Let’s face it… there’s nothing quite like the first time. While that can be said for a variety of life experiences, I’m specifically talking about your first NASCAR Cup race.

When was the first time you heard those “most popular words in motorsports?” When was the first time you smelled that fresh Goodyear rubber mixed with the aroma of racing fuel? When was the first time your ears perked up to the roar of 40+ engines? When was the first time you saw a green flag wave followed by a herd of racing machines thunder into Turn 1?

You’ll never forget it, will ya?

For me it goes back to April 1, 1979 and the Southeastern 500 at Bristol. (I was 11 years old at the time). With a job relocation, my brother moved from the coal country region of eastern Kentucky to the Tri-Cities Tennessee area. That spring, he says, “They have a race track down here in Bristol. Guys like Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough race here. You should come down and check it out.”

Our reply, “Why not?” So we made the winding road journey through the mountains to Bristol’s short track, at that time known as Bristol International Raceway, and we were “wowed” with a day that will never be forgotten.

By the way, some rookie won the race that day. His name was Dale Earnhardt.

Bristol “hooked” me. It hooked my dad. It hooked my brothers. That one April afternoon resulted into what became a family tradition for us.

Following that initial race, and since coming to work at BMS in 2000, I’ve visited my share of tracks, and I’ve seen lots of races. But nothing compares to that first race (and yes, I’m partial), but nothing compares to Bristol.

Where was your first race? When was it? What are your memories? I’m betting you can talk for hours about it.

Be it a “first race” for you, or a continuation of your own tradition, we’re looking forward to seeing you in roughly 130 days for the running of the IRWIN Tools Night Race (August 24).

It’ll be here before you know it.

To purchase tickets for any of our August Race Week events, call us toll-free at 1.866.415.4158 or visit BristolTix.com.