NASCAR’s best will hit the high banks this weekend, April 21-23. This year’s Food City 500 live will feature a special milestone: Food City celebrates its 25th year of sponsoring the April race. This partnership between the regional grocery retailer and the Speedway remains the second longest race entitlement partnership in NASCAR. And with the return of the lower groove, the action will be at an all-time high at Bristol.
“We can’t wait to reconnect with our old friends and look forward to welcoming new guests to the Food City 500 weekend,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “There’s so much to do during race weekend and that doesn’t even include the race itself. We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.”
The April race weekend will be the first chance for fans to see the new stage racing format that NASCAR implemented at the beginning of the season. All races in NASCAR’s top three series will feature three stages. The Stage 1 and Stage 2 winners will earn 10 additional points and a playoff point, with the top 10 also earning regular season points. The winner of Stage 3 will earn the race victory and move closer to a spot in the 2017 playoffs. The Food City 500 live is scheduled to be run in three stages of 125 laps, 125 laps and 250 laps. The Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 is scheduled for 85 laps, 85 laps and 130 laps.
Families will want to be sure to check out many of Bristol’s newest kids initiatives for 2017. Kids-12-and-under are free to Friday’s Bush’s Beans Pole Day and Saturday’s Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300/Zombie Auto 125 doubleheader. With the purchase of an adult ticket, kids’ tickets to Sunday’s Food City 500 live are only $10. Each child must have a physical ticket to enter the gates.
In addition, BMS has introduced two new concourse level kids’ zones (one in Turn 2 and one in Turn 4) to complement the main kid zone in the Fan Zone area outside Turn 2 of Bristol Motor Speedway. These new zones will give parents a place to entertain their kids during the race.
Another new addition to Bristol Motor Speedway is the Fan Zone Stage, located next to the iconic Bristol Tower. The stage will feature driver appearances, live musical performances and a live pre-race show on Sunday. The stage is designed to create an ESPN College GameDay-type atmosphere for guests in the Fan Zone and will be open all three days of racing.
Fans in the stands will be in for a treat as the Speedway moves its MENCS Victory Lane to the start finish line. This will give fans a chance to celebrate with the winning driver after 500 grueling laps.
Highlights of the weekend include:
Thursday, April 20: The annual SCC dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. in the third floor banquet room of The Bruton Smith Building. NASCAR Hall of Famer and two-time Bristol winner Mark Martin and PRN announcer Brad Gillie will entertain and host the evening’s festivities. Please contact Betsy Holleman at (423) 989-6975 for details and to reserve a space.
Later that night, Track Laps presented by Johnny Brusco’s will be held at 7 and 8 p.m. For $35, guests can drive their own vehicle around the World’s Fastest Half Mile for five laps. Additionally, fans can get their picture taken in victory lane for an extra $10. Guests are asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to their session time.