Bristol Motor Speedway may soon have a sequel to the epic 2016 Battle at Bristol between Tennessee and Virginia Tech.
For fans of college football in non-traditional venues, that’s probably pretty exciting news.
On Monday, Bristol Motor Speedway executive vice president Jerry Caldwell told Jeff Birchfield of the Johnson City Press that football would return to the world-famous NASCAR facility, though no date or matchup has been identified at this time.
“We will have another football game, absolutely,” Caldwell confirmed to Birchfield during a NASCAR media tour on Monday. “Right now, there aren’t any details to be released, but we are continuing to have more good conversations and we are going to play football.”
In 2016, the Vols beat the Hokies 45-24 in front of a record college football crowd of 156,990. It was the perfect mix of two college football powers with talented rosters and rowdy fan bases within close proximity of the track, which is located in Tennessee near the Virginia state line.
So what type of game could possibly replicate that success? It’s hard to say at this point.
Caldwell indicated the track would not shut the door on an NFL game coming to town, but pointed to college football as the likely author of the next game at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“We’re open to any of that and have had conversations,” Caldwell told Birchfield. “But we’re more focused on college [football] right now.”
Odds would seemingly be pretty good on a return trip to the venue for the SEC. The geography makes sense, and no other conference has consistently shown an ability and desire to travel its fan base in large groups to neutral-site venues quite like the SEC.
For example, could you imagine Nick Saban leading the Alabama Crimson Tide into Bristol to face Urban Meyer’s Ohio State team to kick off a season? Tickets would be hot.
For now, though, we’re left wondering about what could be and looking back on what was the first time through. In some views, that Vols victory was perhaps the high-point of the Butch Jones tenure with the Vols.
You can relive some of the magic from Tennessee’s 2016 victory in the first Battle at Bristol here: