By CHRISTINE RISER

What is it they say about making laws and sausage – that you really shouldn't watch the process of either?  I’m starting to wonder if that shouldn’t apply to a recent project involving Bristol, too.

 

I was a bit apprehensive on Monday, knowing that later in the evening our Bristol fans - and the rest of the world - would get a peek behind the proverbial curtain at our most recent labor of love.  Internally here at Bristol Motor Speedway, we bring our hearts and souls into every project involving fans.  And that means our opinions, our enthusiasm and our convictions are in the game, too.  We want to give our fans the very best things and we fight to make each incredible offering even better.  Passion for our fans is a great thing, don't get me wrong, but the quest for perfection sometimes takes time.  

In this case, our 'labor of love' is the overhaul of a huge RV - one that would become the ultimate Bristol fan RV.  It will soon hit the road, taking the Bristol experience to other race tracks, community festivals and fan events, and its creation was documented for reality tv.  Yep, that's the process that I was a bit worried about, knowing the 9pm eastern premiere of the Bristol-focused episode of “Outcast Kustoms” on the Velocity network would be later that night, with repeat airings scheduled dozens of times in the coming months.  The 'process' had been a long-one, and we'd fine-tuned, re-directed and analyzed every aspect so many times we drove ourselves nuts.  We had one shot to get this right, and our fans deserved this project to be perfect.

The idea for this undertaking was actually hatched about two years ago, when Bristol Motor Speedway Vice President of Corporate Sales Greg Harvey, a.k.a. ‘Chipper’, met Outcast Kustoms owners Kelvin and April Locklear at an industry trade show.   Chipper quickly found out that the Locklear’s have a lotta love for Bristol – they’ve been coming here for years.  Outcast’s specialty is ‘tricking out’ big rigs and over-the-top vehicles as one of the country’s premiere customization shops, and their new television series chronicles the builds from start to finish for each hour-long episode.   The trio had some fun talking about joining forces for a Bristol overhaul project.  That conversation turned into a series of brainstorming and ‘what-if’ meetings, and those sessions culminated in an agreement to take on the challenge of creating an ‘ultimate RV’ for us.  We then joined forces with our friends at Tom Johnson RV and set the whole thing in motion.

So that brings us back to why I was nervous:  we knew the RV overhaul was all about our Bristol fans, and we wanted it to be perfect for our fans.  You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it into eternity from us – our goal is to Exceed Expectations – and this RV overhaul was no exception.  In fact, we may have placed an extra ounce of pressure on the project, knowing it had to capture the essence of this special place, to pay tribute to the incredible fans we have the honor of serving and to be something in the end that was even more spectacular than we could have envisioned.

I’m guessing I’m not telling you anything new when I say that striving for perfection with a team that’s passionate, talented and purpose-driven can get a bit interesting at times.  Creative collaboration can be a messy process while still being incredibly rewarding.  Combining the ideas, visions, convictions and hearts of many is challenging – and blending all that passion into one final encapsulating design is daunting.  We pushed deadlines.  We changed our minds.  We debated what would serve our fans best and what they’d love or hate.  We came up with pie-in-the-sky ideas and pushed Outcast Kustoms to turn them into reality.  On deadline.  Even when we changed things last minute.  And even as the oh-so-important ‘reveal’ date loomed large.  And, oh yeah… did I mention reality tv cameras were capturing much of the process?

So that’s why I was apprehensive.   On one hand, I couldn't wait to see more about the parts of this project that we here at Bristol Motor Speedway didn’t see while it was underway.  And I knew it might show some things we may not normally want you to see.  But I kept reminding myself that in the end, it is and was all about the fans.  Every difference of opinion, every change in direction, every extra-little-something and every push to exceed expectations – they each came from the heart because of the passion we have for our fans and how much we wanted this to be perfect for them.

I gotta tell ya… the RV is awesome.  My mom would give me ‘the look’ if I told you what I said when I first saw the finished product.  I'm glad there were no cameras around at that exact moment.  I couldn’t wait for everyone here to see it.  I couldn’t wait for the official ‘reveal’ at Food City Race Night during our March race weekend.  And Monday evening I couldn't to settle in see (with a tip of the hat to Paul Harvey) ‘the rest of the story’.    Yeah, I was a little nervous for the 'process' to be exposed for everyone to see.  Just like legislators and sausage company execs must feel when someone ribs them about that old saying… I knew we'd have to accept the dash of truth that would shine through.  I hope you had a chance to see the show and love the end result as much as we do.  And I hope you recognized that the 'process' that was exposed as part of the tv show was because we recognized you deserved perfection.  Hmmmm, maybe that’s why they call it reality tv, huh?

Editor’s Note:  So what should Bristol Motor Speedway call the ultimate RV tribute to its fans?  Should it be the Bristol Bandwagon, the Ultimate RV or a name that’s still undiscovered?  That’s where you come in!  Take a shot at naming the Bristol RV that’s featured on the Velocity Network’s “Outcast Kustoms”.  To learn more, click here.