Go For a Drive on the Racetrack at the Speedway in Lights in Bristol, Tennessee (Updated for 2022)

Written by Jason Barnette
on November 11, 2022
- Updated 7 months ago

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Check out the schedule, see some photos, and learn about one of the most amazing Christmas light displays in the Appalachians.

Bristol Motor Speedway’s infamous half-mile oval track features curves banked at 24 to 30 degrees. Driving through the curves at 200 mph feels like constantly falling on a rollercoaster. But driving at 5 mph, it feels like the car is about to tip over. After coming through Turn #4 onto the racetrack, that is precisely how I felt in my SUV trudging around the steep bank.

The annual drive-thru Christmas light show has entertained the region since 1996. Now in its 26th season, the Pinnacle Speedway in Lights is a mile longer, features more lights, and delights everyone who drives through the spectacle. The event includes animated light displays, Christmas music, light shows, and a Christmas village in the infield.

And you get to drive on the racetrack.

Find out everything you need to know about attending the spectacular Speedway in Lights in Bristol, TN.

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What is the Pinnacle Speedway in Lights?

The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights is a 5-mile drive-thru Christmas lights bonanza at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. The route includes a trip along the Bristol Dragway, several parking lots with views of the brightly lit “Last Coliseum,” and one full lap on the racetrack.

Christmas light displays include the 12 Days of Christmas, Dino Land, Race to Space, and the very popular Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Sea of Illumination, a tunnel of brilliant lights and animated displays in a tunnel beneath the grandstands.

The infield is transformed into Christmas Village, a place for shopping, hot chocolate, kids crafts, and listen to some Christmas Music.

And although driving on the oval track in a personal vehicle sounds like an opportunity to demonstrate a need for speed, you can’t. Passing is not allowed, rubbing is not actually racing, and you don’t need to come into the Christmas Village in first place.

The infield is turned into Christmas Village each year.

Make a Stop at the Christmas Village

The Christmas Village is located in the infield of the oval track inside the speedway. After completing all four turns on the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” track, you’ll see an entrance to the village.

At the very least, it’s a great opportunity to stretch your legs after sitting in the car for so long – it can take up to an hour to drive through the Speedway in Lights. But there is more to do in the Christmas Village than just going for a walk.

Roast marshmallows over a fire pit, do some Christmas shopping with the local vendors, take a family photo with the beautiful light displays, and let the kids create some crafts. A few carnival-style rides such as a merry-go-round and bumper cars even offer a bit of adrenaline-pumping action for the kids.

Before leaving the Christmas Village, be sure to admire the 300,000 lights spread across the Darrell Waltrip Grandstand. The Symphony in Lights is a musical spectacle you don’t want to miss.

A hauntingly and somewhat beautiful empty seating at Bristol Motor Speedway during the Speedway in Lights.

Enjoy the Tri-Cities Airport Ice Rink

If you enjoy ice skating, you’ll have a chance at the Tri-Cities Airport Ice Rink. The indoor seasonal ice rink is open every day of the Pinnacle Speedway in Lights. Visitors pay $12 per person on weekdays and $15 per person on weekends to skate as long as you like.

The underside of the grandstands are lit with colorful lights during the Speedway in Lights.

When is the Pinnacle Speedway in Lights?

The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights runs from November 18, 2022 – January 7, 2023.

The gates to the Dragway open at 6 p.m. each night and close at 10 p.m. Arrive an hour early if you want to start at the head of the line without waiting for entry later in the night behind a trail of vehicles. Or, purchase a Fast Lane admission – details below – to skip the entry line entirely.

Plan a Road Trip with Google Maps

Use this step-by-step guide to create a custom map, add stops and a route, and upload to your mobile device.

How Much Does the Pinnacle Speedway in Lights Cost?

Tickets to the Pinnacle Speedway in Lights cost $20 for personal cars on Sunday – Thursday nights at $25 per car on Friday & Saturday nights. How many people can you fit into the family car?

The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights is a significant fundraiser for the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. All money collected from admission tickets and sales for this event go to the charity to help dozens of local agencies.

Some activities like the Fast Lane and the Ice Rink require additional tickets.

Skip the Line in the Fast Lane

Nobody likes waiting in line. With a Fast Lane pass, you can skip the entry line and get directly to the festive displays at Speedway in Lights. Sure, it’s an additional $50, but think of all the time you’ll save not waiting in line to even see the first Christmas light.

The Fast Lane is only available on select nights during Speedway in Lights. After driving through the entrance, tell the attendant you want the Fast Lane and proceed straight ahead to the ticket booth. After purchase, you’ll immediately begin the drive through the lights.

The Fast Lane is open on these select nights:

  • Saturday, December 10
  • Friday, December 16
  • Saturday, December 17
  • Sunday, December 18
  • Monday, December 19
  • Tuesday, December 20
  • Wednesday, December 21
  • Thursday, December 22
  • Friday, December 23
Lights along the dragstrip at Bristol Dragway.

How to Get to the Pinnacle Speedway in Light

The biggest mistake people make when visiting the Speedway in Lights is going to the wrong entrance. The entrance to the show is at the Bristol Dragway on TN Highway 394.

The best way to get to the Speedway in Lights is to take Exit 69 on Interstate 81 in Blountville, Tennessee. Continue along TN Highway 394 and then make a left turn at the entrance to the Bristol Dragway.

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2 Responses

  1. The lights and slant of the raceway remind me of a ride at the Family Kingdom Amusement Park that goes round and round. Looking at this photo makes me dizzy just like the ride did.

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