Bristol Motor Speedway, originally known as Bristol International Raceway and Bristol Raceway is a NASCAR short track located in Bristol, Tennessee. It was constructed in 1960, and held its first NASCAR race on July 30, 1961. Despite its small size, Bristol is among the most popular tracks in NASCAR due to its distinct features that include extraordinarily steep banking, an all concrete surface, two pit roads and amphitheater-like seating.
The track is so short that speeds here are far lower than is typical on most NASCAR oval tracks, but very fast compared to other short tracks due to the high banking, making for a considerable amount of "swapping paint". Also, the initial starting grid of 43 vehicles extends almost halfway around the track, meaning that the slower-qualifying cars begin the race almost half a lap down. The congestion inherent in this facility and the power of the cars has been likened to "flying fighter jets in a gymnasium" (the terms "washing machine" and "toilet" have also been used). The track is one that tends to be either loved or hated by fans and drivers alike--purists who grew up driving or attending races at older short tracks located at fairgrounds and similar places tend to love Bristol while those raised on superspeedway racing tend to chafe at the lower speeds.