Behind the scenes at BMS
NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway have gone to great lengths to make every race weekend very fan-friendly.
From driver meet-and-greets to ticket packages that include garage passes, there isn't a whole lot the average fan can't see. We spent Friday behind the scenes at the track to take a look at some of the places fan's don't usually get to see.
The NASCAR Nationwide Tour is a 32-race marathon that can put 60,000 miles on a team's car hauler. RAB Racing with Brack Maggard has two teams -- the 29 car with Kenny Wallace behind the wheel Friday night, and the 99 car of Alex Bowman.
Chris Rice is the crew chief for the 99 team. "It takes a lot of people to make this happen," he told us. "No one person makes it happen."
Rice showed us around the team's locker area. "These lockers have got everything from crew helmets, anything they need to bring, they have it on the hauler. We've got to wear fireproof uniforms, so you've got to have 20 uniforms each week to supply to the guys."
It's also important for team members to communicate. "One of the big items a lot of people don't realize we have is communication," he explained. "A lot of radios. A lot of things people don't normally see. I wear three radios each race, the spotters wear three radios. [We have] a lot of radios in here for all our guys."
The hauler is a race shop on wheels. They've got to have spare parts in case they need to put Bowman's Toyota Camry back together.
Bristol is notoriously hard on brakes, so team haulers are stocked with parts for those as well. "From your ducts to your fans, to your calipers to hoses. It looks like chaos, looks like a mess, but I guarantee you that if I asked our brake guy to come down to get me a rear caliper [from the hauler], he'd be able to," he said.
The hauler is also a mobile office and lounge.
While drivers hang out in their haulers or RVs, the media congregates in the infield in the media center, where you'll find local and national television crews, along with the reporters who cover the NASCAR beat on a weekly basis.
There's also the infield care center with three stretchers and a room for eye exams. They're set up for any major trauma, complete with two emergency doctors.
Usually the care team just deals with drivers and their tempers according to Wellmont Healthcare Coordinator Sherry Love. "[There's] a lot of adrenaline. They spend a lot of money to be here. Their cars are expensive. And the wrecks, if they see is not their fault they can be pretty upset about it," she explained.
A driver never wants to end up in the care center; it means their race is most likely over.
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