Representatives from the Bristol TN/VA Chamber of Commerce, along with officials from Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) and Dragway, released figures during a Wednesday news conference that highlight the racing complex's positive economic impact on the region.

According to the combined research, the direct economic impact of Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway totaled more than $417 million for 2012 through 2014. This figure was derived from racing and ancillary activities held on-site, charitable events, contributions and tax revenue. The indirect economic impact of the venue totaled more than $1.4 billion moving through the regional economy.

Joy Madison, president and CEO of the Bristol TN/VA Chamber of Commerce, was accompanied by Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager for Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, to announce the results of a study conducted by both organizations.

"One of the perks of working at BMS is that we come in contact with hundreds of thousands of people every year," Caldwell said. "For each of these individuals, their trip to Bristol isn't limited to their time at the Speedway or Dragway. Instead, it includes their interactions and experiences while staying in hotels, dining at local restaurants, filling up at the gas station, shopping at the grocery store, visiting local points of interest, and much more.

“We are extremely humbled and grateful to the regional community and businesses that set the stage for this kind of impact."

Also in attendance at the announcement were representatives of additional local chambers of commerce, along with tourism officials and individuals from the surrounding 18-county region that makes up BMS’ local footprint.

“Our community, along with numerous others in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, reaps the benefits of having a partner such as Bristol Motor Speedway in our backyard,” Madison said. “Visitors who come to our area for a race experience are also spending money in our communities, and it’s made a significant impact on our region and all neighboring states.”

In a year-and-a-half, the region will reap the benefits of yet another major event at BMS as the iconic NASCAR short track transforms into college football's largest venue. On Sept. 10, 2016, BMS will host Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee in the Battle at Bristol, an event that is expected to provide a direct impact of $125 million to the local economy, along with an indirect impact of more than $439 million.

BMS Developments

For this year’s NASCAR events, Caldwell also announced that response to BMS’ August 2014 introduction of Boxes at The Edge — open-air box seats in Turn One — resulted in the construction of additional boxes during the off-season. These plush seats include inbox attendant service, a Racing Electronics headset and scanner, and access to The Edge Deck, a mixing and mingling area located just 22 feet from the wheel fence. The Edge Deck ticket is transferable and comes with a pre-race track walk pass and a $25 Levy food credit. Race fans can purchase a Box at The Edge or an add-on ticket for The Edge Deck and enjoy an up-close and personal racing experience. For more information, visit BristolTix.com.

In addition, Caldwell elaborated on a newly expanded Park-and-Ride option for fans who attend next month’s Food City 500 race weekend. Through an arrangement with RallyBus, a crowd-powered, on-demand event travel company, fans have Park-and-Ride options in four Tri-Cities locations — Bristol, Virginia, Johnson City and Blountville, Tennessee, and a soon-to-be-named site in Kingsport, Tennessee. To reserve a space for Saturday, April 18, and/or Sunday, April 19, visit Rallybus.net/MyBristol. In addition, RallyBus will offer a reduced price of $20 per round-trip ticket. Reservations are required for all Tennessee locations.

The existing Park-and-Ride at Sugar Hollow Park, located at Lee Highway off Exit 7 in Bristol, Virginia, remains unchanged. No reservations are required. Fans parking in this lot will be provided round-trip shuttle service to BMS at a cost of $20, payable on arrival. Buses depart at the top of the hour beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday during race weekend.

Free parking will remain available at two locations, with free transportation provided to and from the Speedway. These lots are the Speedway Parking and Camping lot at the corner of White Top Road and Highway 394, and the Whitetop Creek Park lot, also located off Highway 394 on Sportsway Drive.