Another Epic Drag Racing Season Comes To A Close At Bristol Dragway
Another epic drag racing season has come to a close at Bristol Dragway, and the 2016 edition at famed Thunder Valley will long be remembered for producing jaw-dropping speeds, high-horsepower performances and some of the best side-by-side drag racing competition in the world.
Throughout the year the Marathon QuickStop Street Fights gave regional residents many opportunities to strut their stuff and earn bragging rights in their street-legal vehicles. From bad-to-the bone mini vans, an assortment of high-revving muscle cars to granny's 100-mph stationwagon, the Street Fights had it all.
Bristol Dragway's marquee event was once again the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, which has become a Father's Day tradition and is one of the greatest events on the NHRA Drag Racing Series circuit. Shawn Langdon captured the 320-mph Top Fuel victory over Bristol dominator Tony Schumacher and was joined in the Winner's Circle by Funny Car victor Tommy Johnson Jr. who defeated defending champ Matt Hagan. Jason Line, who outran teammate Greg Anderson to score the Pro Stock trophy, won at Thunder Valley for the second time in his lengthy career.
One of the best moments during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals was the induction of NHRA Funny Car icon John Force into the Legends of Thunder Valley, Bristol Dragway's exclusive hall of fame. A four-time Funny Car winner at Bristol Dragway and winner of the all-star Winston Showdown in 1999 that featured Top Fuel vs. Funny Car in eliminations, Force joins many other Legends of Thunder Valley, most notably Jeff Byrd, Bruton Smith, Wally Parks and Don Garlits.
While the pros captured the headlines in June, the DER Racing Series kept bracket racing alive at Bristol Dragway throughout the year and gave local hot-rodding enthusiasts an incredible platform to tune, race and win.
Speaking of bracket racing, Thunder Valley also hosted the most talented bracket racers from across the United States during two of the largest big-money bracket races in the nation, The K&N Filters Spring Fling and the BTE World Footbrake Challenge.
In late July, Thunder Valley proved that it's not just an adult playground. The kids got in on the action too. The NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League conducted its Eastern Conference Finals once again at Bristol Dragway, as the future stars of the sport created great memories on the track. More than 500 drivers ages 6-17 from all over the eastern United States competed in eight different categories to earn NHRA-signature Wally trophies, cash and NHRA JDRL champion's jackets.
In early October, the famed Super Chevy Show once again closed out the season of speed at Bristol Dragway with a spectacular finish. An event that has grown into the single largest Super Chevy meet in the country, the bow-tie faithful were fully entertained at Thunder Valley. In addition to the close racing among the 400 bracket cars, attendees were treated to a huge swap meet with more than 200 vendors and an amazing car show where many vintage Chevy classic cars were on display.
Adding even more excitement to the Bristol Super Chevy weekend was Beef O'Brady's Thunder Valley Mayhem. It was indeed mayhem as the night sky lit up with 250-mph fire-scorching jet dragsters, crazy wheelstanders, nostalgic Pro Mods and the annual appearance by the car-crunching Megasaurus.
On behalf of everyone at Bristol Dragway, the track offers a sincere thank you to all of the fans, racers, team owners, crew members, sponsors, vendors and race officials who helped make the 2016 season a memorable one.