Bristol: Speedway grows in popularity

Bristol's growth in popularity mirroring NASCAR's overall DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 23, 2004) -- Bristol Motor Speedway personifies, perhaps more than any other race track, the exponential growth of NASCAR. How so? Consider this: On July...

Bristol's growth in popularity mirroring NASCAR's overall

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 23, 2004) -- Bristol Motor Speedway personifies, perhaps more than any other race track, the exponential growth of NASCAR.

How so?

Consider this: On July 29, 1961 when NASCAR's premier series raced for the first time at BMS, attendance was approximately 25,000. Sunday afternoon, when the green flag waves for the Food City 500, approximately 160,000 will be shoe-horned into what has become a coliseum of speed.

The lure of the .533-mile high-back oval is simple. Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) has it nailed.

"There is usually a preferred line at Bristol -- and you have 43 guys trying to get in the same line," Jarrett said.

While doing that, drivers also are trying to deal with the daunting 36-degree banking and the inevitable -- and many times, a shade more than incidental -- contact between cars. The result: Rough-and-ready stock-car racing at its finest, a fact that fans have increasingly responded to over the years. Accordingly, Bristol Motor Speedway has repeatedly expanded its grandstand seating to the point where it now has a football stadium-like capacity.

Every seat, incidentally, will be filled on Sunday.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett