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Local tracks release 2019 schedules

Jeff Birchfield • Dec 20, 2018 at 7:58 PM

Kingsport Speedway and Bristol Dragway have released their 2019 racing schedules.

Under the new ownership of Ervin and Keith Stiltner, who previously leased the track, the speedway opens on March 9 with a test session and runs through Sept. 13 with the NASCAR champions division race.

“We couldn’t be happier to take the reins at Kingsport,” Ervin Stiltner said. “We’ve seen great support from the competitors, fans, sponsors and local community since we started leasing the track in 2014. We appreciate everyone’s support and look forward to waving the green flag on 2019 and beyond.”

The track will remain under NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanction. The first race is Saturday, March 23 with the Late Model Stock division as the featured class as well as Modified 4, Pure 4, Mod Street, Pure Street and the Vintage divisions in action.

Kingsport Speedway attracted big crowds in 2018 and featured a competitive, intense brand of short track racing. General manager Karen Tunnell is looking for the same this season.

“2018 was one of our most memorable years to date,” Tunnell said. “We can’t wait to top it and drop the green flag on 2019.”

Same as the 2018 season, the first two races are Saturday afternoon shows before the track switches to its traditional Friday night slot on April 12. The track, which hosted three NASCAR Cup Series events in the 1970s, has seen recent competitors like Chad Finchum and Blake Jones go on and make it all the way to the Monster Energy Cup Series.

“Kingsport Speedway is where a lot of drivers cut their teeth in grassroots racing,” track publicist Will Bellamy said. “We’ve had so many drivers come through the Concrete Jungle and go on to race at the highest levels of NASCAR. Can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.”

Among the special events, the Super Cup Stock Car Series will return on July 5, which is also the track’s Fan Appreciation Night that culminates with a fireworks display.

Racing also will return to the adjacent go-kart track in 2019. The karting track will be open to the general public during the week. More announcements about the karting track will coming soon.

BRISTOL DRAGWAY

The 19th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals on Father’s Day weekend, June 16-19, highlights the Bristol Dragway schedule.

Single-day tickets start at just $25 to see Top Fuel, Funny Car, Nitro Harley and Pro Mod machines. On Father’s Day, kids 12-and-under are admitted free.

Other big events includes the Bristol Chevy Show, one of the largest Chevrolet displays in the country on Sept. 27-29, and the NHRA Junior Drag Racing League Eastern Conference Finals on July 18-20.

“Bristol Dragway is a legendary facility that is always striving to bring the very best in drag racing to our region,” said Jerry Caldwell, general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway. “The 2019 schedule showcases some of the greatest drag racing events in the country. From our mainstay events such as the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals and the Bristol Chevy Show to our new events, it will be another great season in Thunder Valley.”

The Fall Fling 500K big-money bracket race returns on Sept. 17-21, while the local enthusiasts have both the Street Fights Saturday Nights and the DER Bracket Series, which returns for a 10th season.

Two new events are the Street Car Takeover on April 27, which features street cars competing in both tradition drag racing and roll racing, where the cars get a running start. Bristol will also host the Hot Rod Power Tour, which visits seven different venues in seven states.

 

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