Bristol Dragway officials and NHRA today announced the Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers as a new partner in Thunder Valley.

The agreement, which is for the next four years, includes title sponsorship of Bristol’s flagship event, the June 17-19 Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Your Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers. The group has already been in partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway for the past two years. 

After a season that saw Ford-powered Funny Car great John Force earn his unprecedented 15th NHRA Championship, this announcement is just one more example of Ford’s dedication to the sport of drag racing.

“The local Ford Dealers are excited to partner with Bristol Dragway and NHRA on one of the biggest races NHRA has to offer,” said John King, local area Ford Advertising Board Member. “This was a natural extension of our original partnership with BMS.  The Thunder Valley Nationals has been a part of the area’s fabric for decades.  It allows us to be a part of what is always an exciting weekend in the Tri-Cities market.  We look forward to working with BMS and NHRA to bring the fans an unforgettable race weekend for years to come.”

Jerry Caldwell, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, echoed King’s sentiments about the agreement.

“The area Ford Dealers have been a tremendous partner at BMS through Ford Fan Friday in March, the Ford Transporter Parade in August and their unique position as the Official Vehicle of BMS and Bristol Dragway. When they were able to experience the excitement and unique atmosphere at Bristol Dragway, we knew increasing the relationship to include the Thunder Valley Nationals would be a positive for both parties.

“Ford, much like Bristol Dragway, is built on a strong heritage,” Caldwell continued. “Bringing these two legendary brands together just made perfect sense.  Ford is behind some of the biggest names in the sport, including John Force, Robert Hight and Bob Tasca, and we’re glad to be on the same team.”  

Race fans know the Ford Thunder Valley Nationals is one of the premier stops on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series calendar due to Bristol Dragway’s excellent facilities and unparalleled surroundings. The nitro-burning Top Fuelers and Funny Cars blast through Thunder Valley at speeds in excess of 300 mph, while the drivers routinely endure 5-6 G-Forces on launch.

“We are excited to have Ford expand its partnership with NHRA through title rights sponsorship of the Bristol event,” said Tony Driscoll, vice president of sales and business development, NHRA. “This is another example of a major company leveraging the national media exposure we offer, while activating the relationship on a regional level to drive results.”

NHRA competitors also are among the most accessible in the world of motorsports. Every ticket is a pit pass and spectators are encouraged to visit the pits to meet their favorite drivers and watch the crews tune the amazing machinery.

Ford Motor Company is a staunch supporter of NHRA drag racing. Ford led the charge to help make the sport safer through several safety initiatives, including the Ford Blue Box data collection system on all Top Fuel and Funny Cars. Ford also worked with long-time partner John Force Racing and NHRA to develop a new Funny Car chassis to help protect drivers.

For more information about the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Your Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers, please call (423) 989-6900 or visit