Smith Announces Changes Coming To BMS
Less than a month after fan feedback convinced him to make changes to the concrete surface at Bristol Motor Speedway, Bruton Smith, Chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, today announced his plans for significant modifications to the track. The changes concentrate on the progressive banking applied when the current track surface was put in place in the summer of 2007. When the deteriorating BMS track surface was replaced in 2007, variable banking was added. Often referred to as “progressive” because the degrees increase from bottom to top, the layout provided multiple lanes of racing on the famed short track. The change is being made in response to a drastic drop in attendance at the 160,000-seat facility, which sold out 55 consecutive Sprint Cup events until that streak was snapped in March of 2010. The crowd at this year's spring race was jarringly small for Bristol, and moved Smith to take action on what has long been one of the most popular and beloved facilities on the NASCAR circuit. When Bristol's track surface was replaced in 2007, what had been 36-degree corners became varied between 26 and 30 degrees, opening an upper groove that allowed drivers to compete side-by-side. Track general manager Jerry Caldwell said the project is already underway -- the SAFER barriers surrounding the half-mile oval had been removed by Wednesday, and machinery was on the concrete surface -- and is expected to be complete in time for Goodyear to test on the facility in advance of the track's Aug. 25 night race.