Tennessee and Virginia Tech will play a football game in 2016 at Bristol Motor Speedway, a half-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track nestled in east Tennessee between the two campuses. Bristol Motor Speedway seats 158,000, and it won't have to be a sellout to break the NCAA's single game attendance record.
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) October 9, 2013
Earlier this season, Notre Dame's visit to Michigan -- perhaps the Irish's final visit to the Big House -- drew 115,109 fans, the most ever at a college football game, breaking the record that was set two years prior when Notre Dame played at Michigan. (Michigan currently has the five biggest crowds on record.)
This won't be the first football game Bristol has hosted. Back in 1961, when the track didn't seat nearly what it does today, it hosted a preseason NFL game between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. In 2005, track owner Bruton Smith offered Virginia Tech and Tennessee $20 million apiece to play at the track.
With Bristol's short track configuration, the field would fit nicely in the Bristol infield.The grandstands tower over Bristol and envelop the entire track, unlike most tracks that only have grandstands next to sections of the track. It seats more people than the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway, which currently has a capacity of 147,000 seats (though that number is set to go down because of renovations).
Bristol's August Sprint Cup Series race used to be the hottest ticket in NASCAR and there was more demand than supply. However, after changes to the track and other economic factors including hotel and transportation costs, attendances has declined in recent years.
Perhaps the track's most famous moment was when Dale Earnhardt wrecked Terry Labonte racing for the win.
Recently, it would be Tony Stewart's helmet fling towards Matt Kenseth.
That night race is still one of the coolest in NASCAR, so here's hoping that the game will be played under Bristol's bright lights. If there was ever a NASCAR venue that was perfect to host a college football game, Bristol is it. We just ask that the broadcast team assigned to the game uses as many NASCAR short-track references as possible like "beating and banging" and "rubbing is racing."
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- Sports & Recreation
- Bristol Motor Speedway