Longtime NASCAR fans Alva and Beverly Patterson of Bimble, Ky., will be camping at Bristol Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Food City 500 (April 15-17, 2016).
“My family goes to Bristol every year,” said RVer Alva Patterson. He and his wife, Beverly, plan to attend up to a dozen races this season.
“I’ve been interested in racing ever since my first car,” said Patterson, who grew up in a small community in the Kentucky hills. “Everyone was involved with cars and we were always racing to see whose car run the fastest. I was a Chevy man and my best friend was a Ford guy.”
About 35 years ago, the Pattersons drove the 125 miles from Bimble to their first NASCAR race at Bristol. “We had a customized van and would park in someone’s yard for $5 a day. We’d lay out our blankets on a hillside overlooking the track and watch the races. It was great fun.”
These days, the Pattersons opt to travel in their 2012 42-foot American Revolution motor coach and stay in one of the more than 1,500 campsites on the BMS property.
“There’s nothing quite like being among 150,000-plus” fans in the stands when NASCAR rolls into town, said Ben Trout, BMS’s vice president of customer service and guest experience.
“More than 60-percent of Bristol’s fans camp,” Trout continued, “creating one of the state’s largest ‘cities’ on race weekends. Some are long-time ticket holders, many are newer fans. Relationships are established, friendships are formed, and memories are made. The track, the region and the experience keep guests coming back year-after-year.”
The Pattersons said they keep returning because of the up-beat energy, numerous track activities, and the “really fine” people. “We love the campfires, cooking outside and all the get-togethers. We are constantly meeting up with old friends from other races.”
In the next posting on “RVers love motorsports,” Steve Anderson of Workamper News, talks about how thousands of RVers work at racing events. To read the complete 4-part series click here.
Photos: Top: RVers Alva and Beverly Patterson of Bimble, Ky, have been following NASCAR for more than 40 years. They love the “one big family” atmosphere at the raceway when they return year after year. (Photo Courtesy of Alva and Beverly Patterson) Bottom: Bristol Motor Speedway’s five camping areas accommodate thousands of recreation vehicles and tent campers surrounding the World’s Fastest Half Mile. (Photo courtesy of the Bristol Motor Speedway).