|BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
NASCAR SPRING RACE!
March 21-23, 2003
Bristol Tennessee has had a Nascar race since 1961. Infact, they
have two! One in the Spring and one in the Summer.
Both are held at the "World's Fastest Half-Mile", snuggled in the
hills of North Eastern Tennessee on the Virginia border.
I hadn’t gotten much sleep this week and I got about 3 hours sleep
the night before we left,.
BW and I got an early start on Friday. It was an overcast, cool and
rainy day all the way down through southern Indiana and Northern
There are no direct highways from our direction into Bristol and we
had several paths we could choose. We chose the most direct
method which took us through the small mountains of Kentucky and
By the time we got into those States it was sunny.
We carved through the dynamite blasted out mountain tops. Hilly
and winding and fast! Just coasting you could speed up!
Not something I'm used to in flat central Indiana. It was a very
scenic trip too, but we never stopped to take photos.
The road was too fun. I hoped to get there in time for qualifying.
Virginia was noticeably nice.
Our cell phone didn’t work in the hills until
we were practically in Bristol, which is on
the Virginia border.
At that point we were able to contact E.T.
and Koz, who had arrived the night before
and had a campground set up which we
would share. We stopped on the highway,
on a hill, between two big silos. To our left
was the Bristol Motor Speedway, on the
right, hundreds of white campers set
amongst the hills and pasture.
We called Koz again and he directed our
eyes to where he and E.T. were camped.
We could barely make out their arms
waving at us.
We had gotten there in time to go to qualifying,
however this was not to be.
BW and I got busy unloading my car, setting up my
tent and gathering kindling, while E.T. and Koz left to
find some firewood and Kentucky bourbon.
They were gone a long time. They said they had
to go to Virginia for the bottle of George Dickel
and Maker’s Mark. They’d also found some split
A carton of Marlboro's were only $20! They're $31 in
Our campsite was idea, we were surrounded by
a deep creek and a hill. While most every other
campsite was packed on top of each other, we
had a relatively secluded spot. The large camp
ground was called Farmer Bob’s. He runs cattle
in this large area except twice a year during the
Winston Cup races. So watch out for the patties.
At $100+ per site, he must make a lot of money.
I heard a rumor that the IRS took some aerial
photos in the past and charged him more taxes.
There was a helicopter that was mysteriously
circling above us when we first arrived, as if
they were surveying us.
These guys must love their TV.
I was pretty tired once I reached Bristol, but I woke up soon
enough after getting out of the car. I would find that I was so
wound up, that I could hardly sleep. Once again, I barely got
any sleep that night.
The campground night was lively as we jammed around our
Trucks with lights and flags and filled with people were driving
around. Lots of campers brought their ATV’s with them.
A large tent was setup with a mechanical bull, which attracted
a large crowd. Bathroom facilities consisted of some porta-lets.
The vast majority of campers had fancy mobile homes, so
they had their own facilities. Some very cheap showers were
setup in a horse barn. The lines for these were huge on
Saturday morning. Only Kevin opted for this route and he was
gone for hours.
We finally trekked toward the track on
Saturday afternoon to watch the Busch
While we had tickets for great seats, we
spent the whole race down on the front
row by the start/finish line. You can get
so close to the cars here that it is amazing.
Dust and rubber flies in your face as the
cars scream by five feet away from you!
We found every thing in Tennessee very
laid back and nice. No hassles from
anyone including the police.
This large group of people were good
people and I didn’t encounter any out of
The prices at the Citgo were fair and
they were well stocked with everything
we would need.
After the rough winter we’d had, we were
happy with the sunny weather. I got a bit
of a sun burn on Saturday.
The temperature on Friday night made a
campfire satisfying. The temperature
would drop even further Saturday night
until it was in the 40’s.
About 1 a.m. Brian and I went to the
shower barn. There was still a line!
Albeit, a small one.
I was afraid there would be only ice cold
water, but it was warm. Yea!
(They had 4 shower stalls for men and
4 for women.)
There is a drag strip across from the speedway.
When we awoke, Brian and I got busy
and tore down the camp and packed the
At 9:15, Kevin led me in his truck to a spot
where I could park my car and get on the
highway quick after the race.
While they were going to stay another
night and head back to Detroit on Monday,
Brian and I both figured to be at work on
Brian and I
Koz had brought burgers and chicken
wings and his famous “Smoker” grill.
He kept us full on these all weekend.
They tasted great!
I learned there’s nothing like having a
good cook in your camp!!
To get to the track, we had to walk to the edge
of the campgrounds, then climb a steep hill to
get to the road. The speedway was just
across that road.
Once again we went to the front row for the
start of the Winston Cup race. The first few
rows are empty of ticket holders. There was
plenty of room for us there.
The drivers all had a parade lap in the back of
pickup trucks. There was lots of patriotic music
as there had been the day before. The U.S. had
finally declared war on Iraq just a few days ago.
There were prayers and flyovers. The race got
started and we spent the first 150 laps down
there in front.
The Marines call the A-10, which was created in 1976, the
Wart Hog. The Air Force call this jet the Thunderbolt II.
This aircraft is highly maneuverable, meant to fly down
low and be able to survive lots of fire, while being able
to destroy heavy weapons including tanks.
As usual, there were lots of carnage.
As the race ran on, cars had tire
smudges on their sides and several
people had some crunches.
Some cars even lost their entire
Yet, they would continue on.
Our seats were in Sect C, row 51 of the
When I first got to my seats, the new far
away perspective on the race made it seem
like it was running under yellow (caution)
after having experiencing the cars up close
and personal. I could follow the entire race
from that point by just moving my eyes and
not my head.
Knowing that I had a big drive ahead of me
that evening, I just drank bottled water during
the race. It would be more fun to attend the
Saturday night race in the Summer and be
able to drive home at your leisure on Sunday.
There are pits along both straight-aways.
Everything went near perfect this weekend.
After Kurt Busch won Bristol (for the second time) , we
headed out toward my car. It was parked about a mile
away. We were able to quickly get out and get on the
We took a different route out – through Tennessee. I
cruised 85 all the way back home and it still took 8 hours
and I didn’t get home until after 1 a.m.. No speeding
Below is a picture that I made by stitching several photos together. Bristol sure is a cool track!!.
Their motto is “How Racing Outta Be!” and it’s the truth.
This is my first attempt at making a panoramic picture.