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"Inside Thunder Valley"

Weekend Warriors

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Thunder Valley.  What an awesome name for a drag-strip positioned right in the middle of two mountains.  So many things come to mind that make this place so special and unique: its history, beautiful landscape,  its character, great customer service that makes it a fan and racer favorite. I could go on and on. 

In this blog I want to highlight one of the most important assets that has made and kept Bristol what it is today; our Bristol Dragway staff.  Our teams is comprised of the ticket staff, tech crew, staging lane crew, starters, E.T. booth, water box, front and back computer (timing system), announcers, security, emergency staff, and fuel station combine to make up more than 200 years of experience.  This core staff has seen Thunder Valley go through many changes and renovations but it consistently has been the foundation of Bristol Dragway.

As many of you know, a normal drag racing day is unlike any other sporting event.  You open early and usually start racing before any spectators arrive just so you can complete the day before a city-mandated curfew.  Then you do this over and over again for about 75 event days.  We rotate our staff around to give them breaks because in drag racing there aren’t any breaks.  Most are working outside dealing with the weather conditions, questions from competitors and spectators, and trying to run the race.  With all that said, our crew loves what it does and is good at it.  Dealing with many challenges, they provide the highest level of professionalism and offer the industry’s best customer service along with years of experience.

It’s hard to put in words how much our staff means to us and how much it has done for Bristol Dragway.  So, I have asked a few others to help share their thoughts on our weekend warriors.

"As a whole, the Bristol Staff has that unique combination of efficiency, professionalism and friendliness that is hard to come by.  They are the #1 reason we were able to get 5000+ runs down the track at our 2012 Spring Fling event.  Not only do they get it done, they get it done with a smile on their faces.  I can’t thank them enough.” – Peter Biondo, Spring Fling 20’s Bracket Race Owner/Promoter

"The World Footbrake Challenge has been held at Bristol Dragway all of its six-year history. There is no doubt in my mind the success of the event is tied directly to the Bristol Dragway staff. From top to bottom, it is obvious their # 1 goal is to make the customer happy. As an event promoter, it is very refreshing to have assurance that the Bristol Dragway staff will treat your customer as well or better than you can treat them yourself. On top of the great customer service they offer, the employees at Bristol Dragway do their job at the highest level possible. Every member of the team understands their role very well and they perform at maximum efficiency. With service and support like we have gotten from the Bristol Dragway staff, there will never be another venue option for the WFC." – Jared Pennington, World Footbrake Challenge Owner/Promoter
100% True.  THANK YOU Bristol Dragway staff.

Without further delay, here is a list of the workers that are the heartbeat of Thunder Valley.

Ticket Booths

  • Jean Silcox
  • Christy Greer
  • Tammy Moore

Race Crew

  • Curt Smith
  • Sally Smith
  • Derek Smith
  • Richard Keesling
  • Aaron Williams
  • Mike Belcher
  • Kenny Morrell
  • Mathew Brewer
  • Ronnie Brewer
  • Amy Watson
  • Bob Burton


  • Mike Hicks
  • Johnny Hutchinson
  • Pat Quinn


  • Mike Lester
  • David McGee
  • Reece Wheeler
  • Craig Stapleton
  • Jeffery Stillwell

 Emergency Personnel

  • Alan Howard
  • David Carrier
  • Freddie Wilkenson
  • And many other members from the Tri-Cities area Emergency Services


  • Keith Elton
  • Bruce Bullis
  • Andy Seabolt
  • And the rest of Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department