Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals offers fun for the entire family
Appearances by NHRA Top Fuel legend Shirley Muldowney and skydives on Saturday and Sunday by the world famous U.S. Army Golden Knights will add to the incredible nitro-fueled, thunderous power of Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars to make it a weekend to remember at Bristol Dragway during the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
At an event where every ticket is a pit pass, guests will enjoy unprecedented access to these extreme, 10,000-horsepower machines, and get to meet the crews who service them with fine-tuned precision and the skilled drivers who guide them down the dragstrip. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
The Father's Day weekend event is sure to provide all guests with a heart-pounding, blood-pumping rush of excitement with the action on the track, but Bristol Dragway officials also guarantee to provide an enjoyable experience with many off-track activities guaranteed to entertain the entire family at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.
Friday, June 15
Track performance records tend to fall in all pro classes under the crisp, cool summer evening as the Thunder Valley lights will shine bright during the fan-favorite night qualifying session. The spectacle of the bright header flames flickering as the 330-mph nitro machines march side-by-side downtrack under the lights is certainly an experience you won't soon forget.
You'll want to be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to meet NHRA Top Fuel Legend Shirley Muldowney, who will be making appearances throughout the weekend and signing autographs. The three-time NHRA world champ who earned 18 victories during her storied career will be joined by 2012 NHRA Pro Stock champ Allen Johnson and his father Roy as part of NHRA's 2018 Legends program.
Following the day's racing, the fans' attention will shift to the skies as Bristol Dragway will complete the evening by lighting up the night with an impressive fireworks display.
Saturday, June 16
A full day of intense racing in the final two pro qualifying sessions will be needed to set the 16-car fields for Sunday's final rounds, which begin at noon.
The world famous U.S. Army Golden Knights will make their first jump of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. Stationed out of Fort Bragg, N.C., the Golden Knights are the U.S. Army's official parachute team that performs breathtaking skydives from 15,000 feet in the air.
Once Saturday's pro racing is finished, the track will once again host one of the most popular autograph sessions on the NHRA circuit as more than two dozen drivers are expected to participate in Thunder Valley's FanFest. Located pit-side near the Tunnel 2 entrance, the event provides fans an opportunity to shake hands with the stars of the sport, get autographs and take photos with their favorite drivers. The autograph session will begin approximately 30 minutes after the final pro session is completed.
Sunday, June 17
Arrive early on Elimination Sunday and enjoy Doughnuts for Dad before the annual NHRA SealMaster Track Walk. The free breakfast, courtesy of Krispy Kreme, is available in the staging lanes beginning at 10:30 a.m. with the Track Walk immediately following. Some of the sport's most popular drivers will lead fans down the track.
During pre-race ceremonies you will get to surround the NHRA stage and greet your favorite drivers as they are introduced. The U.S. Army Golden Knights will make their second skydive of the weekend and Bristol Dragway officials will introduce the 2018 Thunder Valley Legends inductee.
The thrill of Final Eliminations culminates in an on-track Winner's Circle celebration with the stars whose quick reaction times and blazing fast speeds earned Wally trophies at Thunder Valley.
A Fan Experience Like No Other
With special events that include everything from education to entertainment, Bristol Dragway ensures newcomers to the sport will have an unforgettable experience at this weekend's Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, no matter what their age.
Designed to enrich the experience of rookie race fans, Thunder Valley 101 (TV101) provides insight into the intricacies of NHRA championship drag racing and guides beginners through their first weekend at Thunder Valley. Bristol Dragway historian and noted track announcer David McGee, along with counterpart Mike Lester, will broadcast on 100.1 FM throughout the weekend, sharing their knowledge of the sport and educating newcomers about all the action taking place on the track. Guests also can receive answers from McGee and Lester by texting BRISTOL followed by their question to 69050. The NHRA broadcast is available to veteran race fans on 100.9 FM. Thunder Valley 101 headsets are available for $10 at any Bristol Dragway souvenir stand.
Drag racing's youngest fans also can enjoy the Kids Zone, located in the Guest Village near Nitro Alley at Tunnel 2. Parents can pull up a rocking chair and watch televised race coverage as kids bounce across inflatables, challenge one another in cornhole, or create a masterpiece with sidewalk chalk. The Thunder Valley Kids Zone is open Friday through Sunday, and entry is FREE for all ticketholders.
Fans will get to see NHRA stars like 16-time world champion Funny Car driver John Force and his speedy daughters Courtney and Brittany, along with eight-time Top Fuel champ Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, three-time Top Fuel world champ Antron Brown, defending Funny Car winner Ron Capps, Leah Pritchett, Virginia cattle rancher Matt Hagan and Pro Stock contenders Bo Butner, Greg Anderson, Jeg Couglin and Erica Enders, among others. The race also will feature side-by-side racing in the fan-favorite Pro Mod and Top Fuel Harley classes.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA's popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Qualifying for the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals begins Friday, June 15 with pro sessions at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. The final two rounds of qualifying are set for Saturday, June 16, at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for noon on Sunday, June 17.
The race will be televised on FS1, with a one-hour live qualifying show on Friday at 6 p.m. (ET), a one-hour Saturday show at 9 p.m. (ET) and a three-hour Sunday show, which airs at 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Enough with the multi-colored neck ties and fancy pocket protectors, there's still time to purchase tickets and give your Dad an unforgettable Father's Day weekend experience. Weekend packages begin at just $84 while single-day Friday and Sunday tickets start as low as $35 for adults. Saturday adult tickets start at $50. Kids tickets start at $15 on Friday, $20 on Saturday and are free with a paid adult on Sunday.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Bristol Dragway at (423) 989-6900. Tickets also are available online at www.bristoldragway.com.