By Gloria Flucks, Bristol Fan

I remember growing up and watching five minutes of race highlights on ABC's Wide World of Sports and being amazed.  I was thrilled when the Daytona 500 finally was aired with flag to flag coverage.

As I continued to follow the sport, I fell in love with a little short track in northeast Tennessee, watching the first escapades of Earnhardt vs. Labonte. I knew then, that I wanted and had to have tickets to Bristol.

In December 2002, when a new grandstand was built, tickets became available.  I sat glued to my phone for more than five hours, hitting the redial button, until I finally did not get a busy signal.  Since it was now after 1:00 p.m., I knew in my heart there was no way tickets to my favorite track would still be available for purchase.

I was amazed when the ticket agent told me they still had tickets.  I was finally going to go to a race at BRISTOL!  Of course, since it was the beginning of December, the only hotel room I could find was 120 miles away.  I didn’t care, I was going to Bristol!

Since I was coming in from Virginia, I heeded the advice of the speedway and took one of the alternate routes to avoid traffic.  As I drove along Highway 394, I got chills when the speedway, perched upon what seems like its own pedestal, came into view for the first time. 

I was really at Bristol!  The staff was so friendly and willing to help with any of my needs.  As I was traveling alone, I was quickly “adopted” by the family seated next to me in the grandstands.  So much so, that “dad” was willing to kick some butt when he mistook some friendly bantering between race fans as someone being abusive.  We now keep in touch year round through calls, emails, and cards.

I am blessed to be able to attend races at several venues throughout the year.  None compare to Bristol’s fan experience... not to mention the fantastic racing.  I will never forget the first race after the track was resurfaced.  I sat in my seat and watched the cars go three wide into turn three and thought they can’t do that.  I was amazed when they made it through.  They were actually racing three wide in the turns at Bristol!  I know some do not like the changes made to the track because they do not have to wreck someone to pass.  But how can you not appreciate three wide racing on the World’s Fastest Half-Mile?

I have had the good fortune of bringing friends to their first race at Bristol on three occasions.  Each time, I drove the same route I took in my maiden voyage along Hwy. 394 so I could watch the expressions on their faces as they saw the speedway for their first time.  Each time a huge smile came on their face.  Each one has become a Bristol fan for life.

If a trip to Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the items on your bucket list and you have the means to do so, I urge you to call the ticket office and not put if off until later.  I know from personal experience, there is no guarantee that “later” will ever come.  Great tickets for fantastic racing are just a call away, or a few clicks of the mouse. You will not regret your decision to get Bristolized!

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