Bristol Motor Speedway is shifting gears this week as the 15th season of Speedway In Lights powered by TVA begins Friday, while the Johnson Controls Ice Rink and HVAC Chill Hill open Thursday.

Along with Thursday’s opening evening of the ice rink and Chill Hill is the Night of Smiles when agencies in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia are awarded grants from the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. Speedway In Lights, one of the country’s largest holiday light shows, features millions of dazzling lights and displays along a 4.5-mile drive-through course that covers both the World’s Fastest Half-Mile and Bristol Dragway. In fact, visitors actually get to take a lap around the iconic Speedway as part of the route, dotted with several new displays.

Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse, an addition to the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies layout, is located underneath the frontstretch grandstands at the Speedway, along with the Panera Bread exhibit, featuring Santa making bread.

Favorite displays are back as well -- including the spectacular Symphony of Lights, consisting of more than 300,000 LED light, covering the entire section of grandstands in turns 3 and 4 of the Speedway.

Christmas Village also returns, featuring several carnival rides, food and craft vendors, along with Santa, all in the BMS infield.

Santa’s Speedway Sleigh, an open-air tram ride, is in operation Wednesday and Thursday nights for the duration of Speedway In Lights.  Each guest receives a coupon for a free bag of marshmallows to roast at the fire pits in Christmas Village. For their comfort, blankets also are available for patrons’ use for the duration of the ride.  

Santa’s Speedway Sleigh begins operation Nov. 23 and leaves from a boarding station located near the HVAC Chill Hill at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets, available at the station, are only $8 for adults and $5 for children. Groups can reserve the entire sleigh, but are asked to call in advance.

The Johnson Controls Ice Rink and HVAC Chill Hill, like Speedway In Lights, have become a winter ritual for thousands of visitors. The rink is the only one in the immediate area, making it an extremely popular winter activity while Chill Hill, a 300-foot snowless slide, is also a must-do event for visitors of all ages.

Cost to skate is only $5, plus an additional $2 to rent skates while pricing for Chill Hill is $7 per person for a 50-minute session. Anyone wishing to take part in the tube slide must be at least 48” tall to ride alone. Children also can ride with someone 16 or older if they are at least 36” tall for an additional $3 cost for the pair.

Both the ice rink and Chill Hill will be open through Jan.15. For a complete listing of operating hours, please visit

Tickets for Speedway In Lights, open nightly 6-10 p.m. through January 7, are available at the BMS gate. Ticket prices for cars are $10 Sunday through Thursday, and $12 Friday and Saturday. Activity van tickets are $15 each night and bus tickets are $65 each night.

For more information concerning Speedway In Lights, the Johnson Controls Ice Rink or HVAC Chill Hill, please call 423-989-6900.