BEHIND THE SCENES: A look at how BMS prepares for race weekend


BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – We are just days away from race weekend at the World’s Fastest Half Mile, right here in the Tri-Cities.

Bristol Motor Speedway is gearing up for NASCAR’s return to the Last Great Colosseum this season with Sunday’s Food City 500.

News Channel 11 spent the day at the track and has a behind the scenes look at what it takes to get race ready.

It takes over 1500 people working in the months, weeks, days and hours leading up to this weekend to make the racing experience all possible.

The Bristol Motor Speedway property is more than 500 acres. 

We learned thousands of plants are brought in for race weekend 

“We have to orchestrate it and time it just right so that when the fans do arrive, it’s at optimal color,” Bristol Motor Speedway’s Vice President of Purchasing Adam Rust said.

Wednesday was a day for final touches in the months long landscaping plan.

“Just since February since we started preparing the grounds to receive the plants, we had well over 1200 hours,” Rust said.

There was also plenty of work to be done on the inside. A more than 1200 pound wood table was carefully hoisted up into a new conference room.

Fans in conference rooms and in the stands, usually want something to eat and drink.

“We bring in over 2000 pounds of ribs, and that’s just for suites,” Bristol Motor Speedway’s Executive Chef Jeremiah Clement said.

Over 50 concession stands are nearby. We’re told nachos and hot dogs are the biggest sellers.

“It’s a lot of work and everything, but it all pays off in the end and whenever the guests and the fans are happy, it’s worth it,” Clement said.

Finishing touches were also underway on Wednesday on the track.

The stadium was also wrapping up installation and testing of colossus, working on the catch fence that goes around the race track, setting up trash cans, emergency services and fire rescue stocking up their areas, among other things.

“Overwhelming amount of work that takes place, but there’s an incredible team, behind it so it makes it fun. And you don’t realize it’s actually work,” Rust said.

We’re told this is really an all-year process to get Bristol Motor Speedway ready for the races and future events.

Tickets are still available for Sunday night’s Food City 500 race.

Thursday night – the Bristol Motor Speedway Transporter Parade will begin at 7 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops at The Pinnacle then arrive at Bristol Motor Speedway at 8 p.m.

Friday is Food City Family Race Night at the hospitality area outside turn four at Bristol Motor Speedway.

News Channel 11 will have live coverage beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.

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