This upcoming race weekend is a particularly special and memorable one for our sister SMI track, Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. The speedway, which was built in 1961, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. As a “thank you” to all the loyal fans, Bristol will have the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile Speed Trials” right after Saturday’s Scotts EZ Seed 300 Nationwide Series race. Champions from a variety of motorsport disciplines have been invited to come out and show fans what it really means to be fast and furious.
While Bristol’s race weekend will definitely be one to remember, it also marks the first major race weekend in 14 years without Bristol Motor Speedway President and General Manger, Jeff Byrd, who passed away in October of 2010 after a bout with cancer. In honor of Byrd, Sunday’s race will be called the Jeff Byrd 500, Presented by Food City. Many remember Byrd for dedication to the sport and the fans and to further celebrate his life Bristol is hosting a contest that will allow one lucky race fan to be the Honorary Starter for the Jeff Byrd 500. Just imagine the feeling of holding that green flag as the NASCAR Sprint Cup starting field zooms below your feet!
The racing that we will see in Bristol this weekend will add even more to the mix of excitement. Kyle Busch, who struggled in both Phoenix and Las Vegas, has won four of the past eight Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway. Also, Busch made NASCAR history last August when he became the first driver to sweep all three of NASCAR’s major national divisions (Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World Truck Series) in one weekend at Bristol. I bet Busch can’t wait for a dose of Tennessee fever this weekend! He can only hope that Carl Edwards keeps a safe distance. Edwards won the Sprint Cup Series race in Las Vegas and also owns two Sprint Cup Series victories at Bristol Motor Speedway. What an amazing weekend of celebration and racing to look forward to!