As we get ready for one of the most anticipated races of the season, here are a few fast facts about Bristol Motor Speedway:
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Hidden in a valley among the Appalachian Mountains sits one of the greatest sports facilities in America. The 0.533-mile oval is a must-see destination for NASCAR fans.
Surrounded by 160,000 seats, tonight 43 drivers will compete under the lights in what has come to be known "The Last Coliseum."
While today’s track is encased by grandstands and suites, the "World’s Fastest Half Mile" has gone through a host of changes over the years.
The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was held at the 0.5-mile facility on July 30, 1961, an event won by Jack Smith with relief from Johnny Allen. Even in the track’s first event, drivers were knocking the doors off one another — quite literally.
The first change to the track came in 1963, when the track was reshaped and extended to the current 0.533-mile length.
Lights brought an entirely new aspect to the already exciting track in 1978.
In 1992, the track was changed mid-season from asphalt to concrete, with Darrell Waltrip taking the first win on the new surface.
The track was resurfaced in 2007 and progressive banking was added to create multiple grooves.
Most recently, the top groove of the track was gound down in 2012 to eliminate the progressive banking.
5:00p — Now that we’re all caught up on the track itself, here are a few fast facts:
• Kyle Busch has the best average finish among active drivers (9.824).
• Darrell Waltrip leads all drivers with 12 wins at Bristol, while Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch lead all active drivers with five wins each.
• Six of the last eight races have finished with margin of victory of less than a second.
• The deepest a winner has ever started at Bristol was 38th by Elliott Sadler in 2001.
• The pole sitter has won 22 times at Bristol, the most of any position in the field. The last driver to do so was Carl Edwards in 2008.
5:05p — Get ready for tonight’s race with a lap around Bristol in the pace car:
5:10p — Kenny Wallace and NASCAR RaceDay crew is getting prepped for tonight’s show at 6p ET on Fox Sports 1!
5:20p — Drivers will walk out to music for driver introductions tonight, and it appears country artist Jake Owen has picked a special song for Kevin Harvick.
However, it doesn’t look like Harvick will be let in on the joke until it’s his time to be introduced.
5:30p — Close quarters on the track and close quarters in the driver/crew chief meeting!
As if starting last wasn’t bad enough, Kyle Busch sits on the floor during the meeting. Things can only get better for Rowdy, right?
6:15p — The fans a Bristol Motor Speedway take in a Hank Williams, Jr. pre-race concert.
The spotters may have the best seat in the house for tonight’s race.
6:40p — Let’s go through the starting lineup thanks to Bristol Motor Speedway’s Vine account.
7:15p — Samantha Busch knows gives all the Kyle Busch fans in the stands some love.
7:35p — The anthem has been sung, the flyover has passed! Tighten those belt, it’s time to go night racing at Bristol!
BRISTOL, TN – AUGUST 25: Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 25, 2012 in Bristol, Tenn. (Photo by Andrew Coppley – Pool/Getty Images for NASCAR)
BRISTOL, TN — July 30, 1961: The driver’s door falls off of Junior Johnson’s Pontiac as he battles Fred Lorenzen during the Volunteer 500 NASCAR Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson later dropped out of the event with rear end problems. (Photo by ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images)