BRISTOL — The fans have spoken and Bristol Motor Speedway general manager Jerry Caldwell hopes that NASCAR has listened to their requests.
On Tuesday at the track’s media center, Caldwell said there hasn’t been any news yet on a date change for the Food City 500, which suffered once again from inclement weather in March.
“There are still conversations going on with NASCAR,” Caldwell said. “We’re hopeful within the next couple of weeks we’re going to know something. Everyone understands from a NASCAR standpoint that moving the race later from a March date is a game-changer for all of us. It’s something the race fans really want so we’re hopeful that’s going to happen.”
The speedway general manager added there has been plenty of lobbying behind the scenes to grant the race fans’ wishes. While the weather is usually a few degrees colder in Bristol than a place like Fort Worth, Texas, or Darlington, South Carolina, there is also the factor of many of the track’s fans coming from Northern states.
“We have race fans from all 50 states, many of them from the Northeast and the Ohio Valley Rust Belt,” Caldwell said. “They’re de-winterizing an RV and they have to re-winterize it when they get back home.”
It obviously had an adverse effect on the crowd for this year’s race, although Caldwell focused on the loyal fans who braved the weather. He was impressed that some never moved during a rain delay which lasted nearly all day.
“It reminds me how great and passionate race fans are about the sport and this place,” Caldwell said. “I’m excited about what’s in store.”
The major focus for now is the IRWIN Tools Night Race on Saturday, August 23.
Caldwell said he’s been really encouraged by ticket sales, which he said are better in all areas compared to a year ago.
Although the race barely missed a sell-out last year, Caldwell wouldn’t guarantee a sell-out in three weeks.
“I don’t know if we’re going to have a sell-out, but we will have a massive crowd,” Caldwell said. “It will be one of the largest sporting events of the year without question.”
Defending track champion Chad Finchum of Knoxville and Adam Long of Pounding Mill, Virginia, split twin 35-lap features for the Late Model Stock division at Kingsport Speedway last Saturday night.
KresVan Dyke finished second in both races to maintain his tight grip on the points lead. Johnson City’s Zeke Shell was third in the opener and seventh in the nightcap.
Royce Peters won for the second time this season in Street Stock, passing Nick Cole midway through the 25-lap feature. John Ketron won the Pure 4 race over sons Jason and Billy.
It was also a family affair in the Legends division where Trey Lane led brother Derek and father Jerry to the finish line. Rusty Clendenin of Church Hill won for the fifth time this season in the Rookie Pure 4 class, and Kirby Gobble captured his sixth straight Mod 4 feature.
The speedway has “Back to School Night” this Friday with a 60-lapper for the Late Modelsthe featured race. Grandstands open at 5:30 p.m. with racing scheduled for an 8 p.m. start.
Volunteer Speedway is scheduled to host a 50-lap “King of The Gap” Steel Head Late Championship race this Friday night.
Other classes racing include Crate Late Models, Modified Hobby and Mini Stock.
Grandstands open at 6 p.m. with hotlaps to begin after a 7:30 p.m. drivers’ meeting.
Piney Flats rider Jerry Turner swept Motorcycle races at the DER Bracket Series at Bristol Dragway last weekend.
Kentucky racer John Isom also scored the sweep in the Sportsman division while Ethan Ford of Jonesborough was just one round short in Junior Dragster, Division 1. Ford won on Saturday and lost in the final to Kaden Haynes on Sunday.
Other Saturday winners were: Ian Woods (Super Pro), Larry Barr (Pro), Mark Crowe (Trophy) and Taylor Dunahoo (Jr. Dragster, Division 2)
Filling out the Sunday winners were: Kellie Shortridge (Super Pro), Steve Foley (Pro), Dylan Stapleton (Trophy) and Gabe Ellison (Jr. Dragster, Division 2).
The popular Street Fights program is scheduled for Thursday night before the track takes the next few weeks off in preparation for the big NASCAR week at the speedway.
The DER Bracket Series will start back Sept. 5-7 for the first of three straight weekends.
Mike Potter recently finished sixth in a Super Car Series race at Clearfield, Pennsylvania.
Potter, a Johnson City driver who is a veteran of 60 NASCAR Cup Series races, likes the laid-back nature of the Super Car Series, which races on short tracks and doesn’t place a huge emphasis on aerodynamics.
While best known for his NASCAR efforts, Potter’s best finish in a national event was a fifth in a 1989 ARCA race at Atlanta. Ernie Irvan, who went on to score 15 NASCAR Cup Series races before head injuries ended his career, won that ARCA race.
Kevin Bradley of Johnson City swept motos in the 250D class at the Hot Summer Nights Supercross Series at Appalachian Fairgrounds last Satuday.
Matthew Wilcox, also of Johnson City, won the 250D Extra race.
Will Andrews of Hampton won two races in the 65cc classes, while Draven Greene of Elizabethton won two 85cc races. Another Elizabethton rider, Parker Hughes, was runner-up in one of the 85cc races and a winner in another.
Chris Furches of Jonesborough was uncontested in the ATV Youth as was Eric Hollifield of Bakersville, North Carolina, in ATV Expert.
Bakersville riders Ryan Hoyle and Jeremy Buchanan also won ATV races, with Nate Martin of Jonesborough the runner-up in the Novice division.
Others to post runner-up finishes were: Keith Hensley of Johnson City (40+), Bailey Hughes of Hampton (125 cc, 2-stroke), Nick Dunbar of Limeston (College Boy 14-24) and Unicoi youth Brayden Phillips and Brock Byrd in the 51cc divisions.comments powered by Disqus