Steve Wallace was undefeated in Bristol, Tennessee on Saturday, as he led the first two testing sessions for Super Late Models in anticipation of the inaugural Short Track U.S. Nationals.
Wallace’s 14.873-second lap time around the 0.533-mile oval was his fastest of the day in a field of 13 Super Late Models who attended the open test. The son of nine-time Bristol Cup Series winner Rusty Wallace showed plenty of speed before sitting out the final two sessions of the day.
“The track’s a lot of fun. It feels like you’re running 4,000 miles per hour compared to your normal short track,” Wallace told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I used to come up here years ago when Kenny [Wallace] won a similar race in the NASCAR All-Pro Series, and I remember the laps they were running. It’s cool to see the advancement in cars and how everyone’s gotten better and the cars have gotten faster.”
With Wallace on the hauler for the afternoon sessions, Tyler Ankrum set the fastest lap of round three at 14.906 seconds. Noah Gragson was quickest in the final testing session and set the fastest lap of the day at 14.816 seconds (129.509 mph).
In Pro Late Models, Trey Craig set the fastest lap of the day at 14.894 seconds. Craig paced two of the four testing sessions on the day, with Cole Williams leading the other two sessions. Craig’s 128.830 mph lap would have finished fourth in the Super Late Model classification on the day.
Another son of a former NASCAR Cup driver, Layne Riggs, posted the fastest lap time in the Late Model Stock division. His 15.631-second lap time in the third session was the fastest of the day for the class.
“It was really fast, it was pretty insane,” Riggs stated. “It was hard to breathe with so much G-force. I think we have a pretty good car. We were a little loose off the trailer, but having never seen the place before, I think we’re pretty good. We tightened it up some, so I think it’s got a lot of potential.”
Evan Swilling was fastest in the first session at 15.835 seconds, and immediately called it a day.
“I’m very confident in the car we brought,” Swilling said. “They said in the driver’s meeting, if you find a good rhythm and a good speed, park it, so we took the advice and we’ll be back here in May.”
The testing session was not without incident, with several spins and mishaps as drivers learned the Bristol high-banks. Justin Crider took perhaps the hardest hit of the day, smacking the wall in turn two after suffering a flat tire.
“I guess we had a tire blow,” Crider said. “Went down into [turn] one, and thought it hit the race track, honestly. That’s what it felt like. Then the next thing I know, it pounded. Seems like the tire just rolled off the rim. It kinda sucks, but what can you do?”
Doug Meyer was fastest in two of the four Modified practice sessions, with his fastest time of the day coming in session three at 16.729 seconds. While Meyer skipped the final session, Billy Marcoux narrowly beat him out for fastest time of the day in the final round at 16.727 seconds.
Brett Hudson dominated the Street Stock testing sessions with both machines he brought to Thunder Valley. Hudson used separate transponders on his two cars, and they both showed plenty of speed as he switched between them, posting the fastest time of the day at 17.737 seconds during the second round of practice.
In the first two sessions, his cars were first and third, only separated by Chuck Barnes, Jr. on the timesheet. Hudson’s pair of cars posted the top two times in session two before he parked one of the Street Stocks for the day. Nonetheless, Hudson posted the fastest time of session three before parking for session four, which Chuck Barnes, Sr. won.
Trackside Now coverage including photos and updates from Saturday’s open test can be found by clicking here.
There will be one more open test on May 13 before the inaugural Short Track U.S. Nationals.
Over 500 race cars will be represented across six divisions during the inaugural Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway during the weekend of May 19-21. Race fans unable to make it to Bristol, Tennessee will be able to witness the historic short track event by watching a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Live video tickets can be purchased at the early bird price today by clicking here.