Today my son will get his first chance to visit the Bristol Motor Speedway facility for its normal purpose, a NASCAR Race. We have made a few trips there for another reason, to support a local charity known as Speedway in Lights. It is a gigantic arrangement of Christmas lights hosted at the Speedway each holiday season to fund Speedway Children’s Charities, which is a way to fund several local charities.
This past Christmas we made another trip to see the display, our first in several years as a family. My son will turn eighteen in a couple of months and really was excited to learn we would be able to drive on the track. You see Bristol Motor Speedway has the smallest track in the NASCAR family. It also boasts some pretty significant banking. As my son drove a car full down on to the track he had visions of a hot lap dancing in his head. Instead he had ot creep along behind the others visiting that evening.
Today we will watch 43 cars mix it up in this 167,000 seat arena. In their advertising the fine folks that operate the track refer to it as the last great coliseum. I was last there nearly twenty years ago for a race when just over 100,000 fans crowded in. I know my son will be thrilled with the spectacle. We have been to the college football stadium at Virginia Tech, which holds 100,000 less and it is always a great adventure.
Unfortunately our fine US of A government will have a hand in today’s experience. Normally, as a part of the pageantry a military plane would fly over during the proceedings. But not this time, since our collection of elected officials managed to bungle their fiscal responsibilities with the sequestration disaster. I certainly hope they can get something accomplished to get the economy straight soon.
The local paper, based in Bristol Virginia promised a flyover of some sort, so there will still be plenty of pre-race excitement. Country music legend Charlie Daniels is slated to perform pre-race and will lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. A local son who has gone on to play NFL football for the San Fransisco 49ers will be the race marshal.
Then the stars of NASCAR, including Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhart Jr., Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson and others will fill the coliseum with the sounds, sights and smells of professional auto racing.
It was a great day as the sun won out over the 50% chance of rain. Boys day out was a huge success. The crowd was down, about half what the capacity of the facility would hold, but for those who came the show was fabulous. Kasey Kahne kept his Number 5 machine near the front all day and made the move late that meant the difference and his first ever Bristol victory.