While it appears simple on the surface, NHRA drag racing can be a complex beast that many first-time fans may find confusing. Bristol Dragway plans to assist spectators in learning its intricacies with its new Thunder Valley 101 program, set to debut during the Father’s Day Weekend Ford Thunder Valley Nationals.

Thunder Valley 101 is designed with the novice drag racing fan in mind. The focal point of the program is a second radio station, 100.1 FM, which will explain the sport in its simplest form, helping fans gain more insight into what makes the sport tick. NHRA’s regular announcing team will continue to broadcast on 100.9 FM for veteran fans.

David McGee, noted Bristol Dragway historian and track announcer since 1992, will be behind the microphone calling the action for fans. McGee has published books about both Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, including a new release last month. His vast knowledge of drag racing will help get new spectators “up to speed” during the weekend’s activities.

McGee plans to have several special guests, including drivers, team members and track officials, join him throughout the event.

“Drag racing can be a very complex sport,” McGee explained, “and I’m excited to help new fans learn more about it. This is a great opportunity to enhance the experience for fans coming to Bristol for the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.”

Bristol Dragway will make radio headsets available for the special price of just $10 each. Fans will be able to purchase the headsets at guest services booths on the pit side of the track during the weekend and use them to tune in to the Thunder Valley 101 broadcast. In addition, knowledgeable staff at the booths will be able to help fans with any questions they may have about the sport or Thunder Valley.

Race fans also will be able to text their questions to McGee, who will then answer them through the radio station for all fans to hear. Fans should text BRISTOL then their question to 69050 during the event.

“We are excited about this revolutionary new idea,” said Julie Bennett, Bristol Dragway Vice-President. “Not only will this give new fans additional knowledge to increase the enjoyment of their experience, seasoned fans should tune in as well. They also may pick up something new.

“This is a great service for our fans and I believe we’ll see other tracks follow and develop similar programs for their fans.”

Prime camping spaces still are available for the event in the Medallion Camping area overlooking the pit area in Thunder Valley. Each paved site is 20’ x 50’ and includes electric, water and sewer hookups. The cost is $350 for the event (Thursday-Monday).

Gates open at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 17 with the first round of Pro Qualifying slated for 5 p.m.  The pro cars will return at 7:30 p.m. for the exciting night qualifying round. Gates open at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 18 with Pro Qualifying set for 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday’s action kicks off when gates open at 8:30 a.m. and Final Eliminations begin at 12:00 noon. 

Ticket prices are as follows: Friday -- Sections A - D $30 Adult / $10 Junior; Sections E - U $35 Adult / $10 Junior; Thunder Terrace $35 Adult / $10 Junior, Saturday -- Sections A - D $45 Adult / $15 Junior; Sections E - U $55 Adult / $25 Junior; Thunder Terrace $55 Adult / $25 Junior, Sunday -- Sections A- B $20 Adult / $10 Junior, Sections C - D $45 Adult / $15 Junior, Section E – P $55 Adult/ $25 Junior, Section Q – U $20 Adult/$10 Junior, Thunder Terrace $55 Adult / $25 Junior. Weekend combos are: Sections A - B $79 Adult / $30 Junior, Section C – D $95 Adult/$30 Junior, Sections E - P $120 Adult / $50 Junior, Sections Q – U $95 Adult/$30 Junior and Thunder Terrace $120 Adult / $50 Junior. Thunder Valley Club admission for three days is $300 for adults and $100 for juniors. Three-day Bruton’s Suite admission is $450 for both adults and juniors.

For additional ticket information, please visit www.thundervalleytix.com.