The Short Track U.S. Nationals return to Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) for its third running in 2019. The event gives grassroots and Late Model racers a chance to compete on one of the biggest stages for short track racing.
For a select few drivers, it will also lead to a return to “The Last Great Colosseum” for the track’s biggest weekend. Winners at the third-annual event will be invited back to Bristol for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event in August and honored during pre-race ceremonies.
One of the newer traditions at Bristol Motor Speedway is to present winners with a gladiator’s sword as a trophy for their victory. That is a tradition that carries over to every division of the Short Track U.S. Nationals.
"It started five or six years ago for just the Cup winners,” Brandon Cross of Bristol Motor Speedway told Speed51. “Then it extended to the Xfinity Series. Once we started Short Track Nationals, these guys are winners. These guys have earned a win at Bristol Motor Speedway, bumping and grinding, fighting their way to first place. They deserve that, too.
“We do not hand those swords out to anybody,” added Cross. “You have to earn it, and winning a Short Track Nationals event is definitely earning it.”
However, Bristol wanted to give something more for those winners. Thus, the idea was hatched to invite winners back to Bristol for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series night race in August, along with honoring them during pre-race ceremonies before the event.
“How can we give them something, not just the trophy and the sword?” asked Cross. “Let’s invite these winners back and tell everybody and celebrate that win on our biggest platform, the Night Race.
“We’ll invite them back, honor them during our pre-race ceremonies, which everybody that’s been to a Bristol race knows how special all of our ceremonies are,” Cross added “I think it’s another reason for those drivers to get excited. To come to Bristol to compete, and maybe a reason to come back and celebrate their victory.”
Already, excitement is building around Bristol for the third annual Short Track U.S. Nationals.
“We’re so glad that it’s back, and we’re doing this event for the third year,” said Cross. “It’s been so much fun watching the drivers with their big smiles as they pull up to Bristol Motor Speedway, some for their first time.“
This year’s event will also have a new format, with all of the feature races for Compacts, Streets Stocks, Pro Late Models and Super Late Models taking place on Saturday, June 1.
“I think the fans are going to love that,” said Cross. “Just come one day and see all the action.
“Over the course of the two or three years, we’ve gotten to see the product and how great it is,” Cross added. “Some fans like to see different classes. This way, they don’t have to choose.”
That choice also comes with an affordable price tag, with low ticket prices for Saturday’s racing program.
“They choose one day, $15 for adults to watch, $5 for kids,” said Cross. “A lot of laps, a lot of classes, and a lot of people being crowned champion at Bristol Motor Speedway.”
For more information about the Short Track U.S. Nationals, visit bristolmotorspeedway.com.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo