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Speedway in Lights returns to BMS with new sponsor, added features

Chelsey Bishop • Updated Nov 12, 2015 at 2:52 PM

Two of Bristol’s powerful businesses, Bristol Motor Speedway and The Pinnacle, are partnering together to delight families at Christmastime with the largest Christmas light show in the Southeast, The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights Powered by TVA.

Representatives of BMS and Speedway Children’s Charities recently announced that they’re partnering with The Pinnacle, a regional shopping destination, as title sponsor. And there’s even more changes and additions that families can look forward to experiencing.

The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights Powered by TVA opens on Friday, Nov. 13. Shoppers who visit Pinnacle retail locations beginning Nov. 13 can bring a register receipt to the Speedway in Lights entrance booth for a Monday visit and receive a $2 discount per vehicle.

And, this year, families can ride through Speedway in Lights in style with several holiday-themed transportation options.

“We have a wonderful new attraction,” said Claudia Byrd, Speedway Children’s Charities’ executive director. “We have partnered with Northeast State Community College to turn one of our buses into a train. It’ll be the BMS Express,and will go through the lights.”

Dr. Sam Rowell, who is the Dean of Advanced Technologies at Northeast State, said he’s thankful his faculty and students got to design and build the train.

“It’s a neat opportunity for the engineering and fabrication students to not only practice what they’re learning in the classroom and put it to practical use in the real world, but to also be a part of a community service activity,” said Rowell.

Santa’s Speedway Sleighs, decorated open-air trams, are also available again to guide riders through the lights.

A new feature this year is BMS’ version of a fast pass. A limited number of tickets will be sold for the Jingle Bell Lane. “It is a premium cost, but well worth it if you have a large family wanting to go through the lights on those busiest nights,” said Byrd.

Another family favorite is also returning this year.

“During Speedway in Lights last year, we did something extremely popular, and that was character nights,” said Byrd. “Lots of kids like to get out of the car and have their picture made with the characters. It’s something the families really enjoy.”

Children in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia have been benefiting from Speedway Children’s Charities every year since 1996 with over $9 million raised so far.

“We are glad to help host Speedway in Lights at Bristol Motor Speedway as the chief fundraiser for Speedway Children’s Charities,” said Jerry Caldwell, Executive Vice President and General Manager of BMS. “To give away $749,000 last year is amazing.”

“So many people in the community are integral in making what we do a success,” said Byrd. “We couldn’t do this without the support of the community.”

According to Byrd, the five-mile journey through the illuminated grounds of Bristol Motor Speedway is brought to life each year with the help of hundreds of dedicated staff and volunteers.

“This is such a rewarding project,” said Byrd. “It brings together so many people from across the region. Some construct the displays and set up the show while others dress up as characters, help direct traffic or sell tickets and bring food. All of us love seeing our guests’ eyes light up as they drive through the lights, and knowing this event does so much to benefit children in our area - it’s just the perfect experience to share during a season focused around giving.”

Admission to The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights Powered by TVA is $12 for cars from Sunday through Thursday, and $15 for cars on Friday and Saturday. Activity vans are $20 each and buses are $85. The event is open daily from 6-10 p.m., including Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

For more information on The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights Powered by TVA, visit speedwayinlights.org or call 423-989-6900.

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