Bristol Tennessee August Race Week

Discover Bristol, Tennessee August Race Week

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Every year Nascar fans come by the hundreds of thousands to Bristol, Tennessee for August Race Week to watch their favorite drivers compete on the Bristol Motor Speedway. Every year my husband’s partner wants us to accompany him to his lake house on Boone Lake for this event.

This year we came to Bristol, Tennessee with our partners from Northeast Tennesse. We got a lot of great information about the communities that support the race and the fans! This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own.

This article was originally written the first year I was able to go to Boone Lake even though we did not attend the actual race. We did, however, get to visit Bristol and see the fanfare for this great event. I have since updated this article to show two years of sights and scenes from the Bristol events since I have been traveling to the area.

Book Highly recommended Activities and Attractions in Bristol Below

Downtown Bristol

Before the race even begins there are tons of events going on the entire week for the whole family to enjoy. We were able to make it this year to Food City’s Family Night and enjoy seeing downtown, Bristol. The event is completely free and hosted by Food City! The free fan event will host the official autograph session for the playoff contenders in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.

I am in VA and Jack is in Tennessee!

I have to tell you the people driving through were awesome when we were trying to take this photo! They stopped and waited for us to finish even though they had every right to continue through. The folks here are super friendly and they love their Bristol race fans!

I also found out that Bristol is also the Birthplace of Country Music! There is a rich history in this area that can keep you very busy when you come for a visit!


We headed to dinner at Cootie Browns. A local restaurant with a pretty unique menu. We were lucky to get there early enough to get a seat right away. We opted for the outside seating so we could people-watch as race fans walked around.

Bristol Tennessee Race Week
Cootie Browns Restaurant

They had an amazing appetizer of Blue Cheese poured over their famous curly fries. If you love Blue Cheese, get it! You will not be disappointed! The fries are covered in a warm chunky blue cheese sauce! They are also known for their authentic Tamales! The tamales tasted just like the tamales I have eaten in Mexico.

Curly Fries with Blue Cheese sauce

We headed over to the downtown area which was blocked off for a huge party! Food City Family Race Night was in full swing when we arrived. Thousands of fans were dancing and playing with their kids in the downtown area of Bristol.

Food City Family Race Night

As we headed through the downtown area we decided to pick up dessert at a local bakery. We walked through the crowds and there were vendors and food trucks everywhere. My favorite part of this scene was to see the families out with the kids looking at race memorabilia, cars and listening to music.

We turned the corner and headed towards our desert destination. The Burger Bar, where Hank Williams ate his last meal is also in Bristol was on the way.

Blackbird Bakery

Blackbird Bakery has to be the best bakery I have seen in years! Our host is excited to see the line is not out the door and down the street. We were stuffed from Cooter Browns but could not resist the offerings of this classic bakery! Everything looked amazing.

I can tell you without a doubt it was the best dessert I have had in a very long time. They are known for their donuts but I opted for the brownie tower and Jack went for the Key Lime Cheesecake. We did not even get to eat it for a couple of days and it was still amazing!

Bristol Tennessee Race Week
Blackbird Bakery

Jack’s Key Lime Cheesecake being devoured after a day on the lake!


The Bristol Hotel is a boutique hotel that overlooks the downtown area but is located in Virginia. With a rooftop area, you can watch the scene in downtown Bristol. The Bristol Hotel was rated #4 Hotel in the US by Travel and Leisure! They offer street-front dining and mountain views!

Otherwise, families and homeowners in the area rent out rooms and their personal homes to race fans for the week. You can also bring your RV and set up shop in one of the many fields near the track.

The Track

Bristol Motor Speedway is the 3rd largest sporting venue in America and can hold up to 162,000 people. It opened in 1961. Not being a Nascar enthusiast, I had no idea that this track was extremely challenging due to the steep 36-degree angles of the track.

It has since resurfaced so it is much safer but the thought was if you could win at Bristol, you were a success.  Bristol celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. A lot of famous drivers have made their mark in Bristol, according to the BMS website.

The Fans

I was amazed at the sheer volume of people. You hear the track holds 162k people but you can not imagine the sight of seeing them all within a couple of miles of each other.

People were parking up to two miles away. I was amazed at the dedication of the fans who were willing to walk miles to get to the race.

The roads were lined with fans walking to the stadium which was miles away. On the day we toured the area the race did not even start until 9:30 PM and people were hiking up to the stadium on foot at 3 PM. There were rows and rows of campers with BBQ grills going and people hanging out tailgating. According to my friend, there were reported to be 174k people attending in 2018. I have no idea if that is true but there were certainly more people than I had ever seen in one spot before in my life.

Here are my photos and videos of our drive around the area. Some of my photos are a little fuzzy since we were driving and I was using my cell phone.

Bristol Race Week
Cops on quads! Bristol Race Week
Fan Parking Bristol TN
Bristol TN Race Week

Are you a NASCAR Fan? I would love to know how many times you have made it to a race?

Also, if you love Tennessee, check out our article about Jonesborough, Tennessee! Tennessee’s oldest town!

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92 responses to “Discover Bristol, Tennessee August Race Week”

  1. Michele Avatar

    Bristol looks like so much fun and not that far away from us! We will definitely have to put in on a list. Love the pictures as well, especially the one where you guys are standing in different states! So cool!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      You should definitely check it out! There is a great museum there too!

  2. T.M. Avatar

    You had my mouth watering with the curly fries and blue cheese sauce!! Oh – em – goodness!!

  3. Hera Avatar

    I’m getting to like TN more and more. That key lime dessert looked awesome. NASCAR is fun event, used to go to the races in Daytona. Will have to check out Bristol!

  4. Alexandra Avatar

    oh wow! this definitely looks like so much fun! I am following you for quite a while and have been translating your posts to my mom even 🙂 one day we’ll make our way to Tennessee

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Awww, what a good daughter! Thank you for translating them to her! Thank you and her for reading the blog.

  5. Lori Nielsen Avatar
    Lori Nielsen

    I never realized what I was missing, not being a NASCAR fan! This town looks cute, and the blue cheese fries and everything at the bakery look delicious!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Right? They have such a great time!

  6. Cynthia Avatar

    I went to school up near Bristol but never made it over that way. Now that I’ve read your article I wish I had. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Well, there is always a reunion! Thank you!

  7. Arianny Rodriguez Avatar
    Arianny Rodriguez

    The photo of your two feet on two states is the coolest ever. Looks like there is so much to do there. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Lol, I had to get that shot. Unfortunately, I was wearing tennis shoes, so I grabbed a friend with cute feet to take the photo!

  8. Wendy Robinson Avatar
    Wendy Robinson

    I’m all about the foods. It looks great. My hubby would love the races and I’ll be stuffing my face

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Me too Wendy! Thank you for visiting!

  9. Jordan Avatar

    My family is from Tennessee, and I will say there are some pretty friendly people there. I’m not a NASCAR fan, but it looks like it was a super fun environment. Also, that bakery sounds amazing! Anything with a line out the door means it’s pretty good.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Exactly! I do love the people there too. We have made some great friends!

  10. kmf Avatar

    Wow…those are some dedicated fans! Looks like such a cool town and would love to eat at a place called Cootie Browns…curly fries with blue cheese? Yes, please!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      They had a great menu! They are dedicated and Bristol is dedicated to them!

  11. Laura Speer Avatar
    Laura Speer

    So many things I want to go there for now! Cootie Brown’s looks amazing, but I think I would have to go to the bakery a couple times!!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I should have gotten more when I was there! The portions were huge though. I already had the blue cheese fries. I gained like 10 pounds on this trip!

  12. Vessy Smith Avatar
    Vessy Smith

    This looks like such a fun trip! I can’t believe I have never been to Tennessee! But, it’s on my list, and I may have to include Bristol when I finally plan it all out! 😉 Thanks for sharing! 😉

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      The whole NE Tennessee region is worthy of a visit. I know you will love it!

  13. Shirley Avatar

    Not too long ago, I was a diehard NASCAR fan and attended several races per year. The night race at Bristol was always known as THE race to attend. How fun!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      That is exactly what I have heard. Great entertainment!

  14. Leeanne Avatar

    That food looks amazing. What a fun time with all the excitement in the air.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      That is exactly it! They have a great vibe in Bristol!

  15. Susan Whitehead Avatar
    Susan Whitehead

    Looks like you had a fantastic time! Those chips with blue cheese look amazing!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      We did! Thank you, Susan!

  16. Jay Hall Avatar
    Jay Hall

    Love Cootie Brown’s! Cool pics of the racing that was going on. I’ve only made it out to NASCAR events in Vegas (2) but definitely want to check out more.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thanks, Jay! Cooties was definitely memorable!

  17. Pam Avatar

    What a cool little town. You do such a great job of showcasing everything to see, do and eat in the places you visit – makes me want to plan a trip! I know Indy cars (being from Indy) but not much on other racing, so that was pretty interesting too!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Yes, I am a newbie, too! I hope to update more on the racing part! Thanks, Pam!

  18. Missy Avatar

    I have not been to a race. This would be a great one to start going to. I enjoy when a venue has multiple activities. Racing, food, music, etc.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It is a week-long stretch with a lot to do!

  19. Lina Avatar

    That looks like an amazing trip!

  20. Jenny Avatar

    SO. MANY. PEOPLE!!!! It looks like it would be fun, but I don’t know if I could hack that big of a crowd. Looks like you had a great time.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I thinks it was the photo. There was plenty of room. Yes it was busy but not overly crowded.

  21. Jenna Avatar

    Those curly fries with blue cheese sauce look yummy!

  22. Cindy Avatar

    Bristol looks like a fun place to visit! I’m not a NASCAR fan but my dad sure was. He enjoyed the races and even owned a race car that competed at local events in the Tulsa OK area.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      My dad raced as well. I love the camaraderie!

  23. Lisa Manderino Avatar
    Lisa Manderino

    This town looks awesome! I want to go, I have never been to a race!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      This one seems super fun! I will be back soon to go to a race.

  24. Kendra Avatar

    Bristol looks like so much fun! My daughter would dig it knowing it’s the birthplace of country music! I can’t stop thinking about that warm blue cheese sauce on the fries, though. Holy Yum! My daughter would NOT join me in enjoying those, however. LOL

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Haha …there was plenty of other stuff on the menu. More for you!

  25. Lisa Avatar

    Such a cute destination! We love anywhere in Tennessee and never thought about going to Bristol. My sons been to the races there and says it’s spectacular. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  26. Suzan Avatar

    We have several NASCAR races near me several times a year, about a 30 minute drive. I’ve never attended, but can actually hear the race at my house! It certainly draws thousands!!

  27. Cameron Avatar

    Looks like a great time. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  28. Karla Petersen Avatar
    Karla Petersen

    Looks like fun!!! And yummy!

  29. Eva Avatar

    I really want to eat at the Burger Bar and then head over to Blackberry Bakery for dessert.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I agree! I definitely want to try the burger bar and I will ALWAYS go back to that bakery! lol

  30. Melissa Avatar

    I love to take pictures standing in-between states or countries!!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It was fun and the people were so cool about us being in the way in the street!

  31. Stacey Avatar

    What a fun event! I would be all about the food. The fries and the bakery goods look amazing. I love events with a “festival feel” with a lot of people.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I love the festival feel as well. Thanks Stacey!

  32. Jen Avatar

    Looks like a fun event in a lovely town. Blackbird bakery looks AMAZING!

  33. Candy Avatar

    Great piece! Bristol is the ultimate track in NASCAR. I’ve only seen it on tv, so I love the insight that you have provided.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Oh awesome! I am glad you enjoyed it! You need to go!

  34. Candy K Avatar
    Candy K

    We’ve always wanted to check out a race in Bristol. Looks like the food options are amazing!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      THey were! I was surprised too. I expected it to be more like fair food but the area had great options!

  35. jen Avatar

    What a great down home weekend event! I love it! I also did not know that Bristol is where country music was actually born. I wonder how Nashville became the new king…

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I will have to find that out the next time I am there! Great question Jen!

  36. Lisa Avatar

    What a fun trip! That bakery looks amazing.

  37. Holly Bird Avatar
    Holly Bird

    I love Nascar and I am sure this week is amazing..One day I would love to be able to attend! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      They love their race fans so get there soon!

  38. Ramae Avatar

    I’ve never seen a NASCAR race, but the whole experience looks like a lot of fun. I’ll be it gets really loud there with all those cars and people. The key lime cheesecake looks absolutely divine!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It IS really loud. But everyone wears a headset. Can’t wait to get back the bakery! lol

  39. angela Avatar

    Going to share this post with a friend – this is on his bucket list for Nascar!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Awesome! Thanks, Angela!

  40. Malia Avatar

    Blue cheese on curly fries?! Yes please! And I am a sucker for standing over state lines (it may come from being raised in Hawaii and not being able to touch any other state), so I love the shot of you both holding hands in the street in different states.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It is the perfect set up! They really have made it fun in Bristol.

  41. Jelane Avatar

    Great post! This looks like a fun weekend getaway and the food in Bristol looks delicious. Thanks for the recommendations on where to stay and eat.

  42. Heather Avatar

    Wow, what an interesting place. I LOVE the photo of you and your husband in different states. We took a similar one when we were at the Vatican. I had a foot in each country. I always thought Nashville was the birth of country music. I guess I was wrong! I love the name of the restaurant.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      The museum is actually a Smithsonian museum and is on my list the next time we go! There is also a music trail you can take to see different places a part of their musical heritage. Thanks for commenting Heather!

  43. Magan Avatar

    I want to go! I’m not really a NASCAR fan, but I love a good trip anywhere!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      There is so much more to Bristol! Thanks!

  44. Robin Avatar

    Wow! What a great place! I would definitely try the bleu cheese fries 🙂

  45. Kate Wilson Avatar
    Kate Wilson

    I know where we are going next year! Great info!

  46. Tiffany Avatar

    What a cute town! I’m pinning this to my travel bucket list.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Awesome! Thanks, Tiffany!

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