Bristol Motor Speedway

10/21/2009

How cool is it to have “The World’s Fastest Half Mile” NASCAR race track right here in Bristol? Before Bruton Smith and 160,000 seats, I remember going to Sunday races in the 70’s. It was Bill Meade & I, his late father Art, a couple of coolers and a bucket of chicken. We pretty much had the whole bleacher row to ourselves. Cale Yarborough seemed to win every race back then. Fast-forward to the 80’s, with a few more thousand seats, but still before the luxury suites. In fact the only “suites” back then were the ones for the sponsors. I remember one race that WQUT program director John Patrick & I attended. We talked our way into “The Budweiser Suite,” provided by our buddies at Holston Distributing Co. (Radio people always know how to find the “perks.”) Our main purpose that night was rooting against Dale Earnhardt, (he was never one of our “favorites”) and trying to find a full keg after the one we were hovering over was exhausted. After several such “searches,” we realized that we had company with us on our trek for liquid refreshment. It was (former Tennessee) Senator Jim Sasser! He stayed right with us….keg for keg. We had some great conversations that night, and I must say that for a politician, he was pretty cool. Anyway, of course Earnhardt won the race. We drove home that night in John’s open top Spitfire. John ended up with a terminal case of the hiccups, and we drove the entire route home behind some really obnoxious Dale Earnhardt fans.