NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals set for a Father's Day weekend of high horsepower entertainment
The nitro-fueled, thunderous power of NHRA roars into Bristol Dragway this weekend for the 17th annual 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 as well as the skilled drivers who guide them down the dragstrip.
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 work hard to provide an enjoyable experience with many off-track activities guaranteed to entertain the entire family.
Friday, June 16
You won't want to miss Top Fuel legend Doug Herbert, a seven-time winner at the Northeast Tennessee track, get officially enshrined as a Bristol Dragway Thunder Valley Legend. His induction is scheduled just before the day’s first nitro qualifying session.
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.
Following the day’s racing, which will be finished off by a thundering Jet Dragster exhibition, 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 17
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 elimination rounds, which begin at noon. Drivers and teams will be working hard to earn No. 1 qualifying positions or simply claim a starting spot in the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
Once Saturday’s pro racing is finished, the track will once again host one of the most popular autograph sessions on the 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 from their favorite drivers.
Sunday, June 18
Arrive early on Elimination Sunday and enjoy Doughnuts for Dad before the annual NHRA Father’s Day Track Walk. The free doughnuts are available in the staging lanes beginning at 10:45 a.m. with the Track Walk immediately following. Some of the sport’s most popular drivers will lead fans down the track and back in the traditional morning stroll.
The thrill of Final Eliminations culminates later that afternoon in an on-track Winner's Circle celebration with the stars whose quick reaction times and blazing fast speeds earned them coveted NHRA Wally trophies.
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 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 veteran track announcer David McGee, along with booth partner Randy Ratliff, will broadcast 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 Ratliff by texting BRISTOL followed by their question to 69050. The NHRA broadcast is also available to veteran race fans. Thunder Valley 101 headsets are available at any Bristol Dragway souvenir stand.
Drag racing's youngest fans also can enjoy the Kids Zone, located behind the drag tower next to the main ticket booth. 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 opens each day at 9 a.m. Friday through Sunday, and entry is FREE for all ticketholders.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. 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.
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 champ Antron Brown, defending Funny Car world champ Ron Capps, emerging star Leah Pritchett, Virginia cattle rancher Matt Hagan and red-hot Pro Stock rookie Tanner Gray. The race also will feature side-by-side racing in the fan-favorite Pro Mod and Nitro 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 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals begins Friday, June 16 with pro sessions at 5 and 7:30 p.m. The final two rounds of qualifying are set for Saturday, June 17, at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for noon on Sunday, June 18.
The race will be televised on FS1, with a one-hour Friday show at 8 p.m. (ET), a one-hour Saturday show at 11 p.m. (ET) and a three-hour Sunday show, which airs at 6:30 p.m. (ET).
Enough with the multi-colored neck ties! There’s still time to purchase tickets and give your Dad an unforgettable Father's Day weekend experience. Weekend packages begin at just $84 with single-day Sunday tickets starting as low as $30 for adults.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Bristol Dragway at (423) 989-6900. Tickets also are available online at www.thundervalleytix.com and can be purchased in the Tri-Cities region at any Food City grocery store.