Nissan Stadium – Music City Grand Prix
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.86
Nissan Stadium 1 Titans Way Nashville, TN 37213
Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 69,143
Music City Greatness
The first annual Music City Grand Prix was one for the record books. Crowds filled the track for all three days of racing action, and the views proved to be incredible. Highlighted by an over-and-back trip across the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge that spans the Cumberland River, the track layout races past Nissan Stadium and through the downtown Nashville streets. And being held in Nashville, there are events all weekend long to keep you entertained beyond the track.
Food & Beverage 4
To find something to eat at the Nashville GP, one only has to open their eyes. This race has everything you can think of when it comes to stadium fare. To start, the concession stands on the ground level concourse of Nissan Stadium are open all race weekend to fans in attendance. Meal deals are plentiful, with Nashville Hot chicken and waffles ($23 with a beer), bacon cheeseburgers ($25 with a beer), Nashville Hot chicken tenders ($19 with water), BBQ dogs ($19 with a beer), pulled pork sandwiches ($18 with a refillable souvenir soda), and many more options available. If these don’t satisfy your hunger, there are numerous street vendors and food truck options available around the fan zones as well.
To call the Nashville GP electric is an understatement. Enduring 90+ degree heat, fans packed the grandstands, even for the traditionally lesser-attended Friday practice days. Crowds were healthy all weekend long, and they cheered and roared with every on-track pass. Even for the GT America race that ran under the lights on Saturday night, not a single seat was open. Drivers and teams in the paddock saw visitors come in droves.
Concerts during the weekend on various stages throughout the fan zone kept the fans entertained in between on-track sessions. To top it all off, the fireworks show on Saturday night on the Cumberland River provided the perfect ending to the day’s excitement.
The circuit takes place mostly in the Nissan Stadium vicinity, circling the streets and parking lot outside the home of the Tennessee Titans. However, a part of the track also visits the downtown Nashville streets across the river as well. Because of the track’s proximity to the city center itself, it provides the perfect opportunity to explore the town and to catch the race action. On the stadium side, A La Quinta and Quality Inn are located quite literally trackside, as part of the track passes right in front of the two hotels.
For food, Nashville’s downtown provides a variety of fare, from locally famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge to Panera Bread. When looking to do something outside of the event, the County Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Ryman Auditorium provide music lovers a multitude of options for things to see and do.
When comparing to other events on the schedule, few boasted the number of fans the Nashville GP hosted. With tickets sold out weeks before the event for most ticket options, it was obvious from the start the event would be a hit. And indeed, the fans followed up on the promise. From the diehard, sport-knowledgeable fans to the locals who were attending their first race event, everyone was buzzing with excitement from the first practice laps of the weekend.
Getting around the event was easy thanks to the plentiful signage and facility maps available to fans. Parking lots were clearly marked with buses and shuttles dropping fans off at their designated entry points. In addition, a large pedestrian bridge across the Cumberland River connects downtown Nashville with Nissan Stadium, giving everyone the ability to walk from one side of the track to the other. Grandstands were also plentiful, offering fans a wide option of views for their race day experience, from nearly every corner on the track.
Photo by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Return on Investment 5
Ticket packages for the race offered fans every possible option to experience as much of the race weekend as they could. Discounts for college students were also included, with VIP suites offered everywhere from the Nissan Stadium upper levels to the downtown section of the track. No matter what option best fits your needs, fans were unanimous about their praise of the event, leaving the track looking forward to next year’s race.
The concourse for Nissan Stadium was open all weekend long, offering fans a place to rest in the shade during the heat of the day. Paddock access for Trans-Am, SRO GT America, and the Stadium Super Trucks was also free to all fans, giving you an up-close view of the teams as they prepared for the event.
Victory lane took place on a music stage set up outside of Nissan Stadium, right in the middle of the fan zone, meaning everyone had the opportunity to celebrate with the race winner from that day. The track also features a section that crosses the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge, the first such track on the schedule of any series in America that utilized such a feature.
Finally, fans can enjoy a wide array of music during the event, with multiple concert stages set up in the fan areas that showcase top-level talents like Brooks & Dunn, Vince Neal, and others.
The Nashville Grand Prix was a new event on the schedule for IndyCar this season, and with it came many questions. Will the race be a success? Will fans show up in droves as event organizers hoped? Would everything run smoothly for the inaugural race? The answers to all these questions were overwhelmingly positive. No doubt that next year’s event will be a highlight once again. Drivers and teams are already talking about the potential of the Nashville Grand Prix to be a marquee event that rivals the likes of St. Petersburg and Long Beach in terms of longevity and prestige. If this year’s fan response is any indication, that very well could prove to be true.