By admin | August 22, 2012
By Richard Allen
I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the country but here in east Tennessee we have been constantly bombarded with advertising for Saturday’s Sprint Cup race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Keep in mind that this event hardly needed any advertising to sell out prior to the track changes made a few years ago.
That media blitz continues right up to the last minute. BMS just this week sent out a mass e-mail that declared, “You have to see it to believe it.” I’m wondering just how many fans will indeed make the decision to see it and how many are waiting for a race or two to believe it.
In 2007, officials from the track’s parent company, Speedway Motorsports, Inc., decided to resurface the half-mile track. As part of that change, the facility’s famous 36 degree banking was reduced and progressive banking was installed. Since that time, drivers have lauded the new configuration for its “race-ability” while fans have increasingly shown their displeasure by staying away in greater numbers each year, particularly in the March race.
After the most recent race on the track, which featured a grandstand with large numbers of empty seats, SMI chairman O. Bruton Smith opted to do something. A fan vote on the track’s website was held and the decision was made to change the track. So, the banking in the upper groove was shaved down in an attempt to narrow the racing line and bring back “Racing the way it ought to be.”
Obviously, the officials from SMI hope fans will come back and fill those 160,000 seats that ring the concrete speedway. But it remains to be seen whether or not they will.
Another thing that remains to be seen is how many people actually will pay this time around to watch the race. There have been more ticket giveaways on radio stations and a number of other platforms over the past few weeks around here than I can ever remember prior to an August race.
So how about you? Are you going to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend or are you waiting to see how the track changes will affect the racing?
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