|Jack and Tami Cox|
|Bristol NASCAR Speedway - and 160,000 fans|
Harry Comment - Lulu's brother Jack and wife Tami went to the football game at the NASCAR track in Bristol by their home. He wrote such a good report - I asked him to let me publish it. Here it is -
The game at the Racetrack was more of a personal experience than having a good seat at a game to actually see the game well. The place is so huge that all the seats are fairly far away from the field and some are so high it’s really hard to watch a game there. We went because of all the hype and also everyone we know was going, so we made a full day party of it. The parking and traffic was a disaster as getting to the track isn’t exactly easy in the first place. I’m fortunate that I’m a local in that regard as I had things figured out about as well as one could. Our Bristol Plant is just 5 miles up the road from the track, so I’m veryfamiliar with the area including some of the back roads leading into the place. There are campsites all around the track that people camp in for the NASCAR events held there. Many people started pulling campers in on Thursday. They were charging $75.00 a night to camp with no electric hook ups or sewer! Most people had campers with generators and holding tanks. Also parking can be a challenge there as well for non-campers. Anything close to the track is permits for suite holders and track personnel as well as corporate sponsors. Parking spots within ¼ of a mile of the track were being scalped for $100.00. Tickets were selling between $125.00 and $300 each. There wasn’t a lot of sellers believe it or not. I’ve never seen anything like it. Fortunately for Tami and I we had a couple of suite passes thru my company. Our suite was on the 50 yard line, but the suites are located at the top of the track, so they sit very high up. They have TV in them to view which helps, but if you’re at a game in a suite you expect to see the game better to begin with. We had unlimited drinks with an open bar and a personal bar tender. We also had a constant supply of hot food on a buffet. There were suite tickets being sold for $650.00 each so we could have made out well by selling them, but I don’t think my boss would have looked at that too favorably. The only catch to all this was that even though we were in the suite we didn’t have a suite parking pass. Our suite holds 18 people. Each suite owner only gets two parking passes. Two of our salesmen had the passes as they were escorting some big customers of ours to the event so Tami and I had to find our own way. A friend of mine who happens to be a Tennessee fan was going and was planning on camping in a nearby camp ground. He set up Friday night. Once he got set up he found me a parking place in his camp site by him for me to park the car. He said it would be $20.00. He sent me his GPS coordinates and we left Saturday morning at 9:00 AM. I had the radio on early that morning and they were saying that about noon expect a 4 hour delay getting into Bristol from the Interstate, that’s why we left so early. We pulled into the camp site at 10:15AM. I hit very little traffic. Also I didn’t end up having to pay the $20.00 to park. The campground lot that he was in was sponsored by a Toyota Dealership. Anyone that had a Toyota vehicle got to park was free excluding campers!
We tailgated from 10:15-2:30 at the campsite. During that time some other friends called and found out where we were at and joined us. About 2:30 we headed up to the track which was about ½ mile away. There was everything in the world set up around there. They had concerts going on, BBQ cook offs, all kinds of vendors, food, beer, etc. Actually the price of stuff outside the track was very reasonable. 24 ounce cans of beer were only $4.00 and the food was very reasonable as well. Tee shirts were only $20.00. After the game they were $15.00.
It was quite a warm day for Bristol considering it was early September. Typically it would be in the high 70’s to low 80’s, but this day it was close to 90. Fortunately it wasn’t humid and there was a breeze, but it still was hot. The suites opened up at 4PM before the general public could enter the gates at 5PM. Tami and I were getting hot and tired of being on our feet so we headed into the suite at 4PM. We relaxed in the air conditioning and watched some other games on ESPN and had some food. The rest of our gang got there about 5PM.
The game itself started off good for Tech going up 14-0, but a costly fumble deep in its territory gave TN an easy touchdown and totally changed the momentum of the game. Tami liked this as she’s a TN fan. She pulls for Tech against anyone but TN. I was pulling for Tech. TN went on to score 24 unanswered points and Tech never overcame that. Tech could have pulled within 7 mid way thru the 3rd quarter but another costly fumble sealed their fate. At that point I told Tami if we leave we’d beat all that traffic out of there. I estimated if we stayed to the end it would take 3-4 hours to get out. Fortunately we left and beat it easily. We were back in Rural Retreat at 12:30. When I spoke with some friends the next day that stayed to the end they said it was a real mess. It took them 3-4 hours to get out and many didn’t get home until 3-4 in the morning.
Overall it was a great experience and I’m glad we did it, but if it came up again and I had to buy tickets I would never think about doing it again.