When Ernie Simons got the call, he thought for sure he was being “punked.”

Upon learning that he and his wife, Jennifer, had won Bristol Motor Speedway’s iBelong at the NASCAR Awards Banquet Giveaway, Ernie was in shock.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I thought somebody was trying to pull my leg. I’m still pinching myself to make sure I’m not asleep.”

The long-time Bristol fans and season ticket holders have never been to Las Vegas and can’t wait to take part in NASCAR’s big night.

“My husband and I have never won anything,” said Jennifer. “I can’t tell you how excited we are about this. My husband has been to a lot of places but I’ve never really been anywhere and to get to go to Las Vegas, well, it’s just so exciting.”

Both Jennifer and Ernie suffer from medical issues which have left little time for vacations.

“We’ve been together eight years and we’ve never been on a vacation,” said Jennifer. “And we truly need one. We thank Bristol Motor Speedway from the bottom of our hearts for this amazing trip.

“We really are so excited. We love going to the races at Bristol, there’s really no place like it and for them to do something like this, to give race fans the chance to go to the banquet says it all. Bristol is by far our favorite track, everybody there is so nice and it’s such a fabulous organization. They’re truly fan-oriented and very giving to the community.”

While Ernie is a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, Jennifer has always liked Mark Martin. They agree, however, that at the NASCAR Sprint Cup banquet, that seeing all the other drivers will be a special experience.

“We really like all of them,” said Ernie. “And when it comes down to it, we’ll be happy seeing all of the ones there.

“I’m ready to go ahead and get on out there. I just wish it was already time to go.”

The Simons’ will receive airfare, lodging, tickets to the banquet and $500 spending cash.

Second prize in the BMS iBelong contest, reimbursement of 2011 BMS season ticket costs, went to Jill Roaden (Corbin, Ky.) while Lindy Brandes (Maryville, Tenn.) took third prize, two passes to the Pit Road Party Zone on Food City 500 race day in 2011. Fourth prize, two passes to the Bristol Club Luxury Skybox Suite for the March 2011 race weekend, went to Rea Larson (Quesnel, British Columbia) and fifth prize, two Half-Mile Club Fan Hospitality Passes for the March 2011 weekend, went to D. Edward Young (Conyers, Ga.).

Winners of the BMS hats and 100th race collector towels were William Cotrill (Oakdale, Penn.), Mary Mullins (Erwin, Tenn.) and Craig Reedy (West Salem, Wisc.). Alan Cady (Fulton, N.Y.) and Paul DiGennaro (Pensacola, Fla.) won Bristol iBelong crew shirts, and Diane Arnold (Tipp City, Ohio) and Jeffrey Bradford (Jonesborough, Tenn.) were winners of the IRWIN Tools tool bags.

Bristol Motor Speedway’s 2011 season kicks off with Ford Fan Friday March 18, followed by the Scotts Turf Builder 300 March 19 and the Food City 500 March 20. August race week begins with the O’Reilly 200/UNOH Perfect Storm 150 Wednesday, Aug. 24, followed by the Food City 250 Aug. 26 and the IRWIN Tools Night Race Aug. 27.

Season packages and single event tickets are available for all BMS NASCAR races and may be purchased at www.bristoltix.com or via phone at 423-BRISTOL (274-7865) or 1-866-415-4158.