Bristol Motor Speedway first opened in 1961, however it might have opened under a different name. The original site for Bristol was in a place called Piney Flats, but there was local resistance to the idea, which often happens when some new sports area comes into town.

In 1960, the track creators, Larry Carrier and Carl Moore visited Charlotte Motor Speedway to watch one of the races, it was there they decided Tennessee needed a raceway to host races.

Bristol International Speedway, as it was first known, was created on what used to be a dairy farm. The track length was set at .5 miles instead of the 1.5 miles that Charlotte Motor Speedway is. The total cost involved in the poject was over a half million dollars which included construction and purchase of the land. When it was all done, the track and surounding area covered about 100 acres and allowed for parking of more then 10,000 cars. Bristol is 60ft wide in the straightaways and 75ft wide in the turns and banked at 22 degrees.

The first NASCAR even was held July 30, 1961 in front of 18,000 people with 42 cars starting the race, however only 19 of them finished the race. The first pole position was won by Fred Lorenzen at a speed of 79 mph. Jack Smith won the race even though he did not finish driving. After the 290th rlap, he switched with his backup driver Johnny Allen who went on to win the race.

The fall of 1969 saw some changes as it was resurfaced and was now measured at .531 miles with a banking of 36 degrees. In May of 1996, Bristol changed its name from Bristol International Speedway to Bristol Motor Speedway.

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