By Paul Kavanaugh
Yes, race fans, NASCAR is back in Bristol this week. These drivers really do feel the need for speed. Race week means many things to many different groups; the camaraderie in the campgrounds, the excitement at the various bars and restaurants catering to race fans, the foot traffic surrounding the souvenir vendors and, of course, the traffic that the locals must navigate. It is a fun week, no question about that. But BMS doesn’t have a monopoly on speed events in our area, there are many other options throughout the year.
There is plenty of speed to go around at BMS during race week. The Bush’s Beans Pole Day is Friday afternoon. There are two races on Saturday, the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 for the NASCAR XFINITY drivers and the Zombie Auto 150 (K&N Series) for the future stars of NASCAR. Then, of course, the big one on Sunday, the Food City 500 / NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race. Clearly this is utopia for speed lovers.
Let’s not forget the other track around here. Kingsport Speedway has racing most weeks throughout the spring and summer. It is definitely a step down from the big-league Food City race, but quite entertaining and family friendly. It is well worth checking them out. They have 5 exciting divisions of racing included in the Model City Day at the Races which takes place on April 20, and these drivers are just as in to it as any.
Muddy Creek is the local home for motocross, an exciting sport in and of itself. I first encountered motocross 30 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Muddy Creek also hosts the ATV National in early June. Located in Blountville, this is another family friendly venue that is enjoyable for all levels of fans.
Then of course you have the drag races coming in June to Thunder Valley. This is a national event with all the top drivers in town for a week promoting their sport and racing each other. I tend to follow Courtney Force, daughter of the legend John Force, as she is an exciting and dedicated driver. She also must race her father upon occasion, depending on the draw and the results. That is always a sight to see.
Let’s not forget all the various car shows, bike nights and rallys that populate our summers with wonderful opportunities for some camaraderie, music and an occasional brew. The Loafer will begin carrying a special section for Runs, Rides and Bike Nights, so send us your information.
The best known local event is the Home Built Summit, aka RatRod, at Holston River Brewing and Thunder Mountain Campground on June 1-3. If you haven’t seen a RatRod show, you are missing some really great works of art. This year there will be about 220 entries, close to double last year. This is always a fun and family friendly event, so make plans to attend this one.