Motor Speedway

Trip Start Nov 10, 2009
Trip End Dec 18, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We left Asheville possibly bound for Baltimore or somewhere in between.  The destination was uncertain.  We did however, need gas and sometime in the early afternoon we stopped in Bristol, TN.  The sign said Bristol Motor Speedway 7 miles.  Now I don't like NASCAR or any kind of auto racing but, when you are right there and your traveling partner likes NASCAR very much, you go the extra 7 miles.  Plus they say this place is an institution of the sport so what the heck.

We come upon the huge structure and pull into the parking lot.  It is mammoth and in the middle of a kind of highway but, nothing else except a bunch of surrounding hills, some residences and a few small businesses.  There is an ice rink on site.  We briefly checked it out just as the Zamboni was smoothing over the ice.  This was not where we needed to be so we re-routed up a serious hill to the Pro Shop and Ticket Counter.  The Pro Shop had lots of good stuff and I took care of some Christmas shopping there. 

Kevin worked on some getting tickets and I asked about tours.  We missed the last tour of the raceway but, we have a few minutes to roam around the track.  If we were fast we could see the track from all angles and catch some fine views of the surrounding hills and the sunset.  We bounded up the stadium steps high up to the top right to the luxury boxes.  They told us earlier that while we could get into the raceway, the luxury boxes were locked up. 

About 100 steps into the racing and bounding, my legs were hurting.  It seems that 36 days in a car eating fast food, good food, too much food does something not so great to both the muscles and the waistline.  Getting old sucks.  I found myself bent over and gasping for air on more than one occasion.  We took a ton of pictures and dragged ourselves back to the car.  Now it was time for some chow.

The tour shop folks directed us to a place called Simply Delicious about a mile and a half down the road.  It was a nice little deli/diner/grocery that was just perfect.  At this point in the trip the idea of an Applebees experience just doesn't satisfy.  You want the local flavor.  You don't want the film flam and flair of such homogenized fare.  Actually, you don't ever want that but, your tolerance for such antics is very low.

We got some sandwiches and soup and killed some time.  Really we should be making time back to Baltimore but, the Pro Shop folks told us that for $10 we could see the Christmas light show that adorns the track and we'd even be able to drive our car around the track.  Now I was interested.  Taking this 10 year old Subaru Outback around the Bristol Motor Speedway seemed like a good idea.  So we chilled out and got ready for the racetrack. 

The story wasn't really the story with the ride around the track.  The lights were amazing.  There were animated lights featuring fishing scenes to dinosaurs.  All the lights were sponsored by different corporate sponsors so what you were really getting was a Christmassy, glorious, 45 minute commercial with an accompanying soundtrack on a special radio station.  The show was outstanding.  There were some light stuffs that I had never seen on those rides down the streets with the serious lights.  Really though, we wanted to get on the track.  I was informed that it possessed a steep grade and that you would really know you were on the track because of it. 
Finally, we got onto the track and we were only on it for about a quarter of a mile but, you could really feel the grade.  It was like you were falling out of the car, you needed to hang on tight. 

After out quarter mile they ushered us off the course.  I guess they didn't want any yahoos to get too excited and really try to push it.  Yeah, this would be bad.  So off the track we went and began heading towards Baltimore, or Charlottesville or wherever the night would hold.

Now there is a ton of video in this entry.  You may find it fascinating or boring as can be.  Just letting you know there is a lot of it.
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