Yesterday I got the weirdest phone call from a business I have received in quite a while. And it turned out to not be a telemarketer.

The phone number was unfamiliar. It wasn't an area code I recognized so I immediately thought it's a robot telemarketer. But then I saw "Bristol, TN" under the number. That was interesting since my wife and I were there in August for the Bass Pro Shops/NRA Night Race. Maybe we left something at the campground?

I answered. A pleasant sounding man with a thick Tennessee accent whose name I don't recall was on the other end.

"Hello, is this Andrew Erickson?"

Oh, my full name. Here comes a sales pitch. Or a survey conducted coincidentally in the same city as a rad NASCAR race.

"Yes, it is," I said.

"Hello, Mr. Erickson. I'm calling from Bristol Motor Speedway. I see here you attended the night race down here back in August. I was just calling to see how the experience was for you, if you had a good time?"

Southern hospitality is a real thing. We witnessed it everywhere we went. But this is just strange.

"Yes, we were there and my wife and I had a blast. It was a great time," I replied. I was unintentionally short because at this point I'm waiting for a sales pitch. He's buttering me up for something, right?

"Oh, good, sir, that's great to hear. We try to give the fans the best experience possible. Was there anything you could think of that we could do better?"

Andy Erickson/Hot 104.7
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. appearance (Andy Erickson/Hot 104.7)

I am as cynical as anyone. I can always find something wrong with almost anything. Let's see, what could I complain about?

The free bus shuttle from the campgrounds, including the campgrounds not owned by the speedway? No.

The free tram around the track, which is about twice the circumference of a largest football stadiums and built into steep hills? Nope.

The ridiculously helpful employees who had the answer to any question? Uh-uh.

The massive hospitality tent outside that didn't always have a seat but had shade and massive fans to cool us off? Afraid not.

The more than ample portable toilets all over the grounds? Again, no.

The only complaint I had was not controllable by the folks at Bristol Motor Speedway and that was the East Tennessee humidity.

"No, sir," I said, still expecting a sales pitch. "There is not a thing I can say that could be better. I've been to a lot of sporting events and I've never attended a venue that took better care of their patrons."

"Alright well, that's great to hear," he said. "Thank you! We will have tickets available for next year soon and we'll be sending out emails and letters out in a few weeks to let you know and hopefully we will see you again next year."

Okay, what the hell is this? A major sporting event venue called one out of 100,000 people who attended to see if they had a good time and if there was something they could do better, and didn't make a pitch to get my credit card number? I couldn't believe it. It was so friendly and human. I was speechless. I wouldn't be shy to tell them how awesome the experience was but I was dumbstruck by this.Honestly I wouldn't have been mad if he did offer a ticket deal right then and there. But he didn't. He just wanted to know if we had a good time. Weird, right?

NASCAR is known for giving its fans the closest access to the sport. That I expected and was on par. But for the individual track to call and see how it was for us completely blew my mind.

I don't know if my wife and I will attend again in 2018 but we will definitely go again some day. And if you are going to attend one NASCAR race, whether you're a fan or not, you have to go to the "Last Great Colosseum" in Bristol. It's Bristol, baby!'

Andy Erickson/Hot 104.7
Andy Erickson/Hot 104.7

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