Bristol Night Race week celebrates the love of short track racing, both past and present
As sparks fly and tempers flare under the lights at The Last Great Colosseum, it can only mean one thing: the short track tradition of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is back in full force.
NASCAR's best will descend upon Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend, Aug. 15-17, for one of the toughest battles in racing: 500 laps around the high-banked, half-mile oval under the August night sky. Fans from all 50 states and over 20 foreign countries will be on-hand to see drivers try to tame the facility that was once likened to "flying a jet fighter through a gymnasium" at a race that has been home to some of the most iconic moments in the sport.
"When you think of action under the lights, you think of Bristol," said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway. "The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is short track racing at its best. Whether it's the iconic 1999 Night Race clash between Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte that celebrates its 20th anniversary, or the incredible racing that continues to this day, you know fans are in for a treat with incredible short track action. Add on all the great things to see and do, both in the region and at the track, and it truly becomes an experience to remember."
To view a schedule of all events and activities during the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race week, check out the BMS Fan Schedule at http://www.bristolmotorspeedway.com/fans/fan-schedule/.
Highlights of the race week include:
Short Track Racing Action: Some of the best drivers in the world hit the high banks under the lights at one of the most demanding circuits in the racing world with action in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race and Pinty's Qualifying), NASCAR Xfinity Series (Food City 300), NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics) and the NASCAR K&N Series (Bush's Beans 150).
Celebrating the 20thth Anniversary of the famed Earnhardt/Labonte Clash: The 1999 Night Race finish remains one of the most iconic moments in NASCAR history as Earnhardt's attempt to "rattle the cage" of Labonte on the final lap ended with Labonte's No. 5 Chevy Monte Carlo spinning in a plume of smoke and a chorus of boos raining down on the Colosseum. The final few laps continue to be water-cooler talk to this day and will be celebrated in multiple ways:
- Labonte, who had come out on top of their previous 1995 clash, will be a guest at the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race and will be honored during pre-race ceremonies
- The 2019 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race commemorative program features the iconic Garry Hill painting of the clash; the painting was used on a Bristol program cover once before at the 2000 Night Race. Fans can pick up a souvenir program and a commemorative 1/64 diecast car for $15.
MRO Children's Choir 20th Anniversary: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Motor Racing Outreach kids singing the National Anthem before the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. MRO has invited every kid who has participated previously to come back and sing with the group. Former participants include NASCAR Cup Series star Chase Elliott and many kids of today's NASCAR stars, including Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick.
Race Week Parties: The excitement of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race weekend doesn't begin when the gates open and cars go on-track. The entire region is getting together to welcome race fans and get everyone excited for a great weekend ahead:
- Kingsport: Join the fun at the MeadowView Conference Resort from 6 to 10 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 12. The free event will coincide with the conclusion of the World Long Drive Championship and will include NASCAR personality Jeff Hammond, show cars, food and beverage vendors, driver appearances and more! Details at http://bit.ly/33uuzEa
- Johnson City: The party heads to Founders Park for entertainment from 6 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13. The free event will feature a Trek bike ride, an appearance by NASCAR on NBC personality Kyle Petty, music from the Dimestone Cowboys, show cars, food and beverage vendors and more. Details at http://bit.ly/2ZTkEWk
- Bristol: Food City Family Race Night returns to State Street on Wednesday, Aug. 14 from 1 to 9 p.m. The free fanfest will host the official autograph session for the playoff contenders in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Details at http://bit.ly/2OPe6a0
Neighborhood Heroes: Prior to Saturday night's race, fans from all 50 states and over 20 foreign countries will be on-hand to help Bristol Motor Speedway honor the 2019 recipients of the BMS Neighborhood Heroes program. The program is designed to honor first responders who have gone above and beyond in the line of duty and all four will be honored during pre-race ceremonies. The 2019 Neighborhood Heroes are:
- Chattanooga police officer Joseph Coleman: flagged down at a stoplight and calmly helped resuscitate a four-month-old girl by putting her into the rescue position
- Tennessee National Guard SFC Daniel Cole: efforts exceeded his superior's expectations during a 10-month deployment mission in Kosovo
- Hampton Valley Forge volunteer firefighter Chris Russell: saved a woman from a burning mobile home fire in Carter County, Tenn. on the morning of Christmas Eve
- Knoxville Assistant Fire Chief Robert Roche: saved a woman confined to a wheelchair from an apartment fire by putting her on his back and crawling out
Playoff Intensity Comes to BMS for the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics: Eight NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series drivers will be eligible to compete in the 2019 playoffs, which begins with the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics on Thursday, Aug. 15. A quick start is crucial as one of the playoff drivers can clinch their spot in the next round of the playoffs with a win under the lights at Bristol.
Musical Entertainment: Georgia native and upcoming country music sensation Travis Denning will get the crowd going during the official Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race pre-race concert. The rising star is best known for his hits "Ashley Parker David from Powder Springs" and "After a Few". He will be joined during the pre-race concert by special guests Tim Dugger and Corbette Jackson and the festivities will kick-off at 2:30 with Denning headlining at 5:45 p.m. Fans can purchase a Pre-Race Pit Stop pass to get stageside access to the concert and pre-race driver introductions.
Friday Night Foam Party: Following the conclusion (approximately 10 p.m.) of the Food City 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series event on Friday, Aug. 16, head on over to the Trackside Live stage in the Fan Zone for the Friday Night Foam Party, the official post-race party at BMS. Fans will get to party the night away at this rave complete with a DJ, strobe lights, and the star of the evening....gallons upon gallons of foam.
Weather Guarantee: The forecast is looking great for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race weekend with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-80's. But in the unlikely event that the forecast changes greatly, the BMS Weather Guarantee is here to protect race fans. Ticketholders who purchased through the BMS Ticket Office or Ticketmaster can either use their tickets on the rescheduled date or use them towards a credit at any NASCAR race at all eight SMI facilities within a year. Those who are interested in taking advantage of the Weather Guarantee are required to contact the BMS Ticket Office within 60 days of the original ticketed event.
Kids/Teens Can Join In The Show: BMS is the perfect place to bring the family as kids can enjoy the whole weekend for only $10! Kids 12-and-under can get in free to Thursday's UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics / Bush's Beans 150 doubleheader and Friday's Food City 300 and Pinty's Qualifying and are only $10 for Saturday's Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. All children must have a physical ticket to enter. Teenagers aged 13-19 are also eligible for half price tickets with the purchase of an adult ticket to BMS' NASCAR events.
Tickets for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race are still available. Fans can grab tickets at their neighborhood Food City for only $60 while buying their race essentials. But act fast, in-store sales end at store closing time this Tuesday, Aug. 13. A two-day weekend package is also available through the BMS ticket office, beginning at just $95. Visit BristolTix.com or call 423-BRISTOL.