Pinnacle Speedway In Lights: By The Numbers
One of the most magical family traditions in the Appalachian Highlands illuminates for its 27th season tonight, Friday Nov. 17, when the spectacular Pinnacle Speedway In Lights powered by TVA opens to once again help spread holiday cheer to children in need throughout the 18-county region surrounding the famed Bristol Motor Speedway.
Long hailed as a premier holiday destination, the Pinnacle Speedway in Lights powered by TVA is comprised of a dazzling holiday light show that sparkles with a wide variety of joyful displays that winds throughout the Speedway’s sprawling campus. The light show operates from 6-10 p.m. each night.
Here's a look at this year’s Pinnacle Speedway In Lights, by the numbers:
20,000,000 – Since starting the Bristol chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities in 1996 and the start of the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights in 1997, the SCC-Bristol chapter has raised nearly $20 million through its variety of annual charity events, with the biggest continuing to be the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights. The money has been distributed annually to more than 18 child-based agencies throughout the 18 counties and communities in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia that surround the Bristol Motor Speedway.
3,000,000 – The total number of holiday lights spread across the sprawling Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway campus that makes up the route for the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights.
300,000 – The popular Symphony in Lights presented by HSN (Home Shopping Network), is located in the Darrell Waltrip Grandstand on the south end of the track. All the lights flicker and flash to the sounds and beats of your holiday favorite music.
42,000 – The average number of vehicles that visit Pinnacle Speedway In Lights each season. The record for a single season was 45,729 vehicles in the inaugural season of 1997 and the record for a single night stands at 2,341 on a Saturday night in 2014, two nights before Christmas Eve.
35,000 – The average number of marshmallows roasted over the open fire in the popular Christmas Village presented by Food City per season during the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights. The record number of marshmallows for a single year was 52,555 in 2001, and the most roasted and consumed in a single night was 2,805, also in 2001.
26,000 – The average number of children who visit Santa Claus each season in the Barter Theatre Santa Hut inside the popular Christmas Village presented by Food City. The record for most Santa visits in one night was 1,225 in 2015, which is also the year that holds the record for most visits in a single season at 29,305.
250 – The tradition-rich Pinnacle Speedway In Lights showcases an abundance of festive displays throughout the five-plus mile route. Some of the favorites include: The Twelve Days of Christmas, Ripley’s Sea of Illumination, Mycroft Signs Race to Space, NASCAR Pit Stop, Dinosaur Land, the beautiful Candelabra, Drag Cars, Victorian Village, Snowman Maker, the Nativity Scene presented by Visit My Smokies and Toy Land.
150 – The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights utilizes energy-efficient LED lighting for its roadway lighting and massive displays. The total amount of wiring used to connect all of those lights is approximately 150 miles of wiring, which would stretch from Bristol Motor Speedway well past Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
75 – The total number of BMS employees who participated in two “Bulb Days” to assist with hanging the lights all around the Bristol Motor Speedway/Dragway property. During the two days all BMS employees spend the full day helping hang Christmas lights and get the facility ready for the spectacular showcase of lights. The hard-working BMS Operations Team gets the credit for hanging the majority of the lights and is a project that they begin working on in early September.
50 – From opening night on Friday, Nov. 17 until the final day, Saturday, Jan. 6, the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights is open for a grand total of 50 nights in parts of three months, from 6-10 p.m. each night.
27 – What SCC-Bristol Executive Director Claudia Byrd called a “little light show” way back during the inaugural year in 1997, has blossomed into an amazing tradition for many families who continue to make a visit to Pinnacle Speedway In Lights a part of their annual Holiday plans year after year. This season the brilliantly illuminated wonderland of lights celebrates its 27th anniversary.
22 – Five years into the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights the team at SCC-Bristol decided to add an ice skating rink in 2002 that continues today to be a popular highlight of the winter events program. Located at BMS Entrance 1 by the It’s Bristol Baby monument, the Tri-Cities Airport Ice Rink at Bristol Motor Speedway presented by Stateline Services is open for a total of 54 nights from Nov. 16 thru Jan. 14. The rink provides a ton of fun for the entire family and certainly brings plenty of joy to many local ice-skating enthusiasts. Hours of operation vary from day to day, and the rink is closed on 8 Mondays during that stretch, so please review the schedule on the BMS website in advance.
13 – Some special dates for the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights to circle on your calendar is when the Fast Lane presented by Citi will be available. The speedy option costs $50 per car and provides a much shorter wait time for guests on the busiest nights. Reservations are recommended for this option via the online system. Dates for the Fast Lane presented by Citi are Nov. 24 and 25 and Dec. 2, 9, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23.
12 – There are 12 vendors set up in the Appalachian-themed Christmas Village presented by Food City that offer a wide range of arts and crafts, souvenirs and yummy goodies. Some of the top items include handmade signs, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, candles, funnel cakes, fried desserts, hamburgers, pizza, kettle corn and homemade hot chocolate.
10 – There are several corporate partners of Pinnacle Speedway In Lights that have custom displays including ETSU, Ballad Health, Hardee’s Restaurants, Abingdon Olive Oil, Home Shopping Network (HSN), Barter Theatre, BTES, Food City, ENT of Johnson City and the Bristol Herald-Courier.
6 – In addition to visiting with Santa inside the Christmas Village presented by Food City, kids will also have the chance to enjoy some thrills on some great amusement rides. This year there are six rides available, including the Giant Carousel, Renegade Pirate Ship, Scooters Bumper Cars, Pepper Patch, Mardi Gras Mirror Maze and Chattanooga Choo-Choo. Individual ride tickets are sold separately inside the Village.
5.35 – in miles, the total route for the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights around the Bristol Motor Speedway/Dragway property.
3 – There are a trio of fun photo stations for guests to take advantage of as they visit the Christmas Village presented by Food City. The popular recreation of the Griswold family station wagon complete with oversized tree on top from the movie Christmas Vacation is one of the must-do shots; A beautiful Christmas Sleigh in front of a trio of Christmas Trees is another great shot; and finally the huge Giant Christmas Tree that sits in the middle of the village is another of the preferred shots. Guests are encouraged to share their images through their social media pages and please tags #SpeedwayInLights and #ItsBristolBaby.
2 – A tour of the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights grants you the opportunity to take your personal vehicle on two of the most storied motorsports facilities in the United States, the iconic all-concrete high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway, where so much NASCAR history has been made, and on both return roads of the historic Bristol Dragway, better known as Thunder Valley, where the stars of NHRA Championship Drag Racing have made some of their most memorable performances.
The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights costs $20 per car from Sunday through Thursday and $25 on Friday and Saturday nights. For larger groups, vans are $50 and buses are $125.
For more information about the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights powered by TVA, please visit the BMS website. For information about the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, visit speedwaycharities.org/bristol.