Bristol Motor Speedway, Dragway rev local area’s economic engine

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Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway continue to be among the most significant economic engines in Eastern Tennessee, according to a study released Wednesday.

BMS officials, as well as the Bristol TN/VA Chamber of Commerce, said research shows that the two race facilities generated a direct economic impact of more than $417 million from 2012 through 2014, as well as an indirect economic impact of more than $1.4 billion through the regional economy.

Those figures were determined from numerous race and charitable events, contributions and tax revenue, according to a news release.

“Our community, along with numerous others in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, reaps the benefits of having a partner such as Bristol Motor Speedway in our backyard,” Bristol TN/VA Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Joy Madison said. “Visitors who come to our area for a race experience are also spending money in our communities, and it’s made a significant impact on our region and all neighboring states.”

Bristol will be known next year for more than just motorsports-generating revenue for the area. On Sept. 10, 2016, Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee will play the “Battle at Bristol” football game in the BMS infield. Officials expect the game will generate $125 million in direct impact and $439 million in indirect impact to the surrounding area.

“One of the perks of working at BMS is that we come in contact with hundreds of thousands of people every year,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager for Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway. “For each of these individuals, their trip to Bristol isn’t limited to their time at the Speedway or Dragway.

“Instead, it includes their interactions and experiences while staying in hotels, dining at local restaurants, filling up at the gas station, shopping at the grocery store, visiting local points of interest and much more.”

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