Bristol Motor Speedway to host inaugural U.S. Nationals of Short Track Racing

Bristol Motor Speedway to host inaugural U.S. Nationals of Short Track Racing

Rod Mullins

Five different sanctioning bodies, six top categories of racing all in one signature event will be hosted at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile as on May 19-21, as Bristol Motor Speedway will be home to the Inaugural U.S. Nationals of Short Track Racing.

bristol motor speedwayFor the first time together in stock car racing history, the world’s best late model stock car racers will descend upon The Last Great Colosseum and do battle at one of the most famous short tracks in the world.

In one spectacular weekend of action, Champion Racing Association powered by JEGS (CRA), who took the lead sanction body role in developing this event, will be co-sanctioning the Super Late Model race with their ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS along with The CARS Super Late Model Tour (CARS) and the Southern Super Series (SSS). The U. S. Nationals of Short Track Racing at Bristol Motor Speedway is being presented by Vore’s Welding & Steel.

“Bristol Motor Speedway is proud to announce today that in 2017 it will host the biggest and what promises to be the most exciting event in short track stock car racing history,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “We’re looking forward to fans joining us following the NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It will surely be an event you won’t want to miss.”

The premier event at BMS joins some of short track racing’s most famous and revered events, including the Snowball Derby in Florida, Indiana’s famed Winchester 400 and Nashville’s All-American 400.

Caldwell adds, “These powerful and exciting cars thundering around the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway are guaranteed to produce some thrilling action. At Bristol we have a long history of putting on events that are considered the biggest and the best, and we feel this race weekend has great potential to achieve that status in the world of short track stock car racing.”

Noted CRA Founder and President R. J. Scott commented that “this event is a dream come true for everyone involved with short track racing,” adding that “immediately, it becomes an historic and nationally significant event, which everyone will want to be a part of.  There are a few great trophies that everyone wants to have in racing, and you can add the trophy from the U.S. Nationals of Short Track Racing to that list.”

Multiple NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck series drivers are expected to compete in this major event at BMS. Past winners of Super Late Model events include Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, John Hunter Nemechek and William Byron.

Chris Ragle, CARS Tour Series director puts it another way. “Obviously races like the Snowball Derby, Winchester 400, and Martinsville 300 for Late Model Stocks are crown jewel events, but nothing can compare to competing and putting on an event at Bristol Motor Speedway.”

The six categories of racing to be featured at the U.S. Nationals of Short Track Racing presented by Vore’s Welding & Steel are:

  • Super Late Models – The premier division of asphalt short track racing cars in the United States. These cars typically feature 600-plus horsepower engines under the hood of a custom built chassis weighing around 2,750 pounds.
  • Pro Late Models – These racecars are similar to those in Super Late Model but they all must utilize a specific factory crate engine. The crate engines are built by the participating auto manufacturers, including General Motors and Ford.
  • Late Model Stocks – These machines evolved in the Carolinas and are raced primarily at weekly asphalt tracks located throughout the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. These cars weigh approximately 3,100 pounds and their engines pump out about 400 horsepower.
  • Street Stocks – This entry category is a popular developmental opportunity for those who aspire to gain experience and become future stars of the Late Model Stock scene. The cars in this division must be 1960-2016 models of rear wheel drive street cars that must remain stock appearing and equipped with eight cylinder engines weighing in the neighborhood of 3200 pounds.
  • ICAR / Florida-Type Modifieds – This open wheel style of racing originated on the short track paved ovals of Indiana and is now featured at race tracks throughout the country.  The fender-less machines are powered by V8 engines with a minimum weight of 2,600 pounds.
  • Compacts – This exciting class showcases four and six-cylinder, front wheel drive compact cars. These smaller wheelbase race cars are popular because the class is predominantly made up of the compact cars seen on the streets today.

The weekend schedule will feature practice sessions for all six classes on Friday, May 19.  On Saturday the 20th, practice for all six classes will resume with qualifying for all divisions. Two qualifying races for Super Late Model and main events for Compacts, Modifieds and Street Stocks will be the featured racing on Saturday evening. On Sunday the 21st, the three main classes will get warm up laps starting at 11 a.m. Final qualifying for Super Late Models will be held at 1 p.m. The 100-lap main events for Super Late Models, Pro Late Models and Late Model Stocks will begin at 2 p.m.

Story by Rod Mullins for Augusta Free Press

Rod Mullins

Rod Mullins

Rod Mullins covers NASCAR for AFP, and co-hosts the mid-week “Street Knowledge” focusing on NASCAR with AFP editor Chris Graham. A graduate of UVA-Wise, Rod began his career in journalism as a reporter for The Cumberland Times, later became the program director/news director/on-air morning show host for WNVA in Norton, Va., and in the early 1990s served as the sports information director at UVA-Wise and was the radio “Voice of the Highland Cavaliers” for football and basketball for seven seasons. In 1995, Rod transitioned to public education, where he has worked as a high school English, literature, and creative writing teacher and now serves as a school program coordinator in addition to serving as a mentor for the robotics team.