The amphitheater-like seating of the Bristol Motor Speedway opened its doors to NASCAR fans on July 21, 1961 . Although relatively small and slow (speeds hit about 120 mph on its .533 miles), the track quickly gained popularity due to its 27 degree banking, narrow turns and reputation for crashes. On Sunday the 22nd of March, I joined 159,999 other screaming, drunk and sunburnt fans to experience the sound and the furry of a southern NASCAR race: the Food City 500.
The view from my seat.
Despite the excitement of watching this for three and half hours, I fell asleep only to be roused from my impromptu cat nap by a bulging stomach/crotch of a corn fed, 215-pound mother of three.
Everyone was wearing earplugs.
The belly of the Bristol beast.
The wreckage after the storm. I would not be surprised if there were at least one million empties in the stadium. 1000000÷160000=6.25 beers per person. This may sound a bit preposterous to a "yuppie" yankee like myself who is used to buying $7 dollar Bud Lights at a Blazers game and who thinks drinking 6.25 beers during the course of three and half hour game seems like a lot.
However to a NASCAR fan, like this fine gentleman above, this is a way of life. Each sizable fan has the option to bring one cooler, 14" by 14", filled with beverages of their choice, into the stadium. Needless to say, I think this guy could dispatch 6.25 beers with ease.
The boys post race between turns three and four.
The next morning I learned that a young man named Kyle Busch, named after the illustrious brew consumed by many an avid NASCAR fan, had won after leading the majority of the race. It was news to me. I was too busy napping, hydrating, making frequent stops to the bathroom and taking photos to follow what was happening in the race itself.