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Bristol Dragway revs up for 2013 season

staff report • Dec 16, 2012 at 5:18 AM

We won’t turn our calendars to 2013 for a couple more weeks, but already, Bristol Dragway officials are revving up for another action-packed season at Thunder Valley.

“Our 2012 season was the strongest we have had in Thunder Valley and we are ready to continue that momentum in 2013,” said Jerry Caldwell, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Bristol Dragway. “We are always looking for innovative and exciting events to add to our calendar, and once again, we have put together a very solid and impressive schedule for fans.

“There is no doubt Bristol Dragway is one of the elite facilities in drag racing. Not only do we have a unique setting in racing and guest hospitality second-to-none, with our exciting list of events, we know fans will not be disappointed with a trip to Bristol Dragway in 2013.”

Fans should strap in June 14-16 as the stars of the NHRA return to Bristol for the 13th Annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, presented by the Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers. The Father’s Day weekend event is one of the most popular on the NHRA calendar with both drivers and fans.

“We are proud that so many families have developed a new tradition of coming to the Ford Thunder Valley Nationals to celebrate Father’s Day,” Caldwell said. “Our ticket renewals for that event are strong this year, so fans may want to go ahead and pick some up for Christmas gifts.”

An event unparalleled in drag racing, the Ford Thunder Valley Nationals is a treat for the senses with its thunderous engines, extreme speeds and valley-shaking power. Local racer and 2012 Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson hopes his trip to Bristol in 2013 will help him add the only thing missing on his stellar resume — a win in Thunder Valley. Antron Brown, 2012 Top Fuel champion, and Jack Beckman, 2012 Funny Car champion, also hope to end the day in the Winner’s Circle by defeating tough fields of competitors.

“Each season we make it a point to include a broad range of events in our calendar. We like to say we have something for everyone in Thunder Valley,” Caldwell said. “In 2013, we’ll have our traditional Monster Truck Madness and Thunder Valley Mayhem thrill shows. We have the revamped Fun Ford Weekend and Mopar Thunder, and the return of the always-popular Super Chevy Show. Our successful street-legal series, Street Fights, comes back for another season to give anyone who wants to experience the exhilaration of drag racing an opportunity to do just that.”

Lightning-quick action from some of the fastest eighth-mile drag racers in the world happens during the Xtreme Drag Racing League events at Bristol, set for April 26 and 27. The XDRL is the world’s premier sanctioning body for the sport of eighth-mile drag racing.

Bristol’s Street Fights series gives anyone a chance to tackle the strip in legendary Thunder Valley. All street-legal vehicles, from muscle cars to minivans and motorcycles, are welcome to compete at Street Fights. The schedule features 14 Street Fights events, with the season opener scheduled for March 30. The majority of events take place on Thursday evenings, with select Saturday races in 2013.

Thunder Valley gives fans of every manufacturer the opportunity to see their favorite classics in action. To give fans and competitors added value, Fun Ford Weekend and Mopar Thunder will combine for a doubleheader event on Aug. 30 and 31. The new format features the same elements that made each event popular, but puts them together to give fans even more bang for their buck.

Home to some of the largest Super Chevy Show crowds, Bristol Dragway will prepare for a flood of bowtie fans Sept. 27-29. After racing concludes at the Super Chevy Show on Saturday, Sept. 28, a spectacular lineup of extreme machines will put on an edge-of-the-seat thrill show during Beef O’ Brady’s Thunder Valley Mayhem presented by Thompson Metal Services.

Car-crushing chaos comes to the infield of Bristol Motor Speedway for Thompson Metal Monster Truck Madness presented by Beef O’ Brady’s on July 27. Fans can expect radical racing, frantic freestyles and mountains of mashed metal as some of the nation’s biggest monster truck names hit the track.

Two-wheel action will reign Aug. 2-4, when the All Harley Drag Racing Association visits for the Thunder in the Valley Nationals. With several classes of high-speed competition, including the 200-mph nitro machines, the rumble of Harleys echoing in Thunder Valley makes this one of the most popular venues on the AHDRA circuit.

DER Bracket Racing Series hosts its fifth season of popular grassroots racing in 2013. The DER Series schedule features 11 weekends of racing with competition in categories ranging from Super Pro to Junior Dragsters.

In addition to the DER Series schedule, bracket racers have several chances to score big this year. The May 16-19 K&N Spring Fling 20’s presented by Sparco will feature hundreds of drivers running all out for big money. The BTE World Footbrake Challenge VI will take place July 12-14 with some of the biggest names in bracket racing going head-to-head for $10,000-to-win each day.

For fans who want to see the future of drag racing, one of the biggest weeks of Junior Dragster competition in the world takes place July 20 and 21. The twelfth annual Jr. Dragster Nationals is the perfect tune-up for racers in the July 22-27 NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League Eastern Conference Finals. The Eastern Conference Finals attracts more than 500 racers, ages 8-17, from all states east of the Mississippi River.

For more information about Bristol Dragway events, call (423) 764-DRAG or visit www.bristoldragway.com.

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