CONVERSION OF BMS FROM CONCRETE TO DIRT COMPLETE BRISTOL, Tenn., Tuesday, May 16, 2000 - No one waved a magic wand over Bristol Motor Speedway but it might appear so as it took just over a week to transform the world's fastest and most famous half mile into a dirt track.
Baker's Construction Services of Bluff City transported almost 1,000 truckloads of dirt from Doug White's farm between May 8 and May 15. The red clay now covers the concrete surface awaiting the June 2-3 "Eco-Quest Living Air 100" for Hav-A-Tampa late models and "Pizza Plus Invitational" for UMP Modifieds, as well as the June 9-10 "Channellock Challenge at Bristol" for the Pennzoil World of Outlaws. After trying out five different types of undercoating, sawdust proved the most effective buffer between the concrete and the dirt. More than 700 cubic yards of sawdust covered the track before the dirt was put down.
BMS Director of Development Scott Hatcher said the project went flawlessly. "Once we got started and got a system going," said Hatcher, "it all came together nicely and turned out very well. I think it's a spectacular dirt track. Everyone that's seen it -competitors, promoters, media - is impressed."
Hatcher said he and his team barely altered their original plan much once they started. "We did make the track wider than we originally planned," he said. "We started out at 65 feet wide and then added another 12 to 14 feet on the bottom."
BMS Operations employees made very few modifications to the track itself, which now features 22 to 24 degree banking in place of the 36-degree banking on the concrete surface. They raised the pit gate and the walk-through gate at the start-finish line and covered storm drains to keep dirt out.
"The track looks great," said Hatcher. "I'm really pleased how well this worked. I honestly didn't think it would be this good, this soon. We only have to keep water on it to keep it in shape for the races in a couple of weeks. We're ready to go."
Bristol Dragway is owned by Bristol Motor Speedway, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Speedway Motorsports is a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the U.S. SMI owns and operates the following premiere facilities: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte, Sears Point Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway. SMI also provides event food, beverage and souvenir merchandising services through its Finish Line Events subsidiary, and manufactures and distributes smaller-scale, modified racing cars through its 600 Racing subsidiary.