Bristol’s Food City Family Race Night: A Night I’ll Never Forget

A lot of excitement hangs in the air in the week leading up to all the racing action to be held at Bristol Motor Speedway every spring. While a lot of the talk is about the upcoming races, many fans look forward to Bristol’s Food City Family Race Night. Going to Race Night is one of those experiences that I know I will never forget. Getting to see drivers outside of the track gives fans the chance to see a side of them that not many get to see. Food City & Bristol teamed up to bring some awesome events together for fans on Friday night. The event is free and is held in the hospitality area behind turn 4 of the speedway.

At 6:00, a driver Q&A session was held, featuring Matt Kenseth, David Ragan, Jamie McMurray, and Jimmie Johnson. Matt, Jamie, and David were first to walk onto the stage. Jimmie was running a couple minutes late. While nearly all of the questions from the fans were directed at Jimmie Johnson once he arrived, it seemed that Matt Kenseth was determined to not let Jimmie have all the fun. Matt cut jokes and kept the crowd laughing the whole time. There was a fan wearing a cheese hat who asked Matt a question then asked if Matt would sign his hat. Matt answered the question then got up from his chair which prompted someone to ask “Where you going, Matt?” Matt says “I’m going to sign this guy’s cheese hat!” Matt then offered to sign any other cheese hats if fans had them. But there was just that one. At one point I was sure Jamie McMurray was going to fall out of the chair and end up in the floor because he was laughing so hard. David Ragan on the other hand didn’t really say much unless someone asked him a question, which wasn’t very often, and he didn’t speak up like Matt would. As a die-hard Ragan fan, I was upset by the fact David kind of got ignored during the Q&A. The one time David actually spoke up was when the other drivers wouldn’t tell what they had picked for their intro songs for Sunday’s Food City 500. David said, “Well if they won’t tell, I will! Being a Georgia boy, I picked Charlie Daniels’ song ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’.” And judging by the response from the fans, I guess they all liked his choice for his intro song.

After the Q&A, it was time for Wii Boxing,which had to be one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Each driver had their own nickname, which was sewn onto the back of boxing robes they wore out onto the stage. There was: “Smokin” Joey Logano, Clint “Brawlin” Bowyer, Scott “XXX” Speed, Kyle “Rowdy” Busch, Brad “Bulldozer” Keselowski, and Elliott “Bam Bam” Sadler. I forget what A.J. Allmendinger’s nickname was. I want to say “The Dinger” or maybe it was “Ding Ding” because I recall someone calling him “Ding Ding” at one point.

The first match up was Kyle Busch taking on Scott Speed. It was a lot of fun to watch those two. It was easy to tell they were enjoying themselves. Scott put up a good fight, but Kyle still managed to beat him. The second matchup was Joey Logano taking on A.J. Allmendinger. Joey and A.J. were the biggest cutups of the bunch. At one point, Joey laughed and said “I might just drop the controller and go all out!” Even during the actual playing of the game, A.J. and Joey still picked at each other. Joey would reach out and shove A.J. and A.J. would shove Joey back. It was Joey who would win, but A.J. said his controller had malfunctioned and pretended to be a sore loser. The third matchup was Clint Bowyer against Brad Keselowski. Now, I’m not sure if either of them had ever played the Wii before, but from the way it looked, I’m guessing Brad hadn’t. He wasn’t as animated in playing as the other drivers had been, and Clint would go on to defeat him. Joey Logano came back out to take on last year’s Wii Boxing champion, Elliott Sadler. Elliott defeated Joey in a very close game. Elliott then took on Clint in the final matchup. When the championship belt was brought out before the two played the game, both started bragging they’d be wearing it when it was over. Clint tried his hardest, but Elliott was better and was able to remain the Wii Boxing champion. I guess if the Wii Boxing event is held next year, we’ll see if Elliott can make it three consecutive years as reigning champion.

After the Wii Boxing was Family Fued, featuring Tony Stewart and Ryan and Krissie Newman taking on Kevin and Delana Harvick and Jeff Burton. I have no idea what happened in this one. I left after Wii Boxing to go meet the Nationwide drivers who were signing autographs. Some of the Nationwide drivers signing autographs were Colin Braun, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Reed Sorenson, Trevor Bayne, and a few more. I got in line to meet Colin Braun and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who are my top 2 favorite drivers in the Nationwide series. But as I got in line, Colin Braun left. I was bummed about not being able to meet Colin, but getting to meet Ricky made up for it. Ricky smiled at me when I approached and signed an autograph for me. Then I, along with my best friend Hope, headed over to the SPEED stage to watch a bit of Trackside.

Around 8:00, Hope and I called it a night and left the track. Friday was the first time I had ever gone to Race Night, and it’s something I won’t soon forget. I’m already looking forward to next spring’s Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway, and if you get the chance to go, you should. I promise you will have a blast!

Photos courtesy of Whitney Richards
Bristol’s Food City Family Race Night: A Night I’ll Never Forget Bristol’s Food City Family Race Night: A Night I’ll Never Forget Reviewed by Whitney R. on Monday, March 22, 2010 Rating: 5