Tip No. 7 - "Boots on the Ground" - It's Race Week
Another day closer to Food City 500 Race Weekend! We have some more advice headed your way. But before we do that, should you need to catch up on our previous tips, simply click one of the links below.
Tip No. 1 - Advice and Information to Plan Ahead for Parking
Tip No. 2 - Essential Items to Bring
Tip No. 3 - Bristol Transportation: Event Shuttles and Trams
Tip No. 4 - Stocking Up For The "Must Do" and "Must See"
Tip No. 5 - Schedule Properly To Take In The Full Show
Tip No. 6 - Make Sure You're "In The Know"
Time for Lucky No. 7
Tip No. 7 - "Boots on the Ground" - It's Race Week - What to do when you get here!
That's a very subjective title for this tip. After all, it all depends "WHEN" you get here... You know, when your boots (or flip-flops) hit the ground. Some are already here. Some will arrive mid-week, while others will simply arrive right on time to just catch the Food City 500 green flag.
It's kind of like that office meeting many of us are familiar with. You have the 15-minute early arrivals obsessed with whether or not the Power Point is going to work and are laser-focused on every detail, with the desire to be buttoned up on all levels and not miss anything. Then there's the five-minute early folks who are able to grab a cup of coffee, break out the smart phone and check out the previous night's scores/highlights and maybe even knock out a round or two of "insert favorite mobile game here." And finally you have the folks that hit the meeting room just as he meeting starts (or maybe even five minutes late) looking to get right to the serious meat and potatoes with no other concerns.
Let's "Bristolize" this.
So, if you're going to arrive anytime between now and let's say… Wednesday (April 13), you've got some serious time to play with. So what do you do?
Obviously you establish your ground. You get your campsite set up, raise your flags and breathe easy. You're here early. Meet your fellow Bristol family members, walk around the property; visit Guest Services in the Bruton Smith Building. You have some time to enjoy anything and everything before the mad rush. So…
Visit State Street in Downtown Bristol, one of America's unique cities. You can literally have a meal at Macado's in Bristol, Tennessee, walk 40-feet across the street and go antique shopping in Bristol, Virginia. Yep, that's why it's called State Street. The double-yellow lines that divide the street truly represent the Tennessee-Virginia state line. Also, make sure you grab some "selfies" under the Bristol sign at the North end of State Street.
Need some serious shopping time? Make sure you hit The Pinnacle located just off I-81, Exit 74. Anchored by Bass Pro Shops and a wealth of major retailers and restaurants, you can occupy the better part of a day here and not walk away disappointed. And don't forget to roll through one of several conveniently located Food City stores to make sure you have all your race weekend camping/tailgating needs.
Other cool day trips? Visit historic Abingdon, Virginia. Just 30 minutes from BMS up I-81, this quaint town provides plenty of shopping and dining experiences that make it worth the trip.
Likewise, you can travel just about the same distance South of BMS to Jonesborough, better known as Tennessee's oldest town. Small-town shops and eateries surrounded by scenic backdrops will ease your mind.
If you're really in for a major day trip, take the ride down I-81 to I-40 and visit The Great Smoky Mountains. The Sevierville-Pigeon Forge-Gatlinburg area continues to hold its ranking among America's most-popular tourist destinations. Anchored by Dollywood, Ripley's Aquarium, the scenic Smoky Mountain beauty and a bevy of amusement/entertainment venues, this could become a mini-vacation within your Bristol getaway.
See below to finish out your week…
Let's say it's Thursday. It's not quite crunch time for you… but it's pretty darn close. You'll likely encounter fellow Bristol fans in the campgrounds and in regional hotels. Introduce yourself, shake hands and make friends. Keep in mind that there will be cars hitting the track on Friday.
By all means go to Guest Services on the 1st floor of the Bruton Smith Building. Grab your Food City 500 Guest Guide and your Food City 500 3D Map and Schedule and study hard. Locate all the key locations like Guest Welcome Villages, Fan Zone, Music Stages, Merchandise Midway, Grandstand Gates and more. Be a sponge!
By doing so you'll be in great shape for the remainder of the weekend.
Regardless of whether or not you get here Friday, Saturday or Sunday… Cars are on the track. We're racin'. Again, make sure you do your homework. Make sure you're up-to-speed on traffic and parking (see Tip 1 or visit our online traffic and parking pages).
When your toes touch down, find your nearest Guest Welcome Village or Guest Services location. There you can grab your Guest Guide, ask those critical questions and put the final plans on how you plan on spending your day.
Remember, at Bristol there's plenty of action both on and off the track. Don't forget the Fan Zone located near the Marquee Sign/North Entrance. There you'll find music, our Kids Zone and plenty to keep you entertained Friday through Sunday.
We know race fans love to sport their favorite colors. Make sure you hit Merchandise Midway (located between the Speedway and Dragway near the Orange Bridge). Plus visit Speedway World Gift Shop on the first floor of the Bruton Smith Building (good selection of exclusive BMS/Bristol Dragway/Battle at Bristol merchandise) and shop until your heart's content.
Have a great week and as always, please let us know how we may assist. It's Bristol Baby!