New book reflects back on Bristol Motor Speedway history prior to Bruton Smith’s purchase and expansion


If you’re a fan of NASCAR history, particularly Bristol Motor Speedway, you may want to be on the lookout for a copy of a new book written by former BMS general manager Ron Scalf.

“Bristol Motor Speedway, Racin’ The Way It Was” is the title, with the subtitle of “My 10 Years at the World’s Fastest Half Mile NASCAR Track.” The new tome chronicles Scalf’s 10 years at the high-banked half-mile in the late 1980s through the mid 1990s.

Scalf’s book — its publisher and release date are unclear at this point — focuses heavily on his mentor, former BMS owner Larry Carrier, who died in 2005.

“I really didn’t feel like he ever got the opportunity to tell his story,” Scalf said of Carrier to the Johnson City (Tenn.) Press. “I’ve spent the last 18 months or so trying to tell the story.

“It’s not so much about racing because everybody knows the history of Bristol Motor Speedway. It’s more behind the scenes and information that race fans would never get.”

Scalf also expounds on Bruton Smith’s purchase of BMS in 1996 and the eventual capital improvement plan that more than doubled the short track’s seating capacity to 160,000.

“There are few people who could have done what Bruton Smith has done or (late BMS GM) Jeff Byrd, who took over my position,” Scalf said. “There is a chapter in the book where I went to Larry (Carrier) and said, ‘Hey, we need nine million more dollars for seats and infrastructure. I was really concerned we were going to lose the April date.”

After his tenure at BMS, Scalf moved into promoting boxing, serving as president of the World Boxing Federation.

But he’ll always have a soft spot for the East Tennessee bullring, especially with the way it changed since he ran the legendary track.

“If you look where Bristol was and where the other tracks in the sport were, it’s a 180-degree turnaround,” Scalf told the Press. “Some of the things now I agree with and others I don’t, but it’s unbelievable what they’ve done with Bristol.”

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IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change