Short Track US Nationals dances around rain at Bristol

Short Track US Nationals dances around rain at Bristol

Rod Mullins

Rain forced officials at Bristol Motor Speedway to delay the start of the inaugural Short Track US Nationals presented by Vore’s Welding and Steel and change up the format of the three 100 lap races in hopes of completing the racing weekend in the event of more inclement weather.

bristol motor speedwayBMS General Manager Jerry Caldwell told the media about three hours after the intended start of the race that it appeared a window in the weather would appear and that there was a good chance that the field would go racing. The Bristol GM made good on his word, his weather forecast/prediction and within about an hour and half, the sun came out over The Last Great Colosseum.

But to guarantee that the races would get in, officials at BMS decided to race in three 51 lap segments, impound the field after each event and then race the final 49 laps barring no inclement weather delays. If rain moved in and all three of the events had reached 51 laps, the event would be called as official much like NASCAR after reaching the halfway point.

But the weather would not be a factor for the rest of the night as NASCAR XFINITY Series regular Bubba Wallace would claim his first Bristol victory in 11 tries on the high banks of The World’s Fastest Half Mile in the 100 Super Late Model race.

Wallace in his Ford Fusion would battle Chandler Smith through the first segment and take the lead from the Georgia driver on lap 51 and would dominate the second race crossing the finish line just ahead of Jake Crum who finished second, Smith finishing third, Stephen Nasse in fourth and Stephen Wallace, son of former NASCAR driver and nine time Bristol winner Rusty Wallace, finishing fifth.

In the second race of the night, the first segment of the Late Model feature was a caution filled affair taking out nearly half the field before reaching Lap 10. Once action resumed, the caution flag would fly several more times and so would the fists as front runner Dillon Oliver would get tapped by Eddie Fatscher, hit the outside wall, spin and then hit the inside retaining wall on pit road.

Oliver would safely climb out of his wrecked car then make a beeline to the Fatscher pits where words, shoves and a few punches were exchanged by Oliver and Fatscher team members before being separated by track security and led away.

Indiana’s Cole Williams would lead at the halfway point and go on to take the checkered flag in the WCI 100 with Jon Beach finishing second, Jack Smith in third, Austin Kunert in fourth and Colin Nickolai finishing fifth.

In the last race of the night, Miatt Snider, son of NBC Sports reporter Marty Snider, would power his Toyota to the front and dominate the first segment and continue the momentum in the second segment despite several late cautions as Snider would widen his lead in the late stages and hold on to claim his first late model stocks win, an impressive feat in itself on the high banks of Bristol. Jared Fryar would finish second followed by Justin Crider in third, Travis Swaim in fourth and Ricky Jones rounding out the top five.

This marked the first time the Short Track US Nationals have been held at Bristol Motor Speedway in a combined series event.

Story by Rod Mullins

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.