They don’t call it Thunder Valley for nothing
In the hills of northeast Tennessee & situated beside another sports icon, Bristol Motor Speedway, dubbed The Last Great Colosseum, is Thunder Valley, Bristol Dragway & after a winter slumber & spring renewal, this valley came back to life on Friday morning greeting teams & fans for the beginning of the NHRA Spring Nationals.
For a first timer taking in the drag racing experience for the first time, it is truly a “hot rod lover’s dream” to experience the power of the engine, the speeds down the straightaway of the narrow valley drag strip. & when the team at Bristol puts on a show, they put on a show.
Nothing can beat the smell of rubber, exceptional sights, sounds & 10,000 horsepower, 325 mph, nitromethane-powered race cars as per Bristol Dragway general manager Jerry Caldwell. “Put that in the heart of the picturesque Appalachian Mountains & you have the recipe for one of the most unique sporting events on the planet.
This truly makes Thunder Valley a very special place.
Drivers to watch this weekend during the Spring Nationals include Ron Capps, 2016 Funny Car World Champion & current favorite to repeat in 2017 after his fast start out of the gate but Capps is in a drought at Thunder Valley. Despite three Bristol wins in the past, he has not won at Thunder Valley since 2012.
Another driver that has emerged on the scene & on the leader board is Tanner Gray. A rookie & son of former Pro Stock driver Shane Gray & grandson of former Funny Car competitor Johnny Gray, he is the youngest winner ever in an NHRA professional class. Gray already has two wins to his credit & would like nothing more than to claim a win at Bristol & on Father’s Day for dad Shane & grandfather Johnny.
Friday’s schedule starts with Sportsman Qualifying beginning at 10:00AM with Pro Mod Qualifying starting at 4:15PM. Pro Stock Qualifying begins at 5:00 PM with Nitro Qualifying for Funny Car & Top Fuel Dragsters beginning at 5:30 PM. Nitro Harley Qualifying begins at 6:30 PM with the Pro Mod Qualifying session resuming at 6:45 PM & Pro Stock Qualifying at 7:30 PM. The Nitro Qualifying session would finish off that starts at 8:00 PM with fireworks to follow.
In addition, IHRA great Doug Herbert will be formally inducted in the Legends of Thunder Valley Wall of Fame during ceremonies. Herbert will join other names such as NHRA current driver John Force, & greats “Big Daddy” Don Garlits & Don Schumacher.
The NHRA Spring Nationals at Thunder Valley resume on Saturday with Sportsman eliminations & further qualifying sessions with Sunday’s activities including a Track Walk, Doughnuts for Dad & Final Eliminations beginning at noon.
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