Skip to content

Bristol Motor Speedway to host college football game in 2016 (VIDEO)

Oct 14, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT

On Sept. 10, 2016, the most infamous half-mile in NASCAR will play host to big-time college football.

Today, Bristol Motor Speedway officially announced that it will be the site of the “Battle of Bristol” game between the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the Virginia Tech Hokies.

According to the track, seating will be available for approximately 150,000 spectators – accounting for almost all of the track’s 160,000-seat capacity – and tickets will start at $40 apiece.

For the record, the current official attendance record for a college football game stands at 115,109, a mark set during last month’s Notre Dame-Michigan tilt at Michigan Stadium.

“There has always been a desire by fans to see a football game at our historic Speedway,” Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to turn this long-time rumor into a reality and to provide sports fans with an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of the biggest college football game ever.”

Bristol’s transformation from short track to football field will begin after its August 2016 NASCAR weekend. After cleaning, detailing and pressure-washing around the speedway, the turf and field build will then take place over a span of eight days, with 8,500 tons of rock (that’s approximately 400 truckloads’ worth) to serve as the base of the field.

In order to create proper sloping for drainage, the base rock will taper from three to six feet deep in the middle of the infield to about one to one-and-a-half feet deep on the sidelines.

The “Battle of Bristol” marks the culmination of what has been a longtime dream of Smith’s. Back in 2005, Smith said he had offered $20 million to both schools in order to get their football teams to play at his racing coliseum in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Additionally, another SMI facility, Texas Motor Speedway, has also made an attempt in the past to attract a major college football game – in their case, it was the Red River Rivalry contest between the University of Texas Longhorns and the University of Oklahoma Sooners, normally played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

But, now, finally, Smith has his game – and the Vols and Hokies are looking forward to it.

“We are looking forward to this opportunity to be a part of college football history,” Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said. “The chance to play in a great venue as Bristol Motor Speedway against a program the caliber of Virginia Tech is another illustration of how we are continuing to build upon our great and unique tradition here at Tennessee. Our players and everyone associated with our football program will have wonderful memories of being a part of such a historical event.”

“To be able to play in front of a crowd that is the largest to ever see a college football game is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “With the great fan support that Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee have, it should be a great atmosphere.”

Latest Posts
  1. Indy 500 results: Andretti P6 in tough day for team; Hildebrand leads one-offs

    May 25, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    MAindy500 Getty Images

    Andretti ends sixth, best of the day for the defending Indy 500-winning team, while Hildebrand leads the one-off drivers.

  2. Grosjean hopes Verstappen learns from Monaco crash

    May 25, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Lotus F1 Team's French driver  Romain Grosjean  drives at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 24, 2015, during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Running inside the top ten, Grosjean’s hopes of points were dashed on Sunday in Monaco when Max Verstappen crashed into him.

  3. Bell: “A wild Indy 500 without the finish we desired”

    May 25, 2015, 10:11 AM EDT

    Photo: DRR IndyCar Photo: DRR IndyCar

    Townsend Bell’s final blog for the Indianapolis 500 touches on family, meeting Jeff Gordon, and a crazy view from the driver’s seat.

  4. Raikkonen frustrated by poor qualifying form in 2015

    May 25, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    xxxx during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    A sixth-place finish in Monaco disappoints Raikkonen, but he lays blame with his poor qualifying form.

  5. Pagenaud’s stellar month and best ever Indy 500 race to date ends P10

    May 25, 2015, 9:48 AM EDT

    PagsIndy500Final Getty Images

    One of Simon Pagenaud’s best oval races to date ends P10 after running top three most of race.

  6. Rosberg joins Hill, Prost and Senna as Monaco three-peat winners after gifted victory

    May 25, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme after winning the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The win may have come by accident, but Rosberg etched his place in F1 history on Sunday.

  7. Kvyat scores career-best result in Monaco after Ricciardo honors in-race agreement

    May 25, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24:  Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Red Bull boys finish fourth and fifth in Monaco to give the team something to smile about after a tough start to the season.

  8. Ryan: Juan Pablo Montoya comes full circle at Indianapolis

    May 24, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

    150524-Juan-Pablo-Montoya Getty Images

    In his second win at the Brickyard, the Team Penske driver delivered a performance that embodies his style.

  9. Rahal once again leads Honda’s charge, banking another top-five in Indy 500

    May 24, 2015, 7:24 PM EDT

    RahalIMSp5 Getty Images

    Once again in 2015, it’s Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing best of Honda’s brigade.

  10. Dixon leads most laps in Indy 500, 84, but ends unrepresentative fourth

    May 24, 2015, 7:12 PM EDT

    DixonIMSStop Getty Images

    A good, but not great day, occurs for Indianapolis 500 polesitter Scott Dixon.

  11. Kimball seizes his opportunity, ends third in Indy 500

    May 24, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    CK*3 Getty Images

    Kimball drives from 14th to third, a career-best in the Indianapolis 500.

  12. Montoya’s Indy 500 win extends his IndyCar points lead

    May 24, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    150524-Montoya Getty Images

    Montoya extends IndyCar points lead after Indianapolis 500.

  13. Power: “Anywhere else I’d be happy with second. Here, it sucks”

    May 24, 2015, 5:11 PM EDT

    PowerP2 Getty Images

    Power does what he needs in the Indianapolis 500, but comes up short at the finish.

  14. Montoya rallies for second Indianapolis 500 victory (VIDEO)

    May 24, 2015, 3:38 PM EDT

    JPMmilk15 Getty Images

    Montoya completes comeback and wins Indianapolis 500.

  15. Williams endures a “race to forget” in Monaco

    May 24, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    (From L) Williams Martini Racing's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa, Lotus F1 Team's French driver  Romain Grosjean and  Williams Martini Racing's Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 24, 2015, during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / POOL / BORIS HORVAT        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    For the first time since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix, Williams fails to score any points as Bottas and Massa struggle to P14 and P15.

  16. Verstappen “feeling fine” after heavy crash (VIDEO)

    May 24, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    Verstappen 245 Getty Images

    17-year-old crashes hard in the final stages of the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.