Bristol, TN

Beloved Speedway in Lights Now Underway at Bristol Motor Speedway

John M. Dabbs

Bristol Motor Speedway is slowly packing holiday patrons back into the track tonight. Today marks the beginning of the 25th Anniversary of the speedway's annual holiday light show. The Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway are all decked out with lights again this holiday season, in their signature fundraiser event for the local chapter of Speedway Children's Charities.

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The Pinnacle Speedway In Lights, Powered by TVA, brings even more lights to the route this year. This year's route continues to bring visitors into the colosseum where they can make a slow lap around "The World's Fastest Half-Mile." Patrons will enter through the pit-gate and circle the concrete oval as part of their light-show path. As drivers round turn two, they'll have the option of continuing down the back stretch or making a pit to visit the Christmas Village.

The Christmas Village is a popular infield destination during Speedway In Lights. You'll find plenty of food, crafts, fun, and memorabilia. After a hiatus last year due to pandemic precautions, this year the speedway has brought some carnival rides back to the infield, along with more picnic tables for patrons to enjoy their food purchases.

This year's event runs nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, November 12, 2021 through January 1, 2022.

The 25th anniversary of Bristol's Speedway In Lights is a great tribute to Jeff and Claudia Byrd who helped make the event happen. It's success in funding the Speedway Children's Charities' local chapter has been a great success, and continues to draw people from beyond the region to add to their personal holiday enjoyment, and built family traditions.


Patrons of the Speedway In Lights can take in the wonder of a 4-mile excursion, through 3-million lights this year. Two new additions include the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies - Under the Sea Experience, and Holiday Lights presented by GEICO.

  • The Under The Sea Experience at the Ripley's Aquarium will take you on a deep dive beneath to sing-along with your family to a classic song. (You'll need to download the Bristol app to enjoy this experience.)
  • The Holiday Lights presented by GEICO is a contest. Find the three GEICO Geckos hidden throughout the Speedway In Lights- light show and submit photos for a chance to win $250!

See SIL program guide for more information.


When O. Bruton Smith purchased Bristol Motor Speedway in 1996, each of his tracks had chapters for Speedway Children's Charities. Many of the most popular tracks hosted black-tie events to raise money for the charity.

Jeff Byrd, President of Bristol Motor Speedway, and his wife Claudia didn't think a black-tie gala would be a good fit for the Bristol area. They came from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where they had a light show. The Byrds believed a large light-show would be a much better fit and bigger draw for the Bristol chapter. The couple talked to Smith about their idea and borrowed money to buy the first lights for the track.

The initial show, dubbed "Fantasy In Lights," debuted 25 years ago. Thanks to the hard work of the Byrds, the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities continues to thrive. You'll still find many of those initial light purchases along the Speedway In Lights route in Bristol. It was money well spent, that continues to fund the many charities supported by the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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