In the words of one longtime fan, "It's not just the race, it's the place."

Any motorsports enthusiast will tell you, the place to be from August 17-22 is Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). Fans from all 50 states and more than 20 foreign countries are making their way to the World's Fastest Half-Mile in anticipation of a week-long celebration that culminates in one of the premier racing events on the globe, the IRWIN Tools Night Race.

"We like to think of it as an enormous family reunion with a music festival and a state fair mixed in, plus all of that meeting NASCAR," says Jerry Caldwell, general manager for BMS. "For some guests, coming here is a tradition that has lasted across generations. And we know from our ticket sales that we've also got a lot of first-time folks on the way. We look forward to welcoming them all, and we've scheduled several days of events to keep our big Bristol family entertained. There's something for everyone."

Highlights of the week's events include:

Monday, Aug. 17: The 18th Annual Speedway Children's Charities (SCC) Golf Tournament presented by Baker's Construction Services. Held at Tri Cities Golf Course in Blountville, Tenn., the day begins with registration at 10 a.m., lunch at 11 a.m. and a shotgun start at Noon.  A team of four, including hole sponsorship, is $750.  For more information on partnerships or to sign up for the tournament, please call SCC at 423-989-6975.

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Firing of the engines! Practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP begins at 2 p.m. and runs until 5 p.m. Spectator access will be available starting at 1:30 via Gate 10. (Please note: Access through Gate 10 ONLY for this event.)

That afternoon at 4 p.m., SCC will host the NRA Shooting Stars tournament at Shooter's Edge indoor range in Piney Flats, Tenn. Participants will take aim at 15 different targets. Call SCC at 423-989-6975 to register.

Wednesday, Aug. 19: It's Family Night at Bristol Motor Speedway's doubleheader where children 15 and under are admitted for free with a paying adult. Watch all the excitement of the future stars of NASCAR in the Whelen Modified Tour Bush's Beans 150 and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP. Tickets are $35 for adults and families are encouraged to pack their coolers, up to 14 inches in size, with their family favorites.

Ticketholders can visit the all-free Kids Zone, which will have extended Wednesday hours, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check out the zip line, euro bungee, face painting, climbing wall, inflatables, mechanical bull and Ferris wheel. There will also be free live music on the Fan Zone stage from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The first 1,000 kids who visit the Guest Services booths inside the grandstand will receive a complimentary pair of bam bam sticks and a back-to-school pack with ruler, pencil and eraser.

NASCAR drivers competing in the Bush's Beans 150 will join in a free autograph session in the Darrell Waltrip grandstands, inside Gate 14, from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m.

Between the action-packed races, Team FMX riders will present an extreme motorcycle stunt show. After the UNOH 200, guests are invited to walk the World's Fastest Half-Mile for free.

For Thursday, Aug. 20, it's one of the largest fan fests in the industry, Food City Family Race Night. From 1p.m. to 9 p.m. stroll downtown Bristol, visit with dozens of drivers and vendors, and hear live music.

Back on BMS grounds, items from multiple racing teams will go up for bid at the live Memorabilia Auction, held at the Bruton Smith Administration Building at BMS. Up for grabs are items including sheet metal, autographed jackets, rides with favorite drivers, and much more! Item preview begins at 5 p.m. with live auction starting at 6 p.m. The auction is open to the public, with proceeds benefiting the Bristol Chapter of SCC.

At 8:30 p.m., it's the start of the Second Annual Night Race 5K presented by Bojangles. The race follows a winding route that includes a sprint down Thunder Valley's legendary drag strip, a spin around the Speedway's challenging high banks, and a finish line party celebrating the arrival of NASCAR's finest haulers as they pull in to the track.

At 9 p.m. witness the biggest, longest-running parade of team haulers in NASCAR. This year the NASCAR Drivers Hauler Parade begins at the Bass Pro Shops store, located in The Pinnacle shopping center just off Exit 74 of Interstate 81. The semitrailers start rolling at 9 p.m., follow a nine-mile route to the Speedway, and arrive at the track at 10 p.m. Fireworks will be shot from four different locations along the route, with a party celebrating the trucks' arrival.

Also at 9 p.m., Lance Stinson will perform live on the Fan Zone Stage.

Friday, Aug. 21, it's Friday Night Lights, featuring practice and qualifying for the Food City 300 and the IRWIN Tools Night Race from 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., sponsored by Bass Pro Shops. The running of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 kicks off with driver introductions at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $35 for adults and $20 for children 15 and under.

The national anthem at the Food City 300 will be performed by Greenville, S.C. resident Benton Blount. Blount is a semifinalist on the NBC network show "America's Got Talent," and will vie for the championship this coming September.

In addition to the always-exciting racing action of the NASCAR XFINITY Series, four drivers will be competing in a "race within the race" as part of Dash 4 Cash. In this third of four Dash 4 Cash events, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Regan Smith and Elliott Sadler will battle for the top spot and an additional $100,000 purse. Smith has won two previous Dash 4 Cash bonuses and captured the checkered flag at last Saturday's Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The final Dash 4 Cash race takes place September 5 at Darlington Raceway.

Throughout the day on Friday, race guests can test their skills in the 2015 Flex Seal Charity Cornhole Classic.  Cost is $40 per team, and each player will receive a tournament t-shirt.  Qualifying tournaments will take place at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Bristol Chapter of SCC.

The all-free Kids Zone will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and this year's post-race concert will be hosted at the Fan Zone stage, featuring performances by DJ DU and Tim Dugger.

On Saturday, Aug. 22, it's the IRWIN Tools Night Race, recently voted one of the top five motorsports events in the world—the only NASCAR event to make the list— on USA Today Reader's Choice Awards on 10Best.com.

The Flex Seal Charity Cornhole Classic continues with rounds at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.  The top four teams automatically move into the Championship Tournament at 3 p.m.  The Kids Zone will also be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Race ceremonies kick off at 5:45 p.m. on the backstretch with the undeniable swagger and sound of Steven Tyler and his band Loving Mary. Tyler will perform his new single, "Love is Your Name," the first from his upcoming solo album with Dot Records. Ticket holders will also be treated to some familiar Aerosmith favorites.

Following the Steven Tyler concert, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Silent Drill Platoon based in Washington, D.C. will perform in the frontstretch.

As a look forward to next September's Battle at Bristol, college football's biggest-ever game, BMS welcomes performances by the University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Band and Virginia Tech's Marching Virginians during the pre-race ceremonies.

Driver introductions for the IRWIN Tools Night Race begin at 7 p.m. Listen for customized mixes of each driver's preferred song by DJ DU, and watch for the 43 Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition trucks as they shuttle the Sprint Cup stars around the track. The trucks are part of the first-ever Bristol Blackout Powered by Chevrolet, and will be pulling BMS trams and sustaining Operations' grueling workload. As part of the Blackout, all Night Race guests are invited to wear their favorite black t-shirt to help black out the stadium.

The evening's national anthem will be performed by children from Motor Racing Outreach (MRO), and capped with a flyover from four F-18 Hornets from Marine Attack Squadron 122, based out of the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C.

This year's Night Race marks a milestone for Jeff Gordon, his team and fans; August 22 is his last appearance at BMS as a full-time Sprint Cup driver. Gordon has announced that the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet will take to track, one last time, in his iconic Rainbow Warrior paint scheme. BMS will distribute more than 100,000 No. 24-branded rally towels for fans to wave on lap 24 of the race. Limited Edition Souvenir Programs will be available for $10, including tax, and feature a custom cover of the Rainbow Warrior car by iconic motorsports artist Sam Bass.

To take in all the racing action like you've never experienced it before, BMS and Yee-Haw Brewing have a unique option to offer race fans. Collaboration between the new craft brewery, based in Johnson City, Tenn., and NASCAR's iconic short track has created Yee-Haw Banks & Brews, a premium viewing—and brewing—area overlooking Turn 1. The space, which encompasses the cushioned, open-air seating area and party deck introduced last August, offers guests ribcage-rattling proximity to track action, as well as palate-pleasing beers on tap.

To help guests navigate the best routes to and from the speedway, please visit our directions and traffic tips website at: http://www.bristolmotorspeedway.com/fans/traffic_directions/.  With alternative options like RallyBus, a crowd-powered, on-demand event travel company, race fans now have more Park-and-Ride options. Visit Rallybus.net/MyBristol for details. For a schedule of the week and a 3D map of BMS grounds, click here

Advance tickets to the IRWIN Tools Night Race tickets start at $79 for single-day access with weekend packages as low as $99. Fans that purchase Night Race tickets are also eligible to put down deposits for tickets and receive priority seating for the Battle at Bristol. For more information, visit BristolTix.com or call (855) 580-5525.