Report: Bristol to host college football game
October 10, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
The University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech football teams appear to be on a collision course, with a possible meeting on the field at a neutral site in 2016 -- Bristol Motor Speedway.
Officials with BMS have scheduled a press conference for 11 a.m., Monday, Oct. 14 for "a major announcement."
Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver confirmed to ESPN Wednesday night that "I'm going to be in Bristol on Monday from about 11 to 1."
BMS hosts two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races each year -- including the highly anticipated night race each August. The combined seating capacity (grandstands and suites) for the facility is approximately 160,000.
The current single-game attendance record for an NCAA college football game was set last month when Michigan officials announced a crowd of 115,109 for the Wolverines' contest with Notre Dame in Ann Arbor.
It would not be the first time the track had hosted a football game in its infield -- in 1961, BMS hosted a preseason game between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.
The track, less than 10 minutes from the Virginia/Tennessee border, is centrally located between the two schools. The University of Tennessee campus is in Knoxville, Tenn., while Blacksburg, Va., is home to Va. Tech.
Coaches from both institutions have been frequent visitors to NASCAR tracks during race weekends. UT head football coach Butch Jones was grand marshal for the spring Cup race at BMS earlier this year, and Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer was the honorary pace car driver for the Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in April.
At least twice since the late 1990s, Bruton Smith, founder of Speedway Motorsports Inc., has floated the suggestion of a Tennessee-Virginia Tech game, but the idea never gained the necessary traction.
Now, it seems as if the idea might come to fruition, with a meeting of the two schools likely in early September.
Their last meeting occurred in the 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl in the Georgia Dome. The Hokies won, 37-14.
SMI owns Bristol Motor Speedway, as well as seven other tracks that host NASCAR Sprint Cup events across the country.