Bristol Motor Speedway is an auto racing circuit located in Bristol, Tenn., formerly known as Bristol International Race Circuit and now known as Bristol Motor Speedway. It was originally constructed in 1960, though many of its components are new. The circuit hosts some of the most renowned auto races in the world. Its main race track is known as the Bristol Motor Speedway and its smaller sister tracks are named after famous American drivers.
In its early days, the Bristol race track featured only asphalt and dirt and the circuit was known for its rough surface which made it unsuitable for some forms of motorsport. In an effort to reduce the amount of damage that was inflicted on its circuit, a new synthetic surface was used for much of the track's history, which is still in use today.
Since it was built in the 1960s, the Bristol motor raceway has become one of the most popular venues for NASCAR races. It also plays host to a variety of national touring car racing series, including the Bristol Touring Car Championship. The track has hosted international road racing championships too, including the Bristol Touring Car Championships in 1992, and it hosted the European Touring Car Championship in the UK in 2020.
The Bristol race track was home to several famous names in NASCAR before the current series was established. Jimmie Johnson won a record three consecutive titles at the track before he switched from his primary sponsor, Texaco, to Chevrolet. He also won two championships with former crew chief Al Unser. Both of those teams later moved on to other tracks while Johnson stayed at the track.
During the 1980s, a major overhaul was made to the Bristol circuit. Asphalt was replaced with dirt and a short-track configuration was installed on the backstretch. This was meant to increase speed and prevent accidents caused by bumps in the track. A new safety perimeter was also added. Some cars even have four-wheel drive kits designed for smoother operation on the track.
Since the original opening of the track, Bristol has grown into a very popular race and touring circuit and attracts thousands of visitors each year. The Bristol area has a population of over 4.5 million and the track regularly attracts crowds of over 20 thousand to watch local events. Many major corporations, such as Mercedes-Benz and Ford, sponsor many local events, which helps to sustain the area's sporting success.