Race sponsorships for NASCAR events can be difficult to come by and it isn’t often they last longer than a few events. 

Unless, of course, a track is fortunate enough to have Food City in its corner, as Bristol Motor Speedway has for the past two decades. The grocery chain, which boasts more than 100 stores in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky, partnered with BMS in 1992 to sponsor both the Food City 500 Sprint Cup race in March and the Food City 250 Nationwide Series event in August. The longest running primary sponsorship in the series continues Aug. 24 when the 21st edition of the Food City 250 takes the green flag. 

“It’s been a great experience being associated with Busch and now with the Nationwide Series for the 20-plus years that Food City has been a sponsor,” said Steven C. Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Food City.  “It’s also been a true joy to work with the tremendous team at Bristol Motor Speedway and witness first-hand the many positive changes that have taken place at arguably the best track in NASCAR.” 

Over the last 20 years, fans have seen some of NASCAR’s biggest and brightest stars in victory lane after the Food City 250, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2004), Matt Kenseth (1999, 2006), Kevin Harvick (2010, 2011), Brad Keselowski (2008), Ryan Newman (2005) and Kasey Kahne (2007). 

“We’ve been privileged to work with many of NASCAR’s rising stars as they got their first taste of the high banks at Bristol driving in the always exciting Nationwide Series,” said Smith. “A number of Sprint Cup’s most talented drivers have won the Food City 250 over the past 20 years, including Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth and Newman.  

“We’ve enjoyed countless fun and exciting moments.  Some of my favorite memories include Steve Grissom’s trip to victory lane, when he was so exhausted he was literally interviewed sitting down, Jeff Fuller’s win the weekend he became a father and of course the opportunity to present the trophy to my good friend Jimmy Spencer, who Food City worked with on a number of sponsorships.”    

BMS general manager Jerry Caldwell says the relationship with Food City is definitely special.

“Our partnership with Food City is very unique, not just in its longevity but in that they truly are just like an extension of the BMS family,” said BMS Caldwell. “Believe me, I know how fortunate we are to have such wonderful folks in our corner. Everyone at Bristol Motor Speedway truly appreciates their support and understands just how essential they are and have been to our success.”