Bristol Motor Speedway Media Guide

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Bristol Motor Speedway History

Known as The Last Great Colosseum, Bristol Motor Speedway’s stadium-like structure serves as a versatile multi-use venue that hosts major auto races, football games, concerts and many other captivating events.

Work began on what was then called Bristol International Speedway in 1960 and it took approximately one year to finish. Many of the original ideas facility founders Larry Carrier, Carl Moore and R.G. Pope came up with for the track were sketched on envelopes and brown paper bags.

Purchase of the land on which BMS now sits, as well as construction of the track, cost approximately $600,000. The entire layout for BMS covered a little more than 100 acres.

The very first NASCAR race at BMS, held on July 30, 1961, was won by Jack Smith with relief help from Johnny Allen.

The facility was held by several different owners in the early days, but eventually found its way back to Carrier ownership in 1985.  On Jan. 22, 1996, Carrier sold the speedway to O. Bruton Smith and Speedway Motorsports, Inc., at a purchase price of $26 million.

The sprawling facility has come a long way from its early roots.  Today the Colosseum offers guests a wide range of accommodations, from luxurious man cave suites to bar stools in the Busch Banks and Brews Deck to a relaxing environment high atop the track at the Turn One Tavern to a nightclub inside the oval called The Apex. The BMS footprint now includes more than 500 acres of the surrounding area. 

The short track is a (0.533-mile) concrete oval with corner banking ranging from 24 to 28 degrees and a pair of 650-feet straightaways. Also part of the complex, the adjacent quarter-mile dragstrip, Bristol Dragway, offers more than 50 events annually, including the marquee NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals every Father’s Day weekend. The Thunder Valley Amphitheatre transforms the dragway into a premier concert venue on select dates to host some of the world’s best music acts.

While enjoying racing at the iconic oval, fans are offered a unique viewing experience courtesy of Colossus TV, the world’s largest outdoor center-hung four-sided video screen with a 540,000-watt audio system.

Bristol hosts races in several NASCAR touring series, highlighted by two major NASCAR Cup Series weekends. The biggest names in NASCAR, including Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Bobby Allison have earned victories at the legendary track.

For 32 years Food City has sponsored the Spring Cup race at Bristol. Food City is NASCAR’s second longest running race entitlement sponsor in the sport. Food City has been involved in the event since 1987 through their hosting of one of the most popular fan events on the NASCAR circuit, Food City Family Race Night.

The historic facility, forged amid the scenic mountains of Northeast Tennessee near the Virginia state line, earned its reputation for producing incredible finishes during its most storied event, referred to as “America’s Night Race.”

The first Night Race at Bristol was held in 1978, and stands today as one of the first on the Cup circuit to illuminate NASCAR’s marquee touring series under bright stadium lights. In 2023, BMS will celebrate its 45th anniversary of conducting major auto races after dark and appropriately both the Food City Dirt Race and the Bass Pro Shops Night Race in September will be held under the lights.

In 2023, the iconic Night Race will continue to be the elimination race in the Round of 16 Playoffs for the Cup Series. As always, the drama is sure to be intense as four Cup drivers seasons will end at Bristol after the 500 grueling laps in playoff mode.

In 2016, Bristol enjoyed its “Biggest Year Yet” hosting the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol, where border rivals Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee played a college football game in front of an NCAA-record crowd of 156,990.

Prior to the game, a special country music concert was held, featuring a trio of successful local acts. The Honda Ridgeline Bristol Tailgate featured Kenny Chesney, The Band Perry and Old Dominion in front of a crowd of more than 40,000.

Interestingly, two other football games have been held inside the BMS oval. In 1961, the NFL’s Washington Redskins took on the Philadelphia Eagles in a pre-season game. The Eagles won, 17-10. The week following the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol, BMS held a second game in 2016, the Food City Bucs at Bristol presented by Food City. The local favorite East Tennessee State University Buccaneers upset rival Western Carolina University 34-31 in a thrilling come-from-behind victory.

One thing is for certain, Bristol Motor Speedway will continue to showcase itself as a facility widely regarded as a major sports and entertainment destination.

Bristol Motor Speedway Track Facts

Track Dimensions:

0.533-mile concrete oval
Degree of banking in corners: Variable, 24 to 28 Degrees
Degree of banking on frontstretch: 5 to 9 degrees
Degree of banking on backstretch: 4 to 8 degrees
Straightaways: 650 feet
Concrete racing surface is 40 feet wide

BMS Nicknames:

“World’s Fastest Half-Mile”
“The Last Great Colosseum”
“Thunder Valley”
“Holy Grail of Short Tracks”

Race Distances:

NASCAR Cup Series event: 500 laps (266.5 miles concrete layout)
NASCAR Xfinity Series event: 300 laps (159.9 miles)
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event: 200 laps (106.6 miles, concrete layout)
ARCA Menards Series event: 200 laps (106.6 miles)

Media Partners:

Television coverage:
FOX/FS1 (Food City Dirt Race, Craftsman Truck Series races)
NBC/USA (Bass Pro Shops Night Race, Food City 300)

PRN Radio Network (Cup and Xfinity Series races)
MRN Radio Network (Truck Series races, ARCA Menards Series race)

Online: and

Social Media Channels:

Twitter: @ItsBristolBaby
Facebook: ItsBristolBaby
Instagram: @ItsBristolBaby

Bristol Motor Speedway Track Records:

NASCAR Cup Series qualifying record:
Ryan Blaney, 132.075 mph, 14.528 sec., 4/5/19

NASCAR Cup Series race record (500 laps):
Charlie Glotzbach, 101.074 mph (2:38:12), 7/11/71

Xfinity Series qualifying record:
Kyle Larson, 127.988 mph, 14.992 sec., 4/22/17

Xfinity Series race record (300 laps):
Elliott Sadler, 94.740 mph (1:41:16), 3/17/12

Craftsman Truck Series qualifying record:
Kyle Busch, 129.413 mph, 14.827 sec., 8/16/17

Craftsman Truck Series race record (200 laps):
Brad Keselowski, 91.919 mph (1:09:35), 8/20/14

Most Bristol victories (overall):
Kyle Busch, 23 (9 Cup, 9 Xfinity, 5 Truck)

Most Bristol Cup Wins (Driver):
Darrell Waltrip, 12 (7 consecutive)

Most Bristol Cup Wins (Owner):
Junior Johnson, 21 (8 consecutive)

Most Bristol Xfinity Wins (Driver):
Kyle Busch, 9 (3 consecutive)

Most Bristol Truck Series Wins (Driver):
Kyle Busch, 5 (3 consecutive)

Most Bristol wins (manufacturer):
Chevrolet, 45 (Ford is second with 36)

Most Bristol poles:
(tie) Cale Yarborough, 9; and Mark Martin, 9

Most Top Fives:
(tie) Richard Petty, 26; Darrell Waltrip, 26

Most Top 10s:
Richard Petty, 37

Most Lead Changes:
40- April 1991

Fewest Lead Changes:
0 – March 1973

Most Leaders:
16 – April 1989

Fewest Leaders:
1 – March 1973

Most Cautions:
20 – three times, most recently August 2003

Fewest Cautions:
0 – July 1971

Most Caution Laps:
167 – July 1965

Fewest Caution Laps:
0 – July 1971

Most on the lead lap:
25 – March 2001

Fewest on the lead lap:
1 – 22 times, most recently August 1981

Most Cars running at Finish:
42 – March 2008

Fewest Cars running at Finish:
7 – March 1966

Most Laps Led by a winner:
Cale Yarborough, 500, March 1973

Fewest Laps Led by a winner:
Fred Lorenzen, 1, July 1964

Closest Margin of Victory:
0.064 of a second, March 2007

Greatest Margin of Victory:
7.630 seconds, April 1994

NCAA record for spectator attendance at a college football game: 159,990 (Sept. 10, Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech)

Bristol Motor Speedway Past Winners

NASCAR Cup Series Food City spring race:

2023    Christopher Bell (dirt)

2022    Kyle Busch (dirt)

2021    Joey Logano (dirt)

2020    Brad Keselowski

2019    Kyle Busch

2018    Kyle Busch

2017    Jimmie Johnson

2016    Carl Edwards

2015    Matt Kenseth

2014    Carl Edwards

2013    Kasey Kahne

2012    Brad Keselowski

2011    Kyle Busch

2010    Jimmie Johnson

2009    Kyle Busch

2008    Jeff Burton

2007    Kyle Busch

2006    Kurt Busch

2005    Kevin Harvick

2004    Kurt Busch

2003    Kurt Busch

2002    Kurt Busch

2001    Elliott Sadler

2000    Rusty Wallace

1999    Rusty Wallace

1998    Jeff Gordon

1997    Jeff Gordon

1996    Jeff Gordon

1995    Jeff Gordon

1994    Dale Earnhardt

1993    Rusty Wallace

1992    Alan Kulwicki

1991    Rusty Wallace

1990    Davey Allison

1989    Rusty Wallace

1988    Bill Elliott

1987    Dale Earnhardt

1986    Rusty Wallace

1985    Dale Earnhardt Sr.

1984    Darrell Waltrip

1983    Darrell Waltrip

1982    Darrell Waltrip

1981    Darrell Waltrip

1980    Dale Earnhardt

1979    Dale Earnhardt

1978    Darrell Waltrip

1977    Cale Yarborough

1976    Cale Yarborough

1975    Richard Petty

1974    Cale Yarborough

1973    Cale Yarborough

1972    Bobby Allison

1971    David Pearson

1970    Donnie Allison

1969    Bobby Allison

1968    David Pearson

1967    David Pearson

1966    Dick Hutcherson

1965    Junior Johnson

1964    Fred Lorenzen

1963    Fireball Roberts

1962    Bobby Johns

1961    Joe Weatherly

NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race:

2022   Chris Buescher

2021    Kyle Larson

2020    Kevin Harvick

2019    Denny Hamlin

2018    Kurt Busch

2017    Kyle Busch

2016    Kevin Harvick

2015    Joey Logano

2014    Joey Logano

2013    Matt Kenseth

2012    Denny Hamlin

2011    Brad Keselowski

2010    Kyle Busch

2009    Kyle Busch

2008    Carl Edwards

2007    Carl Edwards

2006    Matt Kenseth

2005    Matt Kenseth

2004    Dale Earnhardt Jr.

2003    Kurt Busch

2002    Jeff Gordon

2001    Tony Stewart

2000    Rusty Wallace

1999    Dale Earnhardt

1998    Mark Martin

1997    Dale Jarrett

1996    Rusty Wallace

1995    Terry Labonte

1994    Rusty Wallace

1993    Mark Martin

1992    Darrell Waltrip

1991    Alan Kulwicki

1990    Ernie Irvan

1989    Darrell Waltrip

1988    Dale Earnhardt

1987    Dale Earnhardt

1986    Darrell Waltrip

1985    Dale Earnhardt

1984    Terry Labonte

1983    Darrell Waltrip

1982    Darrell Waltrip

1981    Darrell Waltrip

1980    Cale Yarborough

1979    Darrell Waltrip

1978    Cale Yarborough

1977    Cale Yarborough

1976    Cale Yarborough

1975    Richard Petty

1974    Cale Yarborough

1973    Benny Parsons

1972    Bobby Allison

1971    Charlie Glotzbach

1970    Bobby Allison

1969    David Pearson

1968    David Pearson

1967    Richard Petty

1966    Paul Goldsmith

1965    Ned Jarrett

1964    Fred Lorenzen

1963    Fred Lorenzen

1962    Jim Paschal

1961    Jack Smith


Most NASCAR Cup Series Victories at BMS:

Darrell Waltrip         12

Dale Earnhardt         9

Rusty Wallace           9

Cale Yarborough       9

Kyle Busch                9

Kurt Busch               6

Jeff Gordon              5

David Pearson          5

Bobby Allison           4

Carl Edwards            4

Matt Kenseth            4

Kevin Harvick           3

Brad Keselowski      3

Joey Logano             3

Fred Lorenzen           3

Richard Petty            3

Denny Hamlin           2

Jimmie Johnson         2

Alan Kulwicki             2

Terry Labonte            2

Mark Martin               2

Davey Allison             1

Donnie Allison            1

Jeff Burton                 1

Dale Earnhardt Jr.      1

Bill Elliott                   1

Charlie Glotzbach       1

Paul Goldsmith           1

Dick Hutcherson         1

Ernie Irvan                 1

Dale Jarrett                1

Ned Jarrett                 1

Bobby Johns               1

Junior Johnson            1

Kasey Kahne               1

Kyle Larson                 1

Benny Parsons            1

Jim Paschal                 1

Fireball Roberts           1

Elliott Sadler               1

Jack Smith                  1

Tony Stewart               1

Joe Weatherly              1

NASCAR Xfinity Series:

2022   Noah Gragson

2021   A.J. Allmendinger

2020    Noah Gragson

            Chase Briscoe

2019    Christopher Bell

            Tyler Reddick

2018    Ryan Preece

            Kyle Larson

2017    Erik Jones

            Kyle Busch

2016    Erik Jones

            Austin Dillon

2015    Joey Logano

            Austin Dillon

2014    Kyle Busch

            Ryan Blaney

2013    Kyle Busch

            Kyle Busch

2012    Elliott Sadler

            Joey Logano

2011    Kyle Busch

            Kyle Busch

2010    Justin Allgaier

            Kyle Busch

2009    Kevin Harvick

            David Ragan

2008    Clint Bowyer

            Brad Keselowski

2007    Carl Edwards

            Kasey Kahne

2006    Kyle Busch

            Matt Kenseth

2005    Kevin Harvick

            Ryan Newman

2004    Martin Truex Jr.

            Dale Earnhardt Jr.

2003    Kevin Harvick

            Michael Waltrip

2002    Jeff Green

            Jimmy Spencer

2001    Matt Kenseth

            Kevin Harvick

2000    Sterling Marlin

            Kevin Harvick

1999    Jason Keller

            Matt Kenseth

1998    Elliott Sadler

            Kevin LePage

1997    Jeff Burton      

            Jimmy Spencer

1996    Mark Martin

            Jeff Fuller

1995    Steve Grissom

            Steve Grissom

1994    David Green

            Kenny Wallace

1993    Michael Waltrip

            Todd Bodine

1992    Harry Gant

            Todd Bodine

1991    Bobby Labonte

            Dale Jarrett

1990    L.D. Ottinger

            Rick Mast

1989    Rick Wilson

            Mark Martin

1988    Dale Earnhardt

            Larry Pearson

1987    Morgan Shepherd

            Larry Pearson

1986    Morgan Shepherd

            Brett Bodine

1985    Darrell Waltrip

            Brett Bodine

1984    Morgan Shepherd

1983    Morgan Shepherd

            Sam Ard

1982    Phil Parson

            Jack Ingram

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series:

2023   Joey Logano (dirt)

2022   Ben Rhodes (dirt)

            Ty Majeski

2021    Martin Truex Jr. (dirt)

             Chandler Smith

2020    Sam Mayer

2019    Brett Moffitt

2018    Johnny Sauter

2017    Kyle Busch

2016    Ben Kennedy

2015    Ryan Blaney

2014    Brad Keselowski

2013    Kyle Busch

2012    Timothy Peters

2011    Kevin Harvick

2010    Kyle Busch

2009    Kyle Busch

2008    Kyle Busch

2007    Johnny Benson Jr.

2006    Mark Martin

2005    Mike Skinner

2004    Carl Edwards

2003    Travis Kvapil

2000-2002     No Truck Race at BMS

1999    Jack Sprague

1998    Ron Hornaday Jr.

1997    Ron Hornaday Jr.

1996    Rick Cerelli

1995    Joe Ruttman

ARCA Menards Series (previously called the K&N Pro Series):

2022    Sammy Smith

2021    Ty Gibbs

2020    Sam Mayer

2019    Sam Mayer

            Sam Mayer

2018    Todd Gilliland

2017    Harrison Burton

2016    Chad Finchum

2015    Kyle Benjamin

2014    Eddie MacDonald

2013    Dylan Kwasniewski

2012    Nelson Piquet Jr.


BMS Memorable Moments

> Joey Logano wins historic Food City Dirt Race in 2021 at BMS, first NASCAR Cup Series race on dirt in more than 50 years

In 2021 BMS transformed its iconic high-banked, half-mile oval into a state of the art dirt track to host the first NASCAR Cup Series race on a dirt surface in more than 50 years. Team Penske driver Joey Logano was able to hold on for the much sought after victory on that March afternoon in Tennessee. The day before Martin Truex Jr. raced to victory on the BMS dirt track in the Pinty's Truck Race on Dirt in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Truex piloted the No. 51 Toyota owned by Kyle Busch Motorsports to the win. 

> AJ Allmendinger and Austin Cindric have wild Xfinity Series regular season finish, September 2021

A.J. Allmendinger and Austin Cindric were in a classic battle for the Xfinity Series regular season title and the two made contact on the final lap of the Food City 300 as they crossed the finish line in the 2021 Xfinity Series regular season finale at BMS in spectacular fashion, with Allmendinger nudging his Chevy's car out front by a nose. The aftermath of the finish was wild, as cars careened into each other and crashed. Allmendinger's winning car was so badly damaged that he was not able to drive the car to BMS Victory Lane. In fact, Allmendinger had to walk to victory lane after getting checked and released from the infield care center. The finish was certainly one of the wildest in BMS history and will forever be regarded as one of the most memorable.

> Angered Tony Stewart throws helmet at Matt Kenseth’s car after two tangle on track
BMS Night Race, August 2012

Bristol is known for many heated driver scuffles and the most famous one took place during America’s Night Race in August 2012 when Tony Stewart threw his helmet at Matt Kenseth’s car as it sped down pit road after the two drivers tangled on track. The two drivers rubbed fenders coming off turn four as they battled for the lead and both cars spun out of control, with Stewart’s machine impacting the inside retaining wall and suffering race-ending damage. Stewart wasn’t pleased with the outcome and shared his frustration via the helmet toss as Kenseth’s car returned to the track after his pit crew repaired his minor damage. 

> Rusty Wallace honors Kulwicki with “Polish Victory Lap”
BMS Food City 500, April 1993        

After winning the Food City 500 in April 1993, Rusty Wallace performed a “Polish Victory Lap” to honor the late NASCAR Cup Series champion Alan Kulwicki. The special post-race celebration, which has the driver turn his race car around and drive the track in a clockwise direction so he can wave directly to the fans, was invented by Kulwicki, who had won at Bristol two times in earlier years. Kulwicki tragically died in a plane crash while traveling to Bristol from Knoxville, Tennessee a few days before the running of the ‘93 Food City 500.

> Bristol Motor Speedway turns on the lights, dazzles fans with first-ever Night Race
BMS Night Race, August 1978        

Looking to get fans out of the hot and humid conditions of a sweltry Sunday afternoon in northeast Tennessee, BMS officials took a gamble for the August 1978 race and held the race on Saturday night by installing huge stadium lights to illuminate the racing action. Fans approved and were treated to an exciting race that was won by NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough in his famed Junior Johnson-tuned No. 11 Oldsmobile. America’s Night Race will celebrate its 42nd year of racing under the lights in 2020. Many other tracks have copied the idea and now host their own Cup races on Saturday nights as well. There may be many NASCAR races held at night, but there will always be only one Night Race.

> Cale Yarborough becomes first Cup driver to win by leading every lap
BMS Spring Race, April 1973           

One of the most herculean feats in NASCAR history happened at Bristol Motor Speedway in April 1973 when Cale Yarborough led every lap of the 1973 Southeastern 500. Adding to his accomplishment, Yarborough had to sit on his lead for two weeks as weather forced officials to delay the finish of the race. Yarborough won the pole and led all 500 laps at the brutally-demanding high-banked short track. It remains the first and one of only three times that feat has been accomplished in NASCAR history. Yarborough did it again in Nashville leading all 420 laps in 1978 and Jeff Burton did it most recently by leading all 300 laps at New Hampshire in 2000.

> Darrell Waltrip sets an amazing BMS record by winning seven straight Cup races
BMS Spring and Night Races, April 1981-April 1984         

From 1981 until April 1984 there was no one better at Bristol Motor Speedway than legendary driver Darrell Waltrip. The driver that fans loved to call ‘Jaws’ because of his confident chatter during interviews and defiant self-belief, went on a record-setting winning spree at BMS that may never be duplicated. Waltrip raced to seven consecutive victories, including four wins in the Spring Race and three wins in the Night Race over a nearly four year span. Terry Labonte finally ended Waltrip’s amazing run in the 1984 Night Race when Waltrip fell off the pace and finished 21st. During his seven straight wins, Waltrip led an amazing average of 220 laps in each of his victories.

> Rookie Dale Earnhardt grabs his first Cup victory at BMS 
BMS Spring Race, April 1979           

Only 20 rookie drivers have won a NASCAR Cup Series race in the modern era of competition that dates back to 1972. And of those 20, only one rookie driver has ever won at the demanding high-banked bullring known as Bristol Motor Speedway. In April 1979 during the Southeastern 500, a young but tough second-generation driver named Dale Earnhardt outlasted a tough bunch of NASCAR legends to win his first Cup Series race as a rookie. He drove his Rod Osterlund-owned yellow and baby blue No. 2 Chevy Monte Carlo to the victory that day in front of an all-star lineup of second through fourth finishers, including, in order, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty. The driver fans would later call “The Intimidator” saw his legacy born at Bristol that afternoon. Earnhardt went on to earn nine victories at BMS during his storied career.

> Dale Earnhardt Jr. sweeps Cup and Xfinity races, shouts “It’s Bristol, baby!”
BMS Night Race, August 2004        

In August 2004 third generation racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. accomplished a feat at Bristol Motor Speedway that no other driver before him had achieved. On Friday night Earnhardt drove his No. 81 Chevy to the victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race setting the stage for a double for the ages. There was magic in the air on Saturday night as Dale Jr. was able to pilot his red No. 8 Budweiser Chevy to victory in America’s Night Race and break out the first broom in a BMS victory lane. Earnhardt Jr.’s sweep at Bristol became legendary during his post-race interview with TV reporter Bill Weber. When Weber asked Earnhardt Jr. why he was so excited, the words “It’s Bristol, baby!” burst out into the atmosphere and the track’s new catchphrase was born. The 2004 victory remains the only Bristol Motor Speedway Cup Series win for Earnhardt Jr.

> Kyle Busch earns incredible hat-trick sweeps in two separate BMS weekends
BMS Night Race, 2010 and 2017                 

Darrell Waltrip, who owns more NASCAR Cup Series victories at Bristol Motor Speedway than any other driver in NASCAR history, has done many incredible things at the high-banked short track. However he says that Kyle Busch’s iron-man three-peats in 2010 and 2017, where Busch won all three major NASCAR races at the same track in the same weekend, is the most amazing feat he’s ever seen a NASCAR driver accomplish. In both August weekends, Busch won the Truck Series race, the Xfinity Series race and the Cup Series race, which computes to 1,000 laps of racing for the three races in a single weekend. Busch was able to maintain his composure, have some good luck, handle the incredible competition and physical nature of Bristol on three consecutive nights in three very different racing vehicles to win those events.

> Chase Elliott wins prestigious NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway
NASCAR All-Star Race, July 2020

Chase Elliott raced to victory in the first NASCAR All-Star Race held at Bristol Motor Speedway in NASCAR history. The race was held on Wednesday night, July 15, 2020. It was the first time the All-Star Race had been held at a short track and only the third different track on the NASCAR circuit to host the race, including its traditional home of Charlotte Motor Speedway and its 1986 host, Atlanta Motor Speedway. Drivers who advanced to the All-Star Race from the Open included Aric Almirola, William Byron and Matt DiBenedetto. Clint Bowyer won the fan-vote spot. The All-Star Race featured four stages, with a 55-lap opener, two 35-lap middle stages and a 15-lap finale. Cars featured new logo and paint designs and underglow lighting. The "Choose Rule" also was run for the first time at this event.

> Intimidator Dale Earnhardt rattles Terry Labonte’s cage on final lap and takes victory
BMS Night Race, August 1999        

Dale Earnahrdt famously said after the 1999 Night Race that he truly only meant to rattle Terry Labonte’s cage, not wreck him. On the final lap, Earnhardt approached race leader Labonte’s car in turn two and gave him a tap on the bumper, which sent Labonte’s car spinning off the track and into the inside retaining wall along the backstretch. Earnhardt’s famed black No. 3 Chevy then streaked on around the final two turns and took the checkered flag. While Earnhardt pleaded his case in victory lane, loud boos were heard coming from the huge crowd of fans still in their seats trying to figure out what they had just witnessed. The finish remains one of the most talked about in NASCAR history.

> Terry Labonte crashes in wild winning finish as Dale Earnhardt bumps him in turn four
BMS Night Race, August 1995        

There was a prequel to Terry Labonte vs. Dale Earnhardt, Bristol edition. In 1995, four years before the controversial 1999 Earnhardt Night Race victory, Terry Labonte came out on the winning side of a final lap bump from the Intimidator. Earnhardt caught Labonte going into turn four and bumped him into a spin, but Labonte managed to guide his race car across the finish line first as he careened into the outside and inside retaining walls. His crumpled and mangled No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy with Labonte and crew gathered around it in BMS Victory Lane is one of the most famous winner’s circle photos in NASCAR history.

BMS Newsworthy

Colossus TV showcases NASCAR action like no other big screen

Colossus TV is the world’s largest outdoor, center-hung, 4-side video display and provides the ultimate viewing experience for the fans. It offers a can’t-miss view of all the racing action in The Last Great Colosseum. Colossus TV is comprised of four massive high-resolution screens and a half-million watt, 485-speaker sound system that puts the sights and sounds of the event right into your lap. All the high-tech advancements in modern television can’t compare to the awe that is Colossus.

Each of Colossus’ four custom-built screens are approximately 30 feet tall by 63 feet wide. In total, the system hosts nearly 54 million LEDs and 18 million pixels. At 6mm pitch, the pixels are grouped tighter than the large-scale outdoor displays in Times Square. The result: a glimmering visual experience capable of offering 281 trillion different color combinations, and one that’s 23 times brighter and 25 percent sharper than the typical home HD TV.

Not only is the viewing experience incredible, but the sound quality is unparalleled. 540,000 watts are powering 380 3-way loudspeakers and 48 stadium subwoofers. Colossus TV also provides a listening distance of no more than 90 feet from speakers to ears.

Start to finish, it took 200 workers 155 days to complete Colossus TV, a feat that included assembling approximately 700 tons of footings, framing, towers and cabling.

"Colossus TV was first imagined by Bruton and Marcus Smith, so we knew it would be big," says Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). "Every time I walk into the stadium I'm blown away by their vision, and by what our crew has accomplished. Basically, our build team put together a high-tech building, three stories tall, and hung it in the sky."

Added in the spring of 2016, Colossus TV continues to be one of the most talked about attractions at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Colossus TV offers a unique viewing experience for race fans that can’t be matched anywhere else,” said Drew Bedard, vice president of marketing and communications, BMS. “Fans are immersed in the energy and excitement of a Bristol race now more than ever before.”

With cameras all over the speedway, fans are able to watch the race on the track and up on Colossus TV. Race information scrolls below the screens so fans know who’s in the lead at all times.

Colossus TV’s mega screens have been leased out by BMS to a variety of sports and entertainment events around the country, including the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament, The Ryder Cup tournament in Minneapolis, the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Open in Phoenix and at Austin City Limits music festival in Texas, just to name a few.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s words from BMS victory lane live on forever: “It’s Bristol, Baby!”

Three words. Three short, spontaneous, emotional words.

“It’s Bristol, Baby!”

It was a steamy August Saturday night in 2004 when a tired and sweaty, but jubilant, victorious Dale Earnhardt Jr. crawled from his bright red Chevy in Victory Lane and first uttered those words.

“Boy, I’m wore out. That’s a long green flag run. I think it wore everybody out,” Earnhardt told NBC’s Bill Weber in Bristol Motor Speedway’s elevated Victory Lane minutes after taking the checkered flag. “This is the biggest race of my career,” Earnhardt said while trying to catch his breath.

Weber, then asked a quick follow-up. “Why is that?”

Earnhardt, without missing a beat, raised his arms and yelled into the microphone, “It’s Bristol, Baby!”

And when he said those three words, the thousands of fans still gathered in the grandstands celebrating along with their hero also erupted.

The exhilarating phrase quickly took on a life of its own. Nearly two decades later, it is as vibrant, meaningful and powerful as it was on August 28, 2004. In fact, it has become more than a catch phrase or a tag line. It has become synonymous with Bristol Motor Speedway and the experience it offers its fans.

You can find it adorning race fans in the form of tattoos and face paintings this weekend. Walk through the campground and you’ll see it on flags and bumper stickers and spray painted on the side of old school buses turned into campers. It will be painted on bedsheets and hung all throughout the grandstands on race night. In short, it has become one of the most ubiquitous phrases in racing.

BMS officially commemorated the phrase in 2017 during Earnhardt Jr.’s last full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series by unveiling a large “It’s Bristol, Baby!” sign at the track’s North Entrance where visitors can take interactive pictures.

BMS Plays Key Role in Region’s Rich Musical History

The area around BMS is rich in history, the Appalachian Trail runs within an hour driving from the track as well as many other outdoor activities. BMS also has a rich culture of musical history. Just over the state line, Bristol, Virginia houses the Birthplace of Country Music where the first recordings of country music took place, the famed “Bristol Sessions” in 1927. Continuing with the theme, the Carter Family Fold also houses some great music where guests can hear local music.

BMS does a great job at building up the anticipation and embracing that rich heritage of being a part of the Birthplace of Country Music. In 2021 the track hosted legendary country music group Alabama for a concert at the Dragway's Thunder Valley Amphitheatre in August and then in October, the Country Thunder music festival hosted a show featuring Morgan Wallen in the infield of the oval. In 2022 Country Thunder is scheduled to return to BMS for a two-night show, with headliners Wallen and Jason Aldean and supporting acts HARDY, Lauren Alaina, Travis Tritt and Tracy Lawrence, among others. 

For each race, the track has a Pre-Race concert, artists who have taken the stage in The Last Great Colosseum include Joe Nichols, Randy Houser, Travis Denning, Cody Jinks, Steven Tyler, Dierks Bentley, Colt Ford, Charlie Daniels, and the Doobie Brothers, to name a few. The track has also hosted other stars of county music for The Battle at Bristol college football game in 2016 where the night before, Kenny Chesney, The Band Perry, and Old Dominion took the stage. Sugarland star, Jennifer Nettles, performed a knockout version of the National Anthem for the game which earned rave reviews, continuing the tradition of BMS events significantly adding to the rich musical history of the area.

Red, White & Bristol: Patriotism always on display at BMS

Bristol Motor Speedway has provided some of the most patriotic moments in sports history. Whether it is showcasing military maneuvers on Colossus TV, drivers being paraded around the track in Chevy Silverado trucks with American flags waving in the distance, or a 100,000-plus fan-activated card stunt celebrating the good ole USA, BMS is most often covered in red, white and blue. Bristol Motor Speedway makes sure that this great nation is appreciated and celebrated before each race, and football game. The Battle at Bristol, the world’s largest attended college football game in NCAA history, received massive praise and attention following Jennifer Nettles’ incredible rendition of the National Anthem, followed by a Hercules C-31 flyover and one of the most impressive red, white and blue grandstand stunts in sports history.

BMS Kids Club provides fun and activities for next generation of racers

The Bristol Kids Club at Bristol Motor Speedway allows all of the little racers out there an opportunity to join in the Speedway fun. Kids who are members receive e-mails and special invitations that are exclusive to those in the Club only.

All kids 12-and-under are invited to join the Bristol Kids Club for FREE. Members will receive a Membership Welcome Packet that includes a membership certificate, a letter from BMS mascots Bump and Run, a sling bag so you can bring all your goodies to the race, an official pass with lanyard, a bike sticker, and coupons. Our website offers printable coloring pages, NASCAR Kids Acceleration Nation videos and games, and more information about the drivers.

For more information or to sign up for the Kids Club, please visit

While on property during this weekend’s event, all kids are encouraged to check out the BMS Kids Zone. Located at the track’s North Entrance, Kids Zone activities include coloring stations, inflatables and interactive games. There are also special concession stands featuring hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit cups, veggie sticks, and more. Kids may even be lucky enough to run into Bristol’s rambunctious brother and sister raccoon mascots, Bump and Run, who are known to roam around the property and make appearances at the Kids Zones.

BMS Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities beacon of light for area kids in need

Bristol Speedway Children's Charities was founded in 1996 by Bruton Smith, to help children in the surrounding areas of Bristol Motor Speedway. There is a chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities at each of Speedway Motorsports’ eight facilities. Since 1996, SCC has distributed nearly $19 million dollars in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.  In 2021, the Bristol Motor Speedway chapter raised $667,000 despite the fundraising challenges presented by the ongoing worldwide pandemic. 

Major fundraisers for the Bristol chapter include the Ultimate Bristol Experiences Online Auction, Baker's Construction Services Golf Tournament, Ride-along program with Seat Time Racing School, SCC Live Auction and our flagship fundraisers: The Pinnacle Speedway In Lights Powered by TVA and the Tri Cities Airport Ice Rink at BMS presented by Stateline Services.

The Pinnacle Speedway In Lights is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021. More than 3 million lights brighten the lives of area families and represent a holiday tradition in the Tri-Cities. The Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities is a team recruiting "Believers in Change.” Each member of the team works hard in order to make a difference in the lives of the children in the local community.

Speedway in Lights an annual holiday tradition at BMS for more than two decades

The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights is the signature kick-off event for the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities each year. The event completed its 26th year in 2022. The course travels throughout Speedway property with nearly five miles of lights. Guests travel around many displays like the 12 Days of Christmas, Dinoland, Race to Space and Ripley’s Aquarium to name a few. The course ends with a trip around The World’s Fastest Half-Mile where guests can also visit the Christmas Village for food, carnival rides, and a quick visit with Santa. The event typically runs from the weekend before Thanksgiving to the first weekend of the New Year.