While NASCAR’s best will be taking part in the annual NASCAR Cup All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, there’ll be another all-star type weekend less than 200 miles away.
Starting Friday and running through Sunday, Bristol Motor Speedway will play host to the Short Track U.S. Nationals.
Nearly 500 race cars will take part across six different classes of competition: Super Late Models, Pro Late Models, Late Model Stocks, Modifieds, Street Stocks and Compacts.
The event is being billed as a showcase for many potential future stars of stock car racing. Among those that will also be taking part are Xfinity Series driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., who will compete in his first-ever Super Late Model event.
“I definitely couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” said Wallace, who will pilot the No. 6 (also his number in the Xfinity Series) SLM for FatHead Racing. “Bristol has always been good to us.
“I get to have a little redemption for the Xfinity race (from April, where he crashed and finished a season-worst 33rd), so it’s good to relive what it’s like in late model.”
The Xfinity is off this weekend, which allows Wallace to race this weekend.
During preliminary practice sessions in his Super Late Model, Wallace flew around the .533-mile track at a speed of 121.474 mph at 14.818 seconds, which was faster than the current Xfinity Series elapsed time track of 15.093 seconds set in 2004.
“The speeds are outrageous,” said Wallace. “The grip level is insane. You are driving them in three or four car-lengths deeper and then getting back on the gas five or six car lengths earlier. I’ve just got to man up and lay it all out there.”
Also slated to compete is NASCAR Next driver Noah Gragson, who will drive the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Toyota Tundra in the Truck Series race at Charlotte on Friday and then come to Bristol to race a Super Late Model in Saturday’s and Sunday’s events).
“Right now they (Super Late Models) are turning 14.65 second lap times. They are three or four tenths faster than the last practice of the Cup race.”
“It feels like you are in a flying saucer around this place. You are going so fast. Your eyes can barely keep up with how fast you are going and looking at the track. This place is so cool and fast. It’s such a blast to drive here.”
The five sanctioning bodies that will be represented are CRA (Super Late Models, Pro Late Models, Street Stock), CARS Tour (Super Late Models, Late Model Stock), Southern Super Series (Super Late Model), National Short Track Alliance (Modifieds), VORES Compact Touring Series (Compacts).