bristol motor speedway

Martinsville Cup schedule to mirror those used elsewhere this season

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NASCAR announced Tuesday that “enhanced” two-day weekend schedules would return this year and be used for 12 of the 36 Cup Series races.

The first is this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Qualifying for the STP 500 will be held Saturday after the Camping World Truck Series race. Qualifying was held on Sunday for last October’s playoff race.

The schedules feature two days of Cup action to go with three total days of on-track activity (Camping World Truck Series teams practice Friday at Martinsville, for example). The weekends also will have a rotating schedule of Cup drivers participating in interactive opportunities for fans.

Enhanced schedules are set for both Martinsville races and the following race weekends:

Richmond I and II,  Kansas (May), Chicagoland, Kentucky, Pocono (July), Watkins Glen, Bristol (August), Indianapolis and Talladega (October).

The concept of such race weekends for Cup was implemented in the second half of last year at Martinsville, Indianapolis, Pocono and Watkins Glen.

Also, the Kansas race in May, the September Richmond race, the Kentucky race in July, and the Bristol race in August had Cup cars on track two days those weekends.

Fans can vote on driver introduction songs at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Have you ever sat in the stands at Bristol Motor Speedway during driver introductions and thought, “Who picked that song?”

For years Cup drivers have been introduced before races at the half-mile track with songs they’ve chosen themselves.

But like Erik Jones last August, drivers sometimes forget to pick one.

Now the decision is out of their hands.

Bristol has revamped the song selection process and between now and March 30, fans will get the final say.

Fans can go to the track’s website and vote on one of three songs that “best represents the drivers.”

A new batch of drivers will be available to vote on every Wednesday and Friday through March 30. The winning songs will be heard prior to the April 15 Food City 500.

You can vote for each driver once a day.

Fans can now vote on the intro songs for Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, David Ragan, Denny Hamlin and Chris Buescher.

If enough fans vote, Elliott will be introduced to a song sung by his own father, Bill Elliott.

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Bristol Motor Speedway revamps ticket pricing structure, loyalty program

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Bristol Motor Speedway has announced a new ticket pricing structure and a revamped fan loyalty program for its 2018 racing season.

The half-mile track hosts two NASCAR race weekends this season. The first from April 13-15 and then Aug. 15-18.

Entry level ticket pricing was not reduced.

The track is also introducing a Business Acceleration Club aimed at small businesses.

Here are the details.

For All NASCAR Fans:
•   Bristol Motor Speedway restructured more than 65 percent of ticket prices within The Last Great Colosseum. The new Speedway pricing structure now features 13 single-day and weekend price points to fit a wide variety of budgets. (In 2017, there were six price points.)
• The new 2018 Speedway pricing structure (introduced in Oct. 2017) features 13 single-day and weekend price points, up from six price points in 2017. Single day tickets start at just $60 for the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 15 and $70 for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on Saturday, Aug. 18. Fans who purchase tickets prior to the respective race month (April 1 and Aug. 1) will save $10 per ticket across the entire venue.
•  Fans purchasing tickets prior to race month (April 1 and Aug. 1) will save $10 per ticket across the entire venue.

•  The best value and lowest price is the BMS season ticket starting at $149.

•  Season Ticket includes both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, both NASCAR XFINITY Series races and a free ticket to Bush’s Beans Pole Day in April

•  Kids, 12 and under, Season Tickets are $20

For Loyal BMS Guests
•   The Speedway’s all-new Bristol REWARDS program replaces, expands and enhances the former iBelong season ticket holder program. Bristol REWARDS is a new tiered incentives program that recognizes loyal guests with varying levels of benefits
  •  Members of the BMS iBelong program have been automatically enrolled in the new Bristol REWARDS and will receive the same great benefits as always, while 2017 weekend and single-day ticket holders who meet the minimum requirements have also been enrolled
•   Guests can use their Bristol REWARDS to obtain pit and drivers meeting passes, invitations to member-only events, special add-on events, savings on concessions, rewards at Food City and much more
For Small Businesses:
    •   Bristol Motor Speedway is introducing a new Business Acceleration Club – affordable, suite-level amenities, expanded access at one of the nation’s premier sporting complexes, along with an exclusive, private golf package for four at The Virginian, a Bristol-based private community and club that features a Tom Fazio-designed course and participation in select Bristol-based Seat Time Racing School events.

Unfulfilled rage: When Terry Labonte sought revenge vs. Dale Earnhardt


“Didn’t mean to really turn him around, meant to rattle his cage, though.”

It’s been almost 20 years since Dale Earnhardt, with a towel wrapped around his neck and a grin on his face, uttered this iconic phrase in Victory Lane after the 1999 Wintson Cup night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Not grinning was NASCAR’s “Iceman” – Terry Labonte after Earnhardt knocked him out of the lead on the final lap, sending Labonte’s No. 5 Chevrolet spinning and into the inside wall while Earnhardt headed for his ninth win at that track.

Four years after a similar ending in the 1995 race, the accident sent fans into an angry uproar directed at Earnhardt. If Labonte, known for his calm demeanor, had gotten his way after the checkered flag, it would have resulted in a real-life version of a scene from Days of Thunder.

“He might be going to Victory Lane, but that No. 5 is going to be stuck in that side of that thing,’ ” Labonte said he thought.

But his Kellogg’s Chevrolet betrayed him at the last moment.

Labonte recounted his side of the infamous race Sunday night when he was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association’s Hall of Fame.

The build up to Labonte’s boiling point began with about 10 laps to go. While leading the race, the two-time Cup champion was spun for the first time that night.

Here’s what Labonte had to say.

“I look up and my brother (Bobby Labonte) is running around on the apron, leaking oil on the apron. I thought, ‘What is he doing? Get off the track.’ Sure enough, here comes the caution flag. … I remember it like it was yesterday. I was coming through (Turns) 3 and 4, the caution is out. I was fixing to lap Brett Bodine. I went, ‘I don’t want to lap him again.’ So I slowed up here so I don’t put him another lap down. All of sudden, somebody, my buddy Darrell Waltrip, runs in the back of me and spins me out. Nobody remembers that part. That started a chain of events right there.

“So I’m sitting here backwards, right? And I thought, ‘What in the world happened? He just spun me out.’ So here comes Dale by, here comes everybody else by. … Well, Dale was pitting on the back straightaway so everybody thought he stayed out, but he really didn’t stay out because he had to wait until he could go around to the back straightaway.

“So a bunch of guys didn’t pit. I got my car cranked and took off. So we’re the last car on the lead lap. It’s only seven cars or so. I came down pit road, put on four tires. When you have four tires at Bristol and everybody else doesn’t have tires, you look like a hero, you know?”

(The race restarted with five laps to go.)

“I was coming through there, I was passing everybody and got to Dale on the last lap. We bumped a little bit coming off (Turn) 4 and went down into (Turn) 1. I kind of had a bad angle. My car bottomed out and Dale hit me. Spun me out.

“I said, ‘Sh….shoot.'” *laughter* I was spinning down the back straightaway. The car’s nosed into the wall there. I thought, ‘Man, I cannot believe this.’ I can hear the crowd yelling. I mean the crowd was yelling. … I looked up and I see that No. 3 coming off Turn 2 after he got the checkered. This is the part, people after that race said, ‘Man, you were so cool. How’d you did do that? You were so cool. You just got wrecked and you were just so calm and everything.’

“Well, the story was…I had my car, I cranked it back up. When I see the 3 coming, I thought, ‘You know what? He might be going to Victory Lane, but that No. 5 is going to be stuck in that side of that thing.'”


“I had that timed perfect. It was perfect. I had it in reverse and here he comes. Man, I revved it up and popped the clutch on that thing and it tore the reverse gear out of it after it went about three inches. I just got out and I said, ‘Oh, shoot,’ again. Walked to my trailer and changed clothes and went home.”

The race, along with the 1995 version, are now honored with banners in the Bristol grandstands commemorating the track’s history.

Watch the ending of the 1999 race in the video above as Labonte recounts his tale below.

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NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s ‘My Greatest 8’ — ‘It’s Bristol, baby!’

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Hard as it may seem to believe, there is just one race left in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR Cup career.

NASCAR America began a series last week that chronicles eight of Junior’s favorite memories of his career called “My Greatest 8.”

Today marks the eighth and final episode of the series.

Until 2004, no driver had swept a weekend of Xfinity and Cup races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. became the first when he swept the fall weekend under the lights at the short track.

While his father won at Bristol nine times, the night race win for Earnhardt was his only Cup victory at Bristol.

In victory lane, Earnhardt coined one of his trademark phrases when he proclaimed, “It’s Bristol, baby!”

Prior to his final start at the track in August, Bristol Motor Speedway erected a large sign with the phrase outside the track.

Here’s the first seven segments of “My Greatest 8” that have aired in chronological order:

Monday, Nov. 6: First Xfinity championship in 1998 driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Tuesday, Nov. 7: Wins second consecutive Xfinity championship in 1999.

Wednesday, Nov. 8: First career Cup win at Texas in 2000.

Thursday, Nov. 9: Wins 2000 All-Star race

Monday, Nov. 13: Wins 2001 Pepsi 400 at Daytona

Tuesday, Nov. 14: Wins 2004 Daytona 500

Wednesday, Nov. 15: Wins second Daytona 400