America's Night Race: So much fun it should be a national holiday
Grab your campaign buttons and bumper stickers now. Go ahead and jump on the bandwagon, because there's a major movement underway.
The massive push has begun to make the third weekend in August the next National Holiday.
The pomp and circumstance. The pageantry. The celebrities. The atmosphere. The goosebumps. The vibe generated kinda reminds you of the Kentucky Derby in May or the NCAA Tournament in March. But in August, with fans flocking in from all 50 states and more than 20 countries to grab their seats to watch 500 laps of intense NASCAR racing under the lights inside The Last Great Colosseum, it can only be one thing.
It's America's Night Race, y'all.
It's traditionally the last weekend in summer before schools go back in session and the one where NASCAR Nation gathers at iconic Bristol Motor Speedway in the rolling hills of Northeast Tennessee for one of the biggest, grandest celebrations of family, fun, patriotism, music and speed that you can imagine.
In fact, folks have been having so much fun on an annual basis during the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race weekend that the talk around these parts just won't die down. This is serious business. The people have spoken. They want America's Night Race to become the next National Holiday.
It's really a no-brainer when you think about it. The weekend certainly checks all of the boxes to be considered a National Holiday:
Fun with Friends: There's so much to do during the weekend around the grounds of Bristol Motor Speedway, including stops in the Fan Midway and Fan Zone. There's music, games, food, souvenir haulers, driver appearances, autograph sessions and more. Guest Welcome Villages are positioned strategically to offer guest assistance. You'll also want to kick back and enjoy some NASCAR-style tailgating with your friends prior to each night's race. And speaking of fun, on Thursday, one of the biggest and longest running fan fests on the NASCAR circuit kicks off with Food City Family Race Night. There'll be plenty of appearances by drivers, legends and other celebrities during this event, which takes place in the BMS hospitality area and lasts from noon until 6 p.m.
Family Bonding: Want to bring the kids for an action-packed weekend of racing? Don't worry. BMS provides one of the largest Kids' Zone on the NASCAR circuit with inflatables, games and activities that will entertain your tykes and at the same time give parents peace of mind. The race is the perfect opportunity for parents to share their love of NASCAR with their children. Talk about the science of racing, pick favorite drivers, share some laughs and also some ooohs and aaahs when the powerful race cars speed around the track. The memories you will make at BMS will last a lifetime and likely be passed on through many generations.
Patriotism: You won't find a place that honors, celebrates and cherishes American virtues and values better than Bristol Motor Speedway. From timeless performances of the National Anthem to heartfelt renditions of God Bless the USA, to powerful military flyovers, the red white and blue can be seen everywhere around BMS property. This year there will be additional programs and activities that will be announced in the coming days that will celebrate America better than ever.
Traditions: While you are visiting BMS, you are strongly encouraged to visit the "It's Bristol, Baby" sign located at the track's North Entrance and take a photo or two with the iconic landmark. Then you'll need to go ahead and tour all the other BMS signature photo locations positioned throughout the campus to compile a complete set of images; Speaking of traditions, Bristol always offers a fun pre-race show and something the fans really look forward to every year are the unique driver introductions. Each driver is introduced to a song that he picked and was voted on by the fans. Fans also look forward to the continual entertainment provided by Colossus TV, the world's largest center-hung stadium video display. Completed in April 2016, Colossus TV has the highest viewing quality of any permanent outdoor stadium display in the world, featuring 2880 x 1350 lines of resolution. Compare that to the average home HD TV screen at 1920 x 1080. It currently hosts nearly 54 million LEDs and 18 million pixels, which are grouped tighter than the large-scale outdoor displays in Times Square.
Awesome Music: Racing and music have been tied together over the years like peanut butter and jelly. Bristol Motor Speedway has built a reputation for bringing in some of the most entertaining acts to perform at various times throughout the weekend. The headlining act always takes to the infield center stage along the backstretch during pre-race activities and revvs up the crowd just before the green flag drops. There's also music acts playing all around the property during the weekend. You'll want to check the schedule of performances so you won't miss a single beat.
Great Camping: While hotel rooms are nice, sometimes it's great fun to get outside and become one with nature. Bristol Motor Speedway provides you with the perfect opportunity to access your inner outdoors enthusiast during the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. BMS owns and operates five campgrounds around the facility and each provides a variety of amenities. Whether you drive a state of the art RV or prefer to anchor a tent in the ground, BMS has you covered. Once you are here camping, you will have easy access to the grounds and all of the excitement going on inside the stadium. Your ticket to fun is merely a quick walk away.
Tasty Food: If you love food, Bristol has you covered. Several new specialty menu items were revealed in April and will once again be featured on the menu, including the Triple Bacon Colossus burger and buffalo chicken mac-and-cheese over fries. These menu items will be available at concession stands near Gates 14 and 15 and near Gate 7. For those who crave the quality taste of Bush's Best products, two Bush's Beans Trackside Cafés are located on concourse level. New this year is the Bush's Beans Walking Taco, which features fiesta and steakhouse beans and chili bean chili on Fritos with salsa, cheese, lettuce and sour cream. Kids can also get in on the fun with special kids' meal options. Located near Gates 7 and 14, the official kids' meal includes a choice of mac-and-cheese or a PB&J sandwich, fruit snacks or goldfish, Capri Sun or chocolate milk and a toy.
Did we mention, great racing? There's so much fun to be had and we haven't even mentioned the real star of the show. Yes, it's Bristol, baby! Some of the most memorable moments in NASCAR have taken place during the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night race on the .533-mile oval that's nicknamed The World's Fastest Half-Mile. NASCAR's best drivers will beat and bang on each other and only the strongest will survive 500 laps of mayhem and chaos inside the high-banked, all concrete bullring. There are four races scheduled over three nights, including action in the Whelen Modified Tour, Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series and the Monster Energy Cup Series. In the Cup race, you'll get to see all of your favorite drivers doing what they do best, including Bristol dominator Kyle Busch, his arch-rival Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, 2016 Night Race winner Kevin Harvick, Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon, defending series champ Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace.
So if you want to help the cause, and get behind the push to make America's Night Race the next National Holiday, go ahead and call your congressmen and women, senators, mayors and governors. Heck, even call the president himself. Tell them it's way past the time for committee hearings and town hall gatherings on this motion. There's plenty of evidence supporting this request. Tell them that you too would gladly give your vote to add these three magical August days and nights in Northeast Tennessee to the rotation of American holidays. Hey, it fits perfectly on the calendar right between Independence Day and Labor Day.
If you want to bring the entire clan out to experience the amazing fun that is America's Night Race, Bristol Motor Speedway officials are making it easier than ever for families to enjoy the weekend. Kids' tickets (12 and under) are free and adult tickets start at $30 for Thursday's (Aug. 16) UNOH 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and the Bush's Beans 150 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race. On Friday (Aug. 17), kids' tickets are free and adult tickets start at $30 for the Food City 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race and Pinty's Qualifying. On Sunday (Aug. 18) adult tickets start at $70 for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race and kids' tickets are $10. For all races, each child must have a physical ticket in hand to enter the gates. The Bristol Motor Speedway ticket office is the only authorized location that can produce the free kids' tickets. Tickets can also be purchased for a limited time directly from any neighborhood Food City store. To purchase tickets, please call 423-BRISTOL or buy them online at www.BRISTOLTIX.com.