BRISTOL, TN (WJHL)- Thousands of people gathered at Bristol motor Speedway for the first night of races. Traffic has hit, campers are in place, vendors are ready to cash in and fans are gearing up to watch one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers hit the track for one last time.
“We’re hoping that he does win this race,” said Paul Caffery. “That is what we want.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who announced his retirement earlier this year, said Bristol is still one of his favorite places.
“I love Bristol is a lot of fun to race there, I’ve been going there as a little kid — that was my favorite to go to was the night race at Bristol,” said Earnhardt.
“We always sell a lot of Dale Jr. stuff from this stand and of course with this being his last trip at Bristol people are showing a little more interest in things,” said Mike Danser.
Fans said regardless of the outcome of the race, they hope he continues to make an impact on NASCAR.
“He kind of filled the gap between the old drivers and the new drivers,” said Danser. “I hope his continued involvement in the sport will keep it from being a negative.”
Fans said they have an idea of which driver could be the next fan favorite.
“Chase Elliott,” said Danser. “He seems to have become more popular over the years.”
Fans who want to see Dale Jr. for one last time at Bristol have two opportunities, Friday night in the Food City 300 and Saturday night in the Bass Pro Shop NRA Night Race.
BMS will open the Dale Jr. Moments museum in the fan zone. Interactive displays will allow fans to experience over 20 years of Dale Jr.’s history at the track, including his legendary sweep at BMS in August 2005. The museum will be open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.