMS now sits, as well as initial construction of the track, cost approximately $600,000. The entire layout for BMS covered 100 acres and provided parking for more than 12,000 cars. The track itself was a perfect half-mile, measuring 60 feet wide on the straightaways, 75 feet wide in the turns and the turns were banked at 22 degrees.

Seating capacity for the very first NASCAR race at BMS – held on July 30, 1961 – was 18,000. Prior to this race the speedway hosted weekly races.

FIRST RACE: Tiny Lund, David Pearson & Fred Lorenzen

The first driver on the track for practice on July 27, 1961 was Tiny Lund in his Pontiac. The second driver out was David Pearson. Fred Lorenzen won the pole for the first race at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 79.225 mph.

Atlanta’s Jack Smith won the inaugural event – the Volunteer 500 – at BMS on July 30, 1961. However, Smith wasn’t in the driver’s seat of the Pontiac when the race ended. Smith drove the first 290 laps then had to have Johnny Allen, also of Atlanta, take over as his relief driver. The two shared the $3,225 purse. The total purse for the race was $16,625.

Country music star Brenda Lee, who was 17 at the time, sang the national anthem for the first race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

A total of 42 cars started the first race at BMS but only 19 finished.


In the fall of 1969 BMS was reshaped and re-measured. The turns were banked at 36 degrees and it became a .533-mile oval.


The speedway was sold after the 1976 season to Lanny Hester and Gary Baker. In the spring of 1978 the track name was changed to Bristol International Raceway.

In August of 1978 the first night race was held on the oval.

On April 1, 1982 Lanny Hester sold his half of the speedway to Warner Hodgdon.

On July 6, 1983, Warner Hodgdon completed 100 percent purchase of Bristol Motor Speedway, as well as Nashville Speedway, in a buy-sell agreement with Baker. Hodgdon named Larry Carrier as the track’s general manager. On January 11, 1985, Warner Hodgdon filed for bankruptcy.

After Warner Hodgdon filed for bankruptcy, Larry Carrier formally took possession of the speedway and covered all outstanding debts.

BRUTON SMITH: Bristol Motor Speedway

On Jan. 22, 1996, Larry Carrier sold the speedway to Bruton Smith, of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI), at a purchase price of $26 million. At the time of the sale, the facility seated 71,000.

On May 28, 1996 the track’s name was officially changed to Bristol Motor Speedway. By August of 1996, 15,000 seats had been added bringing the seating capacity to 86,000.

MORE SEATING: Named After NASCAR Legends

BMS continued to grow and by April of 1997 was the largest sports arena in Tennessee and one of the largest in the country, seating 118,000. The speedway also boasted 22 new skyboxes.

For the August 1998 Goody’s 500 the speedway featured more than 131,000 grandstand seats and 100 skyboxes. Improvements to the speedway since Smith took possession are in excess of $50 million.

Under Smith's ownership, all seats were renamed in honour of past winners at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The seating capacity for the Food City 500 in March of 2000 was 147,000 as the Kulwicki Terrace and Kulwicki Tower were completed. Both were named after the late NASCAR star Alan Kulwicki, who was the reigning NASCAR champion when he died in a plane crash in 1993 while on his way to the spring race at Bristol, which he won the previous year.

As a tribute to retiring star Darrell Waltrip, the entire Turn 3 and 4 sections were renamed in his honour in 2000, including a section of seats in Turn 4 near the start-finish line marked as no alcohol permitted. (Waltrip refused to drive for a team in 1987 because its sponsor was of alcoholic beverages.)

The Allison family and David Pearson were also each given grandstands as part of the renaming of grandstands.

As has been the case since the SMI purchase of BMS, improvements continued in and around the Speedway. The 2002 season saw the addition of a long-awaited infield pedestrian tunnel, allowing access into and out of the infield during on-track activity. Also in 2002, a new building was constructed in the infield to house driver meetings.

Kurt Busch in Victory Lane

2002 also witnessed the christening of a new BMS Victory Lane atop the newly constructed building. Kurt Busch won the 2002 Food City 500 on March 24 and became the first Winston Cup winner in the new BMS winner's circle.

Additional improvements in 2002 included new scoreboards located on the facing of the suites in Turns 2 and 3.

160,000+ And Still The Hardest Ticket

On Monday, August 26, 2002 work began on the most ambitious construction project since Speedway Motorsports, Inc., purchased BMS in 1996. The entire backstretch, including the Speedway’s last remaining concrete seats, was demolished. The new backstretch increased the venue’s seating capacity to more than 160,000. The new backstretch includes three levels of seating and is topped with 52 luxury skybox suites. These seats are also named for NASCAR figures, with Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, and Robert Glen Johnson Jr each having a section of the new seats named for them. Dale Earnhardt was given a section in his memory on top.

A 5,000 seat section of the Turn 1 and 2 grandstand, on top of the Alan Kulwicki Grandstand, will be named the Rusty Wallace Grandstand. Wallace's publicist Tom Roberts also worked with Kulwicki and was scheduled to be on the fateful plane which crashed in 1993, but was not aboard because of a last-minute change. Roberts worked with Wallace throughout the remainder of his career as publicist. -


March 31, 1963: Fireball Roberts outruns teammate Fred Lorenzen to win the Southeastern 500 at Bristol. Roberts' victory rides comes in his first start with the Holman-Moody Ford team.

March 20, 1966: Sophomore driver Dick Hutcherson steers clear of a rash of crashes and wins the Southeastern 500 at Bristol by four laps. Only seven cars in the starting field of 32 are able to finish the race.

July 20, 1969: David Pearson prevails in a wreck-strewn Volunteer 500 at Bristol International Speedway. It is the first event on the 1/2-mile oval since the turns were redesigned and banked to a staggering 36 degrees.

March 25, 1973: Cale Yarborough, back in NASCAR's fold after a two-year exile in USAC Indy Cars, drives Junior Johnson's Chevrolet to an overwhelming victory in the Southeastern 500 at Bristol. Yarborough leads all 500 laps.

April 1, 1979: Outstanding rookie driver Dale Earnhardt scoots around Darrell Waltrip with 27 laps to go and grabs his first career NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National victory in Bristol's Southeastern 500.

April 1, 1984: Darrell Waltrip cruises to victory in the Valleydale 500 at Bristol, giving team owner Junior Johnson his eighth straight victory at the steeply banked 1/2-mile track. Terry Labonte finishes second.

April 6, 1985: Dale Earnhardt manhandles his Chevrolet and comes out on top of the Valleydale 500 at Bristol. The power steering unit in Earnhardt's Chevrolet fails in the first 50 miles, but he never lets it slow him down.

April 6, 1986: Rusty Wallace leads the final 101 laps at Bristol to score the first NASCAR Winston Cup win of his career. Wallace outruns runner-up Ricky Rudd by 10.69 seconds.

April 12, 1987: Dale Earnhardt bangs Sterling Marlin out of the lead near the midway point and speeds to victory in the Valleydale 500 at Bristol. Richard Petty finishes a close second.

April 10, 1988: Bill Elliott overcomes a late spinout and rallies past Geoff Bodine to score his first career short-track win in the Valleydale 500 at Bristol. Bodine taps Elliott into a spin with nine laps to go, but Elliott roars back to take the lead with three laps remaining.

August 27, 1988: Dale Earnhardt holds off Bill Elliott to win the Busch 500 at Bristol. Elliott take a 16-point lead over Rusty Wallace in the championship chase.

April 8, 1990: Davey Allison noses out Mark Martin in a photo finish to win the Valleydale Meats 500 at Bristol International Raceway. The margin of victory is listed as eight inches.

April 5, 1992: Alan Kulwicki hustles past Dale Jarrett with 27 laps remaining and scores a narrow victory in the Food City 500 at Bristol International Raceway. It is the fourth win of Kulwicki's NASCAR Winston Cup career.

April 1, 1993: Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup champion Alan Kulwicki perishes in a private plane crash en route to Bristol for the Food City 500. Rusty Wallace wins the race three days later and honors Kulwicki with a ceremonial opposite direction "Polish victory lap."

April 2, 1995: Jeff Gordon posts his third win in the season's first six races with a victory in the Food City 500 at Bristol. Despite batting .500 in the early part of the season, Gordon ranks only fourth in the points standings.

April 13, 1997: Jeff Gordon nudges past Rusty Wallace on the final lap to win the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Twenty caution flags fly and 132 laps are run in single-file formation.

March 25, 2001: Elliott Sadler becomes the third first-time winner in the first six races of the season with a triumph in Bristol's Food City 500. Sadler comes from his 38th starting position to nip John Andretti at the finish. It is the Wood Brothers' first win since 1993.

March 24, 2002: Sophomore Kurt Busch rattles his way past Jimmy Spencer on the final 30 miles and sprints to his first career NASCAR Winston Cup victory at Bristol. Busch and Spencer battle ferociously in the closing laps.

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