Jerry Caldwell was named today as General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway by Bruton Smith, Chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc.

Caldwell, most recently Vice President of Corporate Sales and Acting General Manager at BMS, fills the position held since 1996 by Jeff Byrd, who passed away Oct. 17. Caldwell joined the BMS Sales and Marketing Department in 1997, and was promoted to Vice President of Corporate Sales in 2009.

“Everyone who knew Jeff knows the big shoes I have to fill,” said Caldwell, 35. “He was my mentor and the greatest compliment I can pay him is to work as hard as I can with the great team we have in place here to take Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway to another level, just like he did when he came here.

“There is no replacing Jeff Byrd, but I greatly appreciate the confidence that Bruton and the rest of the SMI team have put in me and our team here. Keeping Bristol Motor Speedway not only at the current status it is recognized, but taking it to the next level does not rest on one person’s shoulders, but with the entire incredible team that has been assembled here. Jeff said that many times and I agree with it completely.”

A three-time salesperson-of-the-year at BMS, Caldwell also has been named BMS Employee of the Year and Speedway Motorsports Salesperson of the year.

“Jerry is the ideal person to continue the legacy left by the loss of Jeff Byrd,” said Smith Monday, upon introducing Caldwell as the new general manager. “He filled in nicely in a difficult situation in Jeff’s absence, juggling his already full plate as well as many of Jeff’s duties.

“He first worked with Jeff more than 15 years ago as an intern at R.J. Reynolds and I can think of no one more prepared than Jerry to handle the challenge of keeping Bristol at the top of the hill.”

A native of Lexington, N.C., Caldwell is a 1997 graduate of King College in Bristol with a B.A. in Business. During his time at King, he also spent a summer studying at the International Business Institute in Europe. A member of the Bristol Noon Rotary Club, Caldwell is involved with the United Way as well as his church, Grace Fellowship in Johnson City, Tenn., and its Young Life program.

Caldwell and his wife, Belton, are the proud parents of four children and reside in Jonesborough, Tenn.