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NHRA Racing Returns to Thunder Valley Father’s Day Weekend

There’s absolutely no place in the country like Thunder Valley – just ask any NHRA driver who has competed at the iconic venue throughout the years.

One of drag racing’s most popular quarter-mile strips, Bristol Dragway features one of the most unique settings in all of motorsports.

Originally built in 1965 at a cost of $1 million by Larry Carrier and Carl Moore, the track sits between hills on either side of the strip and reverberates with nitro noise, thus its Thunder Valley nickname. The facility was purchased in 1996 by Bruton Smith, who bulldozed the facility, making way for a state-of-the-art dragstrip that reopened in 1998.

Until last season, the track had contested its annual event on Father’s Day weekend for two decades. After running in October a year ago, the 21st annual event returns to its Father’s Day weekend date in 2022. 

Alexis DeJoria powered her way to her first win in more than four years last fall, rolling to the Funny Car win, while Mike Salinas (Top Fuel) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also found their way to winner’s circle. There’s no doubt about it, the winners love Bristol Dragway, especially Salinas, who grabbed his second straight win in Thunder Valley.

Just how much does Salinas love Bristol? After the victory, he let it be known that he was looking for a second home – in Bristol.

“This track loves me,” said Salinas, who lives in San Jose, California. “I’m actually going to buy a lake house (here) and this will be our landing spot when we race. I’ve met so many nice people here over the years, and I just love this place.”

This June, the best drag racers in the world will again descend on Thunder Valley as they vie for the coveted Wally, NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series championship trophy. Adding to the excitement is the fact that all four NHRA pro classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle) will be competing in Bristol.

On Friday, June 17, fans can enjoy Thunder Valley under the lights as the pro classes will be in action that evening. Two more rounds of qualifying are slated for Saturday, followed by the finals on Sunday, June 19, which begin at noon.

Grandstand tickets are available in a weekend combo or for single days. Other seating options include the Thunder Valley Club, Bruton’s Suite, the Moonshine Lounge, and the Burnout Box. Tickets are now available on the website.