BRISTOL — With cool conditions, Saturday wasn’t just a record-breaking day at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was a day when the speed record was shattered.
Nine drivers broke the world record for a half-mile race track in qualifying for the Xtreme Speed Classic.
Brian Gerster of Fishers, Ind., became the first ever to break the 150 mph barrier. His qualifing lap of 12.473 seconds (150.585 mph) beat the track record set by Jason Blonde back in March by nearly six miles per hour and was over 20 mph faster than the NASCAR track record held by Ryan Newman.
“It was neat to be the first one to go 150 miles per hour,” said Gerster, who used older tires to set the record. “It doesn’t matter if they go 200 one day, to be the first one to go 150 like Parnelli (Jones) did at the (Indianapolis) Speedway, we’ll take it.”
Gester followed up that performance by winning an eight-lap heat race and leading all 25 laps in the main event. He was challenged in the middle stages of the feature by Florida driver Travis Miniea, but ran well ahead of the pack after Miniea brushed the wall on lap 14.
“We ran some different lines in practice and to be honest, the last 10 laps of the race, I never took my foot off the floorboard,” said Gester about his third Must See Series win of the season. “It got to the point where if you weren’t abusing your tires, the shorter way around was better. We have a Mopar motor in that thing and it really runs good.”
Troy DeCaire, who missed qualifying earlier in the day, charged through the field to finish second and wrap up the Must See Racing Series championship.
• “It’s really a testament to how good a race car I drive,” said DeCaire, who drove the No. 6 owned by Indy Car veteran Davey Hamilton. “They put the best equipment on the race track, and when they approached me to come and race for the championship, I was beside myself. I feel extremely blessed and honored to be a part of this race team.”
With the sprint car title on his resume, the 25-year-old Tampa driver has plans to run in the Indy Lights Series next season.
Mississippi driver Todd Fayard finished third after being passed by DeCaire on the last lap. California driver JoJo Helberg and Indiana driver Brian Olson rounded out the top five.
In the preliminary events, Duke Bare of nearby Meadowview, Va., finally broke through after a half-dozen attempts to win in Street Stock.
Bare, who races locally on pavement and dirt, passed leader Josh Brock with three laps to go. He called the Street Stock win, easily his biggest career victory.
“We finally got us one,” Bare said. “This is absolutely the best win of my life.”
Unknown to Bare at the time, he also was named the winner the Mod 4 race to open the day’s action. Bare crossed the finish line second to Hickory, N.C. racer Randy Canipe, but was awarded the win after a post-race inspection showed Canipe’s car had illegal cylinder heads.
The day was capped off by a 40-lap race for the Rolling Thunder Modified Series won by Florida driver Wayne Jefferson.
Notes: Earlier in the day, Elizabethton’s Carl Tester won a Blue Ford Mustang pace car valued at more than $32,000 as part of the Sharky 500 Speedway Children’s Charities fundraiser.
Thousands of rubber sharks were sold for the charity event, which benefits the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities.
Johnson City’s Tommy Head had the runnerup shark, which won him $5,000 worth of furnishings from Grand Home Furnishings.