Food City’s Steve Smith poses for a photo after announcing a new five-year partnership with BMS. Photo by Nick Shepherd.
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Bristol Motor Speedway and Food City have extended their partnership for another five years.
A few new programs were announced at a press conference held Thursday at BMS. Food City will be launching a plus one program, which will allow season ticket holders at BMS to get one free ticket to bring a friend along. Season ticket holders will also get free gas, and 50 more laps will be added on to the August Nationwide race.
“It’s unheard of in this day and time to hear of a five-year extension or a partnership that’s going 25-plus years, as this one will go at the end of (the extension) and hopefully for many, many more,” said Jerry Caldwell, BMS general manager. “It’s with great pride that we’re able to announce this because we really feel like the Food City associates are our family. ”
Food City has partnered with BMS the last 22 years to be the title sponsor of the spring Sprint Cup race and the August Nationwide race.
Food City also announced a plus one program for existing season ticket holders.
The program works by existing season ticket holders going to plusone.foodcity.com and signing up for one free ticket.
“If you have two season tickets or 10 season tickets, you can still get an extra ticket,” said Steve Smith, Food City K-VA-T president and CEO. “You would be able to bring a special uncle or maybe a neighbor who’s never been to Bristol Motor Speedway. The Speedway is going to do their best to get those seats near your seats, at least in the same proximity. It’s just our way of saying thank you to the race fans.”
Smith said he hopes all season ticket holders will take advantage of the program and he hopes his company gives away a lot of plus one tickets to the race.
A bit of a surprise announcement came when Caldwell announced the August Nationwide race will add 50 more laps, becoming the Food City 300.
“We had heard from race fans that was something they would like is 50 more laps on the August Nationwide race,” Caldwell said. “We went to NASCAR and explained to them where we were in our thinking and they agreed. It was a very easy process. They were very accommodating. That wouldn’t have been possible obviously without NASCAR’s cooperation.”
Season ticket holders at BMS who belong to a program called iBelong club will be getting free Fuel Bucks from Food City. People who belong to the club will automatically have 300 fuel bucks loaded on their Food City value card.
“That will enable you to get two fuel discounts at any Food City store throughout our entire company,” Smith said. “In addition, if you shop and spend $15 or more at a Food City store, you will automatically get another 150 points loaded on their Food City value card.”
Food City is the longest running title sponsor at BMS and the second-longest title sponsor in NASCAR. Food City has 105 supermarkets in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.
Part of the reason for these promotions is to bring the fans back to Bristol.
Ticket sales for the spring race are still behind, but Caldwell said he is encouraged and sales this year were stronger than last year. While there is good buzz for the Battle at Bristol, and University of Tennessee officials have reportedly asked for more tickets, getting people back to the race has not been as easy.
“You can either sit back and wait on things to turn or you can do things about it and add value for the race fans and add value to your event,” Caldwell said. “I think that’s what you’ll see we did here today. And thankfully we have a good partner who will stand alongside us and say it’s best for this region for us to fill these stands back up and how are we going to do it. Let’s lock arms and do it together.”