Bristol gets ready to race

BMS preparations

BRISTOL, Tenn. - It's not time to rev the engines just yet, but in about two weeks the sights and sounds of Bristol Motor Speedway will be in full swing.

That means there's a long list of things to get done before thousands of people make the trip to Bristol for the Irwin Tools Night Race.

There's plenty to do at the track, but just from looking around it might be hard for a regular spectator to see. Right now it's all about the details and executing what's been planned for months.

There are more than 150,000 seats inside the grandstand of Bristol Motor Speedway, and all of them are getting a personal touch-up. It's part of a long to-do list just two weeks before race fans make the pilgrimage to Bristol.

We talked to BMS Vice President Kevin Triplett about what they're doing to prepare. "Picture a lot of members of your family coming over to your house. One of the last things you do to make sure everything's in the right place and everything's spruced up," he explained.

That means replacing banners that have been damaged in this year's weather woes, as well as working on the track and infield.

They're also setting up the familiar hospitality village one tent at a time.

But with thousands of fans ready to grace the streets of downtown Bristol for Family Race Night, preparations are off the track too.

At the Burger Bar, they've not only doubled their space, but they've doubled their staffing for the coming crowds according to owner Joe Deel. "We're training today. As of today we're training new employees knowing that three or four days is going to be a really big hit," he said.

Getting ready for the night race means paying closest attention to safety according to Kevin Triplett. "You don't want to assume we've been doing it a while and so have they, but there are always differences," he said.

That's why BMS is working with 22 different agencies, including the City of Bristol, Tennessee, to make traffic and security flow smoothly.

Bristol, Tennessee traffic engineer David Metzger is a city employee who was enlisted. "We make sure we don't have any major construction projects closing roadways on race weekend. We look at it both from the traffic standpoint and the police security standpoint as for manipulating traffic signals, adding lanes where we have to by using our contra-flow lanes after the race," he told us.

The design is simply this -- to make race weekend one that's remembered for the racing and the memories along the track, and nothing else. "It's just getting ready for 150,000 of our closet friends, and we're looking forward to having them!" said Triplett.

If you plan on coming out to the Irwin Tools Night Race, you can take part in the preparations. Traffic engineers tell us to plan ahead and decide where you can park.

That points you in the direction where you will be leaving.

They also add to be sure to give yourself plenty of time.

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