Bristol Motor Speedway

Capacity153 000
Country United States of America
CityBristol
Clubs-
Inauguration 30/07/1961
Renovations 1969, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2007
Cost $600,000 (1961)
Record attendance 156,990 (Tennessee Volunteers - Virginia Tech Hokies, 10/09/2016)
Design Carl Moore, Larry Carrier, R. G. Pope
Address 151 Speedway Boulevard, Bristol, Tennessee 37620, USA

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Description: Bristol Motor Speedway

Today it’s one of the world’s most famous racetracks. Part of the fame stems from its football-stadium-shape. Fully enclosed and relatively uniform stands envelope the NASCAR track tightly. And with the track’s total length of just 858 meters it might indeed seems like a larger stadium rather than a racetrack.

When compared to stadia, its size is intimidating as capacity is estimated at 153,000 nominally and possibly in excess of 160,000 of event capacity. Its race track is not only short, it’s also very steep on both ends (previously at 36°, now at 30°). Add to that its steep bleachers and you know where the fame comes from.

But the beginning was hardly as impressive. In fact, when opened in 1961 the venue was fairly unrecognizable with just 18,000 capacity. At that time there were already numerous grander sports facilities across the US but with simple steel structure and fairly little infrastructure needed for expansion, it was just a matter of time before it began growing rapidly.

By far the fastest expansion took place in late 1990s. By January 1996 it had “just” 71,000 in total capacity. In half a year 15,000 were added and by April 1997 further 32,000 followed, reaching 118,000. In 1998 it was already 131,000 and by 2000 the size was nearly what it is now, 147,000!

As it turns out, the track doesn’t only look like a stadium, it also temporarily becomes one. Its first football game took place back in 1961 (preseason NFL match between Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins). Ever since its major expansions, the track’s owner was campaigning for “Battle of Bristol” NCAA game between Tennessee Volunteers and Virginia Tech Hokies. The campaign succeeded in 2016, resulting in a temporary field being laid for just two fixtures.

And in terms of football/soccer culture, the stadium also holds the world record for largest ever Mexican wave…

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