Campers roll in days before Bristol Motor Speedway race weekend

BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Monday before race weekend begins, campers and race fans alike claim their favorite campsites for the spring races at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS).

The races begin the evening of Saturday, March 16 with the Weather Guard Truck Race and the Food City 500 scheduled for Sunday, March 17.

Campers started rolling into the Earhart Campground East as early as Sunday. One of those campers was Stuart Maiden. Monday, he’s still settling in, setting up his firepit, his ‘It’s Bristol Baby!’ flag and wind chimes.

Maiden traveled from Kentucky, but his friends, whom he calls his race family and are traveling from around the country, aren’t far behind.

“That’s the main thing about it,” said Maiden. “We enjoy the race, but we really enjoy the family.”

This weekend will be the first spring race since BMS’s decision to not host another dirt race. While Maiden didn’t mind the dirt race, he’s glad this year’s race isn’t on Easter.

“There’s other people out there that probably want to be with their family unless they brought their family with them,” said Maiden. “That’s a good possibility, but I kind of like it being on Saint Patty’s Day.”

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Neighboring camper Laura Lawson doesn’t mind the switch from dirt back to concrete.

“We’re still washing the red clay out of the camper from the last couple dirt races that we’ve been to, so yeah, we’re excited to be back on the hard surface,” said Lawson.

The weekend forecast for rain doesn’t seem to concern campers too much. Maiden has been consistently coming for races since 1995 and even parked outside of the speedway during the COVID-19 pandemic to be close while watching the race on TV. Campers are making preparations for the weather.

“We expect any type of weather to be down here,” said Maiden.

“We’ve been here in the rain, the snow, the sleet, the floods,” said Lawson. “We’ve been here for the floods. So, we’re here. It doesn’t matter.”

Campers said more of their friends will arrive later in the week, around Wednesday or Thursday.

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