After an overwhelming response from race fans last season, Bristol Dragway will continue its revolutionary Thunder Valley 101 with a few new additions to aid fans during the Father's Day Weekend Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
Thunder Valley 101 was developed in 2011 as a way for new fans to learn more about the complexities of NHRA championship drag racing. While the sport seems simple on the surface, the Thunder Valley 101 program is designed to provide added information for all fans to help make their experience at Bristol Dragway even better.
Always on the forefront of fan initiatives, Bristol Dragway received tremendous feedback from fans about the benefits of Thunder Valley 101. While other tracks have attempted to duplicate the success of Thunder Valley 101, Bristol's version includes several interactive avenues to assist fans who visit during the NHRA event.
Melanie Troxel, the only driver to win in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Mod, will serve as the official ambassador of the Thunder Valley 101 program. She will take part in the radio broadcast of Pro rounds, participate in Q & A sessions with first-time fans and make appearances throughout the property.
Perhaps no driver fits the bill better than Troxel, as her historic Funny Car and Pro Mod victories both came in Thunder Valley.
Troxel will be featured on what is the heart of Thunder Valley 101, a second FM radio station. Broadcast on 100.1 FM, the station will explain the sport in its simplest form, helping fans gain more insight into what makes the sport tick. NHRA's regular announcing team will continue to broadcast on 100.9 FM for veteran fans.
Troxel will share the microphone with noted Bristol Dragway historian and track announcer David McGee, who returns to the post this season. McGee, who has published books about both Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway, will share his vast knowledge of drag racing with race fans during the event.
McGee plans to have several special guests, including drivers, team members and track officials, join him throughout the event. Mike Lester also will be on the microphone, covering most of the action during the Sportsman classes.
"We enjoyed a great response to Thunder Valley 101 last year that we expect to build on for 2012," McGee said. "Just like racers, we learned a lot on the first run and expect to step it up this time.
"Melanie Troxel will lend tremendous insight to the broadcast, since she has competed at Bristol in three professional categories. She can relate the differences between Top Fuel and Funny Car, versus Pro Modified, where she is the defending event champion. Just like Whit Bazemore last year, it's great to have a professional racer who has tasted victory at Bristol to describe what the cockpit experience is like."
Radio headsets will be available for the special price of just $10 each. Fans will be able to purchase the headsets at guest services booths on the pit side of the track during the weekend and use them to tune in to the Thunder Valley 101 broadcast. In addition, knowledgeable staff at the booths will be able to help fans with any questions they may have about the sport or Thunder Valley.
Booklets also will be available at the Thunder Valley 101 booths. The booklets feature pages of information to help guide fans through their weekend at Bristol Dragway.
Race fans will be able to text their questions to McGee, who will then answer them through the radio station for all fans to hear. Fans should text BRISTOL, then their question to 69050 during the event.
Prime camping spaces still are available for the event in the Medallion Camping area overlooking the pit area in Thunder Valley. Each paved site is 20-foot x 50-foot and includes electric, water and sewer hookups. The cost is $350 for the event (Thursday-Monday).
Gates open at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 15 with the first round of Pro Qualifying slated for 5 p.m. The pro cars will return at 7:30 p.m. for the exciting night qualifying round. Gates open at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 16 with Pro Qualifying set for noon and 2:30 p.m. Sunday's action kicks off when gates open at 8:30 a.m. and Final Eliminations begin at 12:00 noon.
Ticket prices are as follows: Friday -- Sections A - D $30 Adult / $10 Junior; Sections E - U $35 Adult / $10 Junior; Thunder Terrace $35 Adult / $10 Junior, Saturday -- Sections A - D $45 Adult / $15 Junior; Sections E - U $55 Adult / $25 Junior; Thunder Terrace $55 Adult / $25 Junior, Sunday -- Sections A- B $20 Adult / Free Junior (Purchase by June 14; $5 after), Sections C - D $45 Adult / Free Junior (Purchase by June 14; $5 after), Section E – P $55 Adult/ Free Junior (Purchase by June 14; $5 after), Section Q – U $20 Adult/ Free (Purchase by June 14; $5 after) Junior, Thunder Terrace $55 Adult / Free (Purchase by June 14; $5 after) Junior. Weekend combos are: Sections A - B $79 Adult / $25 (Advance) $30 (After June 14) Junior, Section C – D $95 Adult/ $25 (Advance) $30 (After June 14) Junior, Sections E - P $120 Adult / $35 (Advance) $40 (After June 14) Junior, Sections Q – U $95 Adult/$25 (Advance) $30 (After June 14) Junior and Thunder Terrace $120 Adult / $35 (Advance) ($40 After June 14) Junior. Thunder Valley Club admission for three days is $300 for adults and $100 for juniors. Three-day Bruton's Suite admission is $450 for both adults and juniors.
For more information about Bristol Dragway, visit www.thundervalleytix.com or call 1-866-415-4158