BSNews has learned that Bruton Smith’s plans for ‘restoring Bristol Motor Speedway to it original state’, extends far beyond the racing surface itself.
Smith, owner of Speedway Motorsports Inc., the parent company of BMS, has been stung the last few years by declining attendance at the facility which seats 160,000. The latest figures for the spring race have revealed that attendance was down by at least 50,000 fans.
Failing to believe that the economy has anything to do with it, Smith and others have blamed the low figures on the quality of racing on the high banked oval half mile. In years past there has always been only one line of racing around the track and that was firmly on the bottom. Basically, the only way to pass a slower car in front of you was to either rely on their sense of fair play and hope they moved or, the more common and dramatic method of simply bumping them out of the way.
The bump and run caused much excitement, not to mention caution laps, but it became the accepted way…that is until a few years ago. Thinking that the fans would love to see racing instead of carnage, SMI and Smith completely tore up the track and instead of a straight 36 degree banking, used the ever popular ‘progressive banking’. The upshot of all this was, unfortunately, actual racing around the track! Gone were the days of record numbers of cautions. Gone was the excess of twisted steel and sheet metal. Gone too, apparently, were the fans and so here they are, once again, tearing up the track.
“It’s what the fans wanted,” said Smith after a recent hastily conducted poll via the internet that invited fans to share what the problem was.
As it turns out, the fans wanted much much more and Smith is obliged to give it to them no matter the cost.
Smith estimated the cost of reconfiguring the track before the next August race at somewhere around one million dollars but that is just the tip of the iceberg. BSNews has learned that Smith recently met with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and is seeking financial help from the state for renovations that reach far beyond the racing surface and more directly affect the fans themselves on a more personal level.
The plan, according to Smith and BMS executives, will totally revamp every bathroom in the fabled arena in a way that has never been done before. The estimated cost for this total restroom revamp are said to almost equal the cost of retooling the track.
“While we may be taking the progressive banking out of the track, we are adding it to every urinal and toilet in the entire facility,” said Smith.
He went on to explain that one of the major complaints by fans at BMS was not of the race track, but of ‘backsplatter’ that occurred in the restrooms. We all have experienced the phenomenon at one time or another in our lives and most thought nothing could be done about it. As it turns out, SMI has been working for a couple of years with a major urinal and toilet manufacturer to find “that perfect degree of banking” inside the ceramic fixtures that virtually eliminates any and all ‘backsplatter’ no matter at what angle a liquid should contact it.
“Obviously, our facilities here at the speedway get a great deal of use from virtually every size, shape and weight of person imaginable. Backsplatter can not only be embarrassing but highly unsanitary as well,” Smith said. “With this new ‘progressive ceramic banking’ in all of our restrooms, we can be assured that each and every fan enjoys not only a good race, but a fun, pleasant and healthier ‘pit stop’.”
SMI and Smith are so proud of the use of this new technology at BMS that signs will be placed in each restroom reminding the fan of just how much they care and listen. The signs will read; Bruton Smith Aims to Please! You Aim Too, Please!
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