|Food City 500
NASCAR in Bristol TN
Sunday March 28, 2004
Five of us have been planning on going to Bristol for months.
BW and I were traveling together and meeting some guys
from Detroit. Our plans fell apart when we were a week away
from race day. I was pretty depressed, but then things came
together at the last minute and we got packed up and left
E.T. was never to show up, but Koz and Matt were there,
in fact they had got there at 3 am on Friday, so they picked
us out a primo camping spot.
Since I didn't think we were going I hadn't gotten tickets,
so we were hoping there would be scalpers about.
Some Tennessee countryside.
The weathermen also had us
worried, threatening rain for
the whole weekend. It rained
buckets for days in Indy though
before we left and it didn’t stop
until we hit Kentucky.
BW was driving his F150 since
Koz said they needed firewood
and we couldn’t fit it in my car.
The trip went by quickly and we
were soon in the Smokey and
We hit Bristol at 4:30 pm - a bad
time - the Busch race traffic was
all leaving and it started to rain a l
ittle. But we hooked up with Koz in
the campground and a ½ later the
rain stopped and never started again.
Koz thought Matt was bringing a big tent and Matt thought Koz was
bringing his own tent. So it was kind of funny when they ended up
having to share Matt's little tent (see above). Luckily for me, BW’s
tent for us was huge (see below). We’d arrived just in time, as
they were just running out of firewood and the batteries in their radio
were going dead. Koz had his famous Smoker grill and lots of meat.
We also had a variety of beverages… Evan
Williams, Gentleman Jack, Bushmills, Ouzo,
Vodka, Kahlua, Miller and Bud.
The weather cleared up and was perfect.
We had a roaring fire and I was happy (and
relieved) to finally have made it to
Tennessee – 24 hours earlier I thought
I'd be spending the weekend in rain-
Some dude came up to our campsite
looking for donations. He left some
stickers and he gave Matt a nice hat for
his $10 gift.
Well the hat was a cop hat and BW
started teasing Matt, calling him a cop.
Well Matt got fed up with that pretty quick
and ditched the hat in the fire! Ha ha!!
We listened to some rock station that played lots of 90’s rock I hadn’t
heard in awhile. We all enjoyed it and we threw on an occasional cd
as well – mainly Beatles.
By around 11pm, Koz had some BBQ wings cooked up to perfection
for us. Matt had just one and then fell asleep! BW was right behind
him and snoozed off after a few wings.
Koz and I were still ready to rock though. We finished off the wings
and Koz put together shishkabobs and started grilling these. Wow!
They were tasty! AND, we didn’t have to share with the two sleepers!
After that, Koz set some beans on and we went for a big walk around
the campgrounds. People had been partying pretty good, but by the
time we set off, there were only a few drunk guys out stumbling around.
We walked all around and got back to our campsite around 1:30am.
and had those beans and then turned in.
SUNDAY 8am - I was first up and so I started the fire and put some
coffee on. BW soon got up and we had some percolated campfire
The lines at the shower were real long so I went back to camp. Koz
and Matt woke up eventually and we ate some breakfast. It was a a
beautiful warm sunny morning.
Koz and BW went for a drive to get some supplies. It was getting
very close to race time and the lines at the shower had dwindled
to nothing, so I went up to take one. I was surprised that there was
hot water left.
It was warming up to hit about 80 degrees so we were all wearing
shorts and tees, except for Matt who was completely covered. I
suspect he’d gotten sunburned the day before.
I got back to camp and was ready when BW and Koz returned.
I had been planning on buying tickets as we walked in, but BW
found a ticket for $50 and another for $80 (tickets generally are
$150) so he snagged them up and now we were all set for the race.
We started walking toward the track around
12:20. We just had to climb a hill and cross
a 4-lane hiway and we were on speedway
property. We actually took our time,
checked out some car displays and made
it to the front row by the start/finish line in
plenty of time – about 1:10.
We got to see the driver parade. I was surprised that
the whole crowd booed when Jeff Gordon came by
considering NASCAR has Tony Stewart.
There was some country band doing some singing
and a few parachutist came spiraling down out of the
sky with HUGE flags trailing behind them. They
landed right on the track in front of us – pretty
There was the usual fighter jet fly-by
which is always cool and finally it was
time to get things rolling.
Ryan Newman had pole again and Jeff
Gordon sat beside him. I had Kurt Bush
picked to win although he was starting
13th or so. Tony Stewart was his typical
jerk and got put down a lap for crashing
into people. Kurt played it cool once
more and won his 4th Bristol race in a
There is no other race like this one! It
is definitely one you must see if you
are a race fan. The cars zip by less
than 10 feet where I’m sitting.
Imagine having a non-stop stream
of race cars (with out mufflers)
screaming by you non-stop for
There is a constant wind created by
the cars that will knock your hat off.
Your ears will begin to ring instantly if
you don’t have earplugs. And the
marbles don’t stay on the track! I got
whacked on the knee by a piece of
rubber that left a mark. It had the
power of a paintgun. Its best to be
wearing some sunglasses for eye
protection if you are sitting down low
like that (if not a welder's mask!)
Tattoo guy, Koz, BW and Matt
One of the bad things about sitting
down low like that is that you have
a fence in your way which is not
condusive to taking good
photographs. BW and I had tickets
up high on the other side of the
track from where we were, but we
never went to them and remained
down on the front row the whole
race. Koz and Matt did go watch
the last quarter of the race in their
seats, which rise 20 stories into
On the way out, we stopped and
bought some discount tees and
We continued the party back at the
campsite until 1 a.m., unlike most
who were in bed early. You can see
the party here lessening each day
as people get more wore out. We
were laughing and having a great
time around the fire that night.
More Tennessee countryside