CONCORD, N.C. — Bruton Smith isn’t giving away the kitchen sink, something a whole better. In a promotion nicknamed “Bruton’s Big Giveaway,” the Bristol Motor Speedway owner announced ten 2013 Ford Mustangs will be given away at the March 17 Food City 500.
“I don’t know anybody who does not want to win a new car,” said BMS general manager Jerry Caldwell on Tuesday at the 31st annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. “It’s one thing to give away a single car but giving away 10 is definitely something different, which is no surprise at all since the boss is the one who came up with the idea.
“This is something really exciting for our race fans and it just gives them something else to look forward to when they get here. It really can’t get much better than seeing a race at Bristol and winning a car. I think the fans are really going to enjoy this.”
Any fan who has purchased tickets to the Food City 500 will be entered to win a Mustang. Every ticket purchase makes the buyer eligible to win the car. Fans purchasing multiple tickets can be entered as many as 20 times, depending on the number of tickets they purchase.
Fans also may enter to win by mailing an entry card to BMS; no purchase necessary.
On the 17th anniversary of the day he bought Bristol Motor Speedway, Smith said it was a no-brainer to give away 10 cars.
“I come up with ideas, but a lot of times these guys (the track general managers) shoot it down,” Smith said. “We think this is going to be very big. When you give away 10 cars, you’ve increased his opportunity to win a car 10 times over.”
Caldwell said Smith stresses to his general managers to think outside the box and employ staffs who will challenge them. It’s in the same line of thinking as the late Jeff Byrd, the former BMS track president.
“The way we surround ourselves with people who are going to challenge us, Jeff started it,” Caldwell said. “We continue to wear the “Exceed Expectations” braclets on our wrists. We remind ourselves you can’t just wear it, you can’t just say it. You live it out. You raise the bar every day.”
The announcement came on the same day, the speedway released a list of fan initiatives.
They were broken into four categories — guest empowerment, guest loyalty, guest value, guest comfort and family focus.
The last one includes an on-side Kid’s Zone, half-price Food City 500 tickets for children 15-and-under, and a non-alcohol family seating section. The emphasis is also to bring in younger fans. It was pointed out Smith attended his first race at eight years old.
“When we look into the future, we have to attract the younger fans,” Caldwell said. “We also have to make it fan-friendly which caters to both audiences. We’re selling family four-pack tickets now and we have kids prices, even for Cup events. We have kid zones for them to play in and to keep them entertained. We are working on family-friendly concessions to make it a little cheaper. Our sport is built around families.”
Marcus Smith, Speedway Motorsports President, said the motto of putting fans first is part of the company’s DNA and added the goal is for guests to feel special from the time they arrive until the time they leave.
Bristol was the first NASCAR-sanctioned venue to employee a full-time Fan Advisory Board in 2006, and since then over a dozen of their recommendations to improve the fan experience have been put into place.
They’ve also brought in pre-race concerts like the one with the Charlie Daniels Band scheduled prior to the Food City 500 at no extra cost. Caldwell said it’s just part of Smith’s philosophy of always thinking how to make the experience better.
“No one is as a progressive of a thinker than that man, no one I’ve met,” Caldwell said. “The way he looks at, what are we doing to do to up the ante, to get the fans excited. This was his idea to give them some cars. One’s not enough, two’s not enough, five’s not enough, let’s give them 10 cars.”