Bristol Motor Speedway

Nickname

The Last Great Colosseum / Thunder Valley

Location

Bristol, Tennessee

Length

0.533-mile (0.858 km)

Type

Short Oval

Seating

160,000

Opened

1961

Series

Monster, Xfinity, Gander

Bio

Bristol Motor Speedway is the third largest sports venue in America and the seventh largest in the world, housing up to 162,000 people. The track is so short that speeds here are far lower than is typical on most NASCAR oval tracks, but they are very fast compared to other short tracks due to the high banking. These features make for a considerable amount of “paint swapping” at the NASCAR races where the initial starting grid of 40 vehicles each in the Monster Energy Cup Series & the Xfinity Series, and 32 in the Truck Series, extends almost halfway around the track, meaning that slower qualifiers begin the race almost half a lap down.

The congestion inherent in this facility and the power of the cars and trucks has been likened to “flying fighter jets in a gymnasium”. The track is one that tends to be either loved or hated by the fans and the drivers. Purists who grew up driving or attending races at older short tracks located at fairgrounds and similar places tend to love Bristol, while those raised on superspeedway racing tend to chafe at the lower speeds.

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