For the first time in history, the festive Bass Pro Shops Night Race weekend will showcase high-drama Playoff action in all three of the featured NASCAR series races at revered Bristol Motor Speedway.
And as all fans know, whenever 35-plus high-revving stock cars or trucks are unleashed on Bristol Motor Speedway’s all-concrete high-banks under the bright stadium lights, it’s like a special magic is formed. The result is most always chaos erupting, which sends fans to the edges of their seats as dramatic finishes unfold.
Guests who visit The Last Great Colosseum during the September 14-16 weekend at Bristol will get to experience that supernatural wizardry first hand over three nights.
On Thursday night, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will begin its second playoff round. Friday’s Xfinity Series race will be the division’s opening round of Playoffs. The Cup Series race on Saturday night will continue to serve as the first-round Playoff elimination race in the Round of 16. The 500-lap race will begin with 16 championship contenders, but it will end with only 12 advancing to the next round.
While racing is always the main course that’s served inside The Last Great Colosseum, guests should be aware of a full menu of memory-making opportunities guaranteed to boost the fun-meter on the overall experience.
Keep on reading so you won’t miss a minute of the fun:
▶ Awesome Music: NASCAR racing and music have been tied together over the years like a hand fits a glove, and that’s especially true at Bristol Motor Speedway. BMS, true to its location in the Birthplace of Country Music, has earned a reputation for bringing in some of the most entertaining acts to perform at various times throughout each race weekend. At this year’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race fans can expect more of the same, with popular country band Midland performing the pre-race concert and fellow country performer Tim Dugger taking the Food City Fan Zone Stage on Friday night. You’ll want to check the schedule of performances throughout the weekend so you won’t miss a single beat.
▶ Pre-Race Infield Experience: Speaking of Midland, the Grammy-nominated group will headline the pre-race concert that will be held as the feature attraction in this exclusive access attraction inside the Bristol Motor Speedway infield near the NASCAR pit area. Fans of the band and those guests seeking to get closer to all the pre-event action can now purchase the new Pre-Race Infield Experience on Saturday evening for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. Fans who purchase this upgrade experience will be able to go into the BMS infield and enjoy the pre-race concert and be there for all the action during the world-famous Bristol Motor Speedway driver introductions, where legendary combat sports announcer Michael Buffer will introduce the Cup Series drivers with his personal style and flair and trademarked catchphrases. The drivers will then continue their entry into The Last Great Colosseum to the sounds of their favorite music. Fans will be able to access the area at 5 p.m. and will be able to stay inside the infield until the last driver is introduced, just prior to the Bass Pro Shops Night Race green flag.
▶ Dale Jr. Double-Duty: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going to be a busy man when he visits Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 15 and 16. He is going to scratch his itch to get back behind the wheel of a stock car when he rolls onto the track for the Food City 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Friday night, Sept. 15. Earnhardt Jr., who hasn’t raced at Bristol since he retired from full-time driving in 2017, will be at the controls of the No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevy. Earnhardt has one Xfinity Series race win at Bristol, coming in 2004. Then on Saturday, Earnhardt will return to his full-time job with NBC Sports, working in the television booth as a race analyst alongside Rick Allen and Jeff Burton to call the thrilling action for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race on USA Network (7:30 p.m. ET).
▶ Farewell, champ: While we welcome back one Hall of Famer in Earnhardt, Jr., we will all wave goodbye to a future NASCAR Hall of Fame member in Kevin Harvick. Fans will be chanting Harvick 4-EVER throughout the weekend as the prolific Cup Series veteran makes his final call at Bristol as a full-time Cup Series driver. Harvick has had a strong career at Bristol with three Cup Series wins, five Xfinity wins and one Truck Series title. He is one of only five drivers in BMS history who have scored wins in each of NASCAR’s top three divisions. It will surely be emotional for all as the driver they call “Happy” makes his final competitive laps around the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
▶ Don’t miss NASCAR’s Trackside Live on Saturday at 4 p.m.: On Saturday in the BMS Fan Zone you won’t want to miss NASCAR’s Trackside Live with hosts Kenny Wallace, John Roberts and Jose Castillo taking place on the Food City Fans Zone Stage at 4 p.m., prior to the start of the race. Trackside Live offers interviews with drivers, celebrities and other recognizable figures in the world of sports and entertainment. With Wallace and Roberts involved you never know exactly what you are going to get, but you know it’s going to be fun. The duo brought their Raceday Live show back to Bristol in the spring and then took it on the road for several more Speedway Motorsports races. They had to make it back to Bristol for the Night Race. Be sure to check the BMS website or BMS app for the most updated schedule of appearances.
▶ DJ Sterl the Pearl leads BMS Foam Party: Speaking of entertainment, fans will get to party the night away after the conclusion of the Thursday night double-header with mic-master DJ Sterl the Pearl on the Food City Fan Zone Stage while gallons upon gallons of foam spews out onto the crazy fans in the audience. Who knows, you might even run into Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass, who has been known to make special appearances at the Foam Party over the years. DJ Sterl the Pearl, a former football player in Knoxville, brings the energy to University of Tennessee football and basketball games throughout the year and he agreed to make a stop in Bristol for what promises to be an epic Thursday night party.
▶ Tim Dugger to perform after Friday’s Food City 300: Following the conclusion of the Food City 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race Friday night you’ll want to make your way over to the BMS FanZone and get as close as possible to the Food City Fan Zone Stage to enjoy country music singer and songwriter Tim Dugger, who will perform into the early hours of the morning.
▶ Epic Anniversaries: You can’t have a mega fun weekend at Bristol without celebrating some sort of special milestone anniversary. This year we’ve all been celebrating the milestone 75th anniversary of NASCAR. Bristol hosted its first NASCAR Cup Series race in 1961 and has been a staple on the schedule ever since, hosting two races annually. Certainly, the Bristol Night Race has contributed a ton to NASCAR’s appeal and popularity over the years, producing countless epic finishes and is arguably one of NASCAR’s four Crown Jewel events, along with the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte and the Southern 500 in Darlington. You’ll want to be at the track to continue celebrating NASCAR’s 75th and see what surprises might take place during the weekend.
▶ Competitive Eater Joey Chestnut Among Race Dignitaries: Competitive eating superstar Joey Chestnut, who is a 16-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Champion, including this past summer’s event at Coney Island in Brooklyn, is among the list of celebrities and dignitaries visiting Bristol Motor Speedway during the Bass Pro Shops Night Race weekend. Chestnut will visit the track on Saturday and make a variety of suite appearances and also visit with Trackside Live hosts Kenny Wallace and John Roberts on the Food City Fan Zone Stage where he will participate in a Wing Eating contest. Chestnut also will make a special appearance on the main stage during pre-race ceremonies prior to the green flag for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race.
▶ Fan Track Walk Always a Fun Stroll: The Fan Track Walk, which takes place on Saturday afternoon prior to the running of the Bass Pro Shops Night Race, returns to give enthusiasts the rare opportunity to walk along the iconic high-banked track where so much NASCAR history has been made. Fans who are a part of this upgrade activity will get to enter the stadium at 3 p.m. and walk around the historic half-mile all-concrete bullring. Just prior to the green flag, participants will have the opportunity to see, touch and feel the racing surface where all of the legends of NASCAR have battled throughout the years. To participate in the Fan Track Walk, please visit the BMS website, BMS app or call 423-BRISTOL for more information.
▶ So much fun in the BMS Kids Zone: There’s tons of stuff for kids to do at the track at the BMS Kids Zone, which is located at BMS Entrance 1. In the BMS Kids Zone there will be a large Bounce House, a Euro Bungie, Racing Simulator, challenging Rock Wall and Cornhole game. Kids will also get to enjoy coloring stations, a variety of Hot Wheels tracks and LEGO tables. Kids also will want to participate in a special art project on Thursday and Friday. Kids will get to help color the design and then sign their names to the art. The art will then be hung on the track wall Saturday before the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. To help elevate the fun-meter, BMS’s loveable and mischievous mascots, Bump and Run, are scheduled to make appearances at the Kids Zone on Friday and Saturday.
▶ Activities Galore: There’s so much to do during the weekend around the grounds of Bristol Motor Speedway, including stops in the Fan Midway and Fan Zone. There’s music, games, food, rides, exhibitions, stunts, souvenir haulers, appearances by drivers, legends and other celebrities, autograph sessions and more. Some of those attractions include the Globe of Death exhibition, a surly mechanical bull, race car simulator, high-flying BMX exhibitions, axe throwing and corn hole games. Guest Welcome Villages are positioned strategically to offer guest assistance. You’ll also want to kick back and enjoy some NASCAR-style tailgating with your friends prior to each night’s race.
▶ Now that’s a TV: Another great thing about attending a race at Bristol is the unbelievable entertainment provided by Colossus TV, the world’s largest center-hung stadium video display. Completed in April 2016, Colossus TV has the highest viewing quality of any permanent outdoor stadium display in the world, featuring 2880 x 1350 lines of resolution. Compare that to the average home HD TV screen at 1920 x 1080. It currently hosts nearly 54 million LEDs and 18 million pixels, which are grouped tighter than the large-scale outdoor displays in Times Square. Watching Colossus TV is like sitting in your living room with the state-of-the-art digital experience but still having the live race action going on right in front of you.
▶ Lots of Food Options: If you love food, Bristol Motor Speedway has something on its menu for you. With more than 50 concession stands scattered throughout the stadium’s concourse level, there’s a delicious meal just waiting for you to enjoy. Whether it’s Domino’s Pizza, barbecue and rack of ribs at the Food City stand, grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, classic nachos, chicken tenders and french fries or other specialty items, there’s something for every palate at BMS. You’ll definitely want to check out Robert Irvine’s Chef Shack near Gate 8 that offers some hearty bowl options crafted exclusively by the celebrity chef of Food Network fame. For those who crave the quality taste of Bush’s Best products, two Bush’s Beans Trackside Cafés are located on concourse level, one near Gate 5 on the backstretch and another close to Gate 17 on the frontstretch.
▶ Family Bonding: The race is the perfect opportunity for parents to share their love of NASCAR with their children. Talk about the science of racing, pick favorite drivers, share some laughs and also some ooohs and aaahs when the powerful race cars speed around the track. The memories you will make at BMS will last a lifetime and likely be passed on through many generations. And for families, BMS is offering free kids tickets on Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday kids tickets are only $10.
▶ Camping all Around: Sometimes it’s nice to just get outside and become one with nature. Bristol Motor Speedway provides you with the perfect opportunity to access your inner outdoors enthusiast during the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. BMS owns and operates five campgrounds around the facility and each provides a variety of amenities. Whether you drive a modernly-mobile RV or prefer to anchor a tent in the ground, BMS has you covered. Once you are here camping, you will have easy access to the grounds and all of the excitement going on inside the stadium. Your ticket to fun is merely a quick walk away.
▶ Fast Cars, Intense Racing: There’s so much fun to be had and we’ve barely mentioned the real star of the show. Yes, it’s Bristol, baby! Some of the most memorable moments in NASCAR have taken place during the Bass Pro Shops Night Race on the super-challenging .533-mile high-banked oval. NASCAR’s best drivers will beat and bang on each other – NASCAR Playoff style – and only the strongest will survive 500 laps of mayhem inside the high-banked bullring. In the Bass Pro Shops Night Race, you’ll get to see all of your favorite drivers doing what they do best. You’ll see all of the stars, including Bristol dominator Kyle Busch, who has claimed nine Cup victories at Bristol in his career, along with red-hot Chris Buescher, the defending Night Race winner who posted back-to-back wins at Richmond and Michigan recently, and defending series champ Joey Logano, a three-time BMS winner. Other past BMS winners like Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson also will be among those to watch, along with Bristol All-Star Race winner Chase Elliott and emerging stars Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, William Byron and Christopher Bell, who won the Bristol Dirt race in April. In addition to the Cup Series, the race weekend will feature the NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics and the Bush’s Beans 200 in the ARCA Menards Series.
▶ Tickets are going fast: Demand is at an all-time high and this historic race weekend is positioned to generate one of the biggest crowds in BMS history. We hope you will be a part of it!
The weekend begins with Zane Smith, Carson Hocevar, Ben Rhodes and defending winner Ty Majeski battling for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory Thursday night in the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics (Sept. 14, 9 p.m., FS1, MRN Radio). The rising stars in the ARCA Menards Series, including famed “Malcom in the Middle” star Frankie Muniz, also will take on the challenging half-mile bullring in the Bush’s Beans 200 as part of the Thursday night doubleheader (Sept. 15, 6 p.m., FS1, MRN Radio).
On Friday, Sparks are sure to fly in the Food City 300, as NASCAR Xfinity Series favorites John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Allgaier, Austin Hill, Cole Custer, Josh Berry and Parker Klingerman will be fighting hard in the Xfinity Series Playoff opener (Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m., USA Network, PRN Radio). Also, remember, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is also going to make his Bristol return at the Food City 300 driving the blue and yellow No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevy.
Finally, the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series will take to the track on Saturday for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race (Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m., USA Network, PRN Radio), you’ll get to see all of your favorite drivers racing hard to advance in the first elimination race of the Playoffs.
To purchase tickets, please visit www.bristolmotorspeedway.com or call the BMS Ticket Sales Center at (866) 415-4158. Fans can also purchase tickets at any Food City location through Sept. 5.
— Bristol Motor Speedway —