When he heard the news, Donnie Wilson could barely contain his excitement.
“You aren’t a race car driver, if you don’t want to run Bristol,” Wilson said.
Wilson, and all his racing brethren, will converge on Bristol Motor Speedway in May of 2017 for the U.S. Nationals of Short Track Racing. The U.S. Nationals will bring six different divisions – Super Late Models, Pro Late Models, Late Model Stocks, ICAR/Florida-type Modifieds. Street Stock and Compacts – to the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
“It’s truly an awesome thing,” Wilson said. “I never thought we would be able to run Bristol. It will be a great event with lots of cars at a heck-of-a-fast place. That’s what racing is supposed to be. I’ve never been there in person, and can’t wait to go.”
The Super Late Model portion of the event will be tri-sanctioned by the Southern Super Series, CARS Super Late Model Tour and ARCA/CRA Super Series.
Wilson, the 2016 Southern Super Series champion, likes to see different organizations working together to put on big shows.
“I want to go represent my series the best we can,” Wilson said. “That’s what is really cool about Super Late Model racing these days. Folks are having more bigger events, and this one at Bristol will be one everyone wants to win.”
Super Late Models last raced at Bristol in August of 2002, a NASCAR All Pro Series event won by Kenny Wallace.
Chris Davidson led 54 laps that night en route to an eighth-place finish.
The Texas native is eagerly looking forward to heading back to Thunder Valley.
“It is definitely a cool thing,” Davidson said. “Everyone wants to race there, and no one ever has a chance. I imagine they will have a car count just as big as they do here (Snowball Derby). It’s great that all the series are working to together, and it should be a great event.”
Davidson says racing at Bristol is a feeling like no other on Earth.
“It is just an amazing place,” Davidson said. “There is no where we race like it. Hell, there is probably not a place like it anywhere else on Earth. It will be a memorable and interesting experience for everybody.”
-By Ryan McCollough, Speed51.com Deep South Correspondent – Twitter: @RyanLMcCollough
-Photo credit: Speed51.com