By CHRISTOPHER PERRIN

Bristol Dragway is a facility that resonates with many people inside the motorsports culture because of its rich history in drag racing. When our newest event rolls into town this weekend, the American Drag Racing League’s Spring Drags III, fans will get an immediate look into the nostalgia surrounding our racing strip.

Well-versed drag racing fans likely know that the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) originated at Bristol Dragway, but many are unaware that the Pro-Modified division arguably was born in Thunder Valley as well.

In a recent article on Competition Plus, Bobby Bennett recalls the Bristol, Tenn.-based facility hosted the famous four-car NOS Top Sportsman challenge during the 1987 IHRA Fallnationals. That race inevitably led an eight-car shootout in 1988, and eventually the birth of the Pro Modified division.

At this point you’re probably asking why I’m leading you down this trip on memory lane. I’m detailing the history of Thunder Valley because the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) is heavily influenced by the Pro Mod class. Speaking of Pro Mods, "Tricky" Rickie Smith will compete at the track at which he's a member of the “Legends of Thunder Valley.”

Quite a few drivers on the entry list, including Rickie Jones, Von Smith and Richie Stevens, you’ll recognize as they’ve raced in the Pro Stock and Pro Mod divisions during previous Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals events.

Needless to say from a historical as well as an excitement standpoint, this weekend’s ADRL event is a no-brainer for gearheads and casual fans alike. Outside of our NHRA event, you’ll be hard pressed to find another drag race on our calendar that will have the exhilaration of the ADRL Spring Drags III.

With tickets starting at $15 for a Friday or Saturday single-day admission, it’s an affordable event in which you’re sure to get your money’s worth.  For more information about the event, visit www.BristolDragway.com or call 423.989.6900.

Hope to see you at Thunder Valley!