Bristol Motor Speedway added to its amazing legacy in 2020 amid a very challenging environment. Below are 20 of the most memorable moments from the World’s Fastest Half-Mile in the year 2020.
20 – In partnership with Marsh Regional Blood Center, Bristol Motor Speedway hosted three successful blood drives during the pandemic year. The blood drives were held at BMS in March, April and November.
19 – Bristol Motor Speedway’s tall grandstands served as the stairways and steps for regional firefighters during the sixth Annual Tri-Cities 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on Sept. 12, held for the first time in history at BMS. Participants climbed 110 floors, the height of the World Trade Center, to help raise money for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
18 – When devastating tornadoes ripped through the Nashville area in early March (pre-pandemic), the BMS team went to work and rallied the community, enabling the Northeast Tennessee region to provide two trailer loads of much needed supplies to assist the victims in Middle Tennessee in their time of need.
17 – Ryan Luza won the annual eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series event at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway. Luza survived a handful of cautions, an overtime finish and a hard-charging Garrett Lowe to earn the victory.
16 – BMS hosted the fourth annual Pinty’s U.S. Short Track Nationals in late September and awarded trophies and BMS Gladiator Swords to Super Late Model winner Trevor Noles, Pro Late Model winner Josh Brock, Super Street winner Brett Hudson and Compacts winner Tom Gossar.
15 – BMS began construction on an innovative track facility project including an outdoor sports bar cut into the grandstands in the Gordon Terrace above the backstretch of the high-banked oval. In other grandstand sections, BMS installed drink rails, hand rails and added extra leg room for all guests.
14 – BMS served as the site for the opening of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs with the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics on Thursday, Sept. 16. The race was held without fans.
13 – Rising star Sam Mayer had an amazing night at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday, Sept. 16 as the young phenom raced to victories in both the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series UNOH 200 and the ARCA Menards Series Bush’s Beans 200.
12 – While the sport was on hold early in the pandemic, most Cup Series regulars competed in the iRacing Pro Invitational Series. The Food City Showdown was held at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway on April 5 and sim racing veteran William Byron proved he had the right stuff to take the victory in his virtual No. 24 machine.
11 – BMS’s Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities launched the 24th Pinnacle Speedway in Lights on Friday, Nov. 13. The tradition-rich holiday light show offers a socially-distanced experience for guests in the Christmas Village inside the BMS infield.
10 – In September, BMS dedicated a brand-new walking and running trail on track property to honor seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champ Jimmie Johnson, a two-time BMS winner. The JJ5K Trail at BMS will be available for guests to enjoy during all future events. The 2020 season was Johnson’s last as a full-time competitor in the NASCAR Cup Series.
9 – JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson raced to victory at BMS in the Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco on Monday night, June 1. The race was contested without fans in the grandstands.
8 – Speedway Motorsports Executive Chairman Bruton Smith, who built Bristol Motor Speedway & Dragway into a one-of-a-kind world-renowned sports and entertainment destination, was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame on June 27.
7 – The Food City Supermarket Heroes 500 was held at BMS on Sunday afternoon, May 31 with no fans in attendance. Chase Elliott and Joey Logano battled for the lead late in the race and made contact, opening the door for Brad Keselowski to take the victory. The race was rated No. 1 on Jeff Gluck’s “Was It a Good Race?” poll conducted on Twitter. That fan vote gives BMS three of the top five races on the poll, including the top two.
6 – BMS safely conducted the first NASCAR Xfinity race that was a companion event to the Cup Series in front of a limited number of fans during the pandemic. The Food City 300, the regular season finale for the Xfinity Series, was won by Chase Briscoe on Friday night, Sept. 17.
5 – In mid-September, BMS hosted a round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for the first time in history. Veteran driver Kevin Harvick won the Round of 16 elimination race at the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.
4 – For the first time in history BMS hosted the prestigious NASCAR All-Star Race, which was won by Chase Elliott on Wednesday night, July 15. The All-Star Race at BMS featured several innovative concepts, as the Choose Rule was used for the first time, neon underglow lighting was featured on the primary All-Star qualifiers’ cars and the sponsor logos and car numbers were presented in a new modern design on each car.
3 – BMS conducted a successful “Be An All-Star, Wear A Mask” public service campaign, that included videos, outdoor banners and social media outreach with graphics and information. Special “Bristol Strong” masks were created in partnership with the Tennessee Governor’s office and sold at Food City stores with proceeds benefitting Speedway Children’s Charities.
2 – BMS announced the 2021 Food City Dirt Race, a return to racing on a dirt surface for the NASCAR Cup Series for the first time since 1970. BMS will convert its racing surface to dirt and the much-anticipated race will be held on Sunday afternoon, March 28. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series also will race in the BMS dirt with the Pinty’s Dirt Race on Saturday night, March 27.
1 – BMS safely conducted two NASCAR Cup Series events that allowed approximately 30,000 socially-distanced attendees to return to sports during the worldwide pandemic. The resulting blueprint plan of protocols and guidelines was shared throughout the sports industry.