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Sports

Bristol Motor Speedway ready for action after track gets new surface

July 4th, 2007 12:00 am by Jeff Bobo



BRISTOL, Tenn. - The concrete is poured, and in just a couple of weeks the engines will be roaring again at Bristol Motor Speedway.


The final pour was made early Friday morning, and the first test session on the new surface is scheduled for Monday, July 23, for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series in preparation for its Aug. 22 race.


On July 24 the NASCAR Busch series will have an open test in preparation for its Aug. 24 race, and then Goodyear will hold a closed test date for the Nextel Cup on Wednesday, July 25.


"The idea is that those first two days of testing, in addition to a tire monster they're bringing in from Texas, will put enough rubber down on the track for that closed Goodyear test for the Cup cars," said Wayne Estes, BMS vice president of communications and events. "Goodyear has the right to do a closed session, and it looks like right now that they're going to exercise that right."


That's going to be a very busy week at BMS because right after Goodyear and the Nextel Cup drivers complete their test on July 25, the UARA-Stars Late Model touring series will check in Thursday, July 26, to get ready for practice Friday, followed by a 150-lap race to be held on Saturday, July 28.


That July 28 event is the first of three consecutive Saturdays in which BMS will host Late Model touring series competition.


The UARA-Stars Late Model touring series competes at various "bullring" short tracks across the Southeast, and BMS is by far its most prestigious venue. The series held successful races at BMS in 2004 and 2005, but questions regarding the date of the impending track resurfacing in 2006 prevented another UARA race from being scheduled last year.


BMS is making up for it this year, however, as the UARA series will run a second 150-lap race on Saturday, Aug. 11.


Splitting those two UARA events is another series, the ASA Late Model touring series, which splits the two UARA races with a 200-lap event on Saturday, Aug. 4. Whereas the UARA series is focused exclusively on bullrings in the Southeast, the ASA series visits venues across the country and Canada on tracks from a half mile to a mile in length.


Although those three touring series should provide BMS fans with exciting racing action, Estes said drawing a big crowd to those events is not the track's primary motive for scheduling the events.


"These events are all progressing us to get ready for the August (NASCAR) race week," Estes said. "We want fans to come and enjoy themselves, but these are what we call ‘track prep' races. It's not what we consider our normal show, and we're not going to have a lot of the amenities that fans are used to when the Nextel Cup and Busch series visit the track.


"These are not really designed to be big spectator events. What we want out of this is for the Late Model cars to lay some rubber down and get the track ready for NASCAR."


Each of those three Saturday Late Model races will have a $10 admission, and seating will be available in the backstretch grandstands only.


The regular BMS race week begins with the O'Reilly 200 Truck Series and Food City 150 Hooters Pro Cup races on Wednesday, Aug. 22.


The Busch series Food City 250 is set for Friday, Aug. 24, and the Sharpie 500 will be Saturday, Aug. 25.



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