Friday, March 16th, 2012 - As I crested the final hill driving north up US Highway 11E, I saw what I thought was a heavy fog, not an unusual site for the foothills of East Tennessee. After all, I had only began working at Bristol Motor Speedway about a month before that and figured it was just a regular morning. But as I made that descent into the valley, I cracked the windows because I knew I was about to get that first sensory Bristol experience - the sweet smell of a morning campfire.

Those who have been making their annual pilgrimage to the World's Fastest Half-Mile for many years know exactly what I'm talking about! If you're getting ready to make your first, I wish I could see the look on your face when you first see, smell or hear those "Bristol Firsts".

It's those sensory experiences -campfires in your nose; the deafening roar of 43 racecars with enough horsepower to outfit over 38,000 cavalrymen and the smell of the burning rubber that comes with it; the sight of 160,000 friends, family and race fans packed into a place so large, it could accommodate two to three times the capacity of the Roman Colosseum - that makes your first (and any ensuing) trip to Bristol so unique.

You'll never forget your first trip to Bristol much in the same way most people never forget the first time their dad took them to their first ballgame (April 30, 1988, Blue Jays vs. Angels in Toronto's old Exhibition Stadium by the way). Just because you do it once though, does it mean you've seen all there is to see? How different would my world be if my dad stopped taking me to games, races, or the like after just one trip?

If you're making your first pilgrimage to the Last Great Colosseum for the Irwin Tools Night Race this August 24th, you'll find out soon enough what I mean. Bristol is one of those places you could attend a dozen times and have 12 different experiences. It's just so big. Take seating options for one. There's not a bad seat in the house, so why sit in the same place the next time you come back? Even though when you purchase seats directly from Bristol that they are renewable in your name, you can ask for a different location when you renew your tickets! Here are some of the different vantage points you can try on your next trip…

  • Thunder Alley - The cars run so close to you that your seat shakes. The only place you can get closer to pit road is on the infield (hint hint)!
  • Wallace Tower - The best views in East Tennessee, motorsports and mountains! Holston Mountain frames the bull ring below. HOT LAP TIP:  Upgrade your Wallace Tower ticket with the Bud Tap Room option and have your own suite right next door!
  • Pit Road Party Zone - Here's your chance to watch the race from the infield of BMS! This comes with everything: pit access, catered meal, pre-race entertainment and most of all a reserved seat on our infield grandstand. The only other thing you could ask for is to be the crew chief (sorry, that one's not an option)!

How does crossing something off your bucket list turn into a tradition? Come to Bristol and find out!!!

Whether you are making your first, second, tenth or one hundredth trip to Bristol, stop by our Guest Welcome Village when you arrive. You can grab a seat in a rocking chair, listen to great live music, and pick up a guest guide, map or first-timer packet to see what's new or how to get around. If you need help before you arrive, give us a call at 423-BRISTOL or 866-415-4158, we work for you!

See you soon!

-Landon Owen
Bristol Team Member since 2012