It truly is the perfect storm. With 40 open-wheel, lighting-fast machines streaking around the inside of a concrete bowl, fans at the Aug. 18 UNOH Perfect Storm 150 should prepare for an exciting opening to race week at Bristol Motor Speedway.

In 2009, the drivers of NASCAR’s oldest division, the Whelen Modified Tour, put on a memorable show at Bristol. With their return to BMS, the intensity level will be kicked up a few notches as drivers have a better understanding of what it takes to maneuver their wickedly-fast modifieds around the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.

Last season, it didn’t take long for trouble to strike, as four drivers, including NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Ryan Newman, found themselves in trouble before the completion of a single lap.

“I guess bad luck finds me,” Newman said earlier this season when asked about the accident. “On the first lap, they checked up in front of me, and I got hit from behind and crashed the race car. I’ve got quite a few laps around Bristol in a modified, and obviously, more than that in other cars. I felt like it was bad luck last year, and with us winning in Loudon this year, I feel we have momentum built up and a good starting package when we come back.

“Things can happen really quickly (at Bristol). We got caught up in someone else’s mistake last year. That can happen in either the modified or the Cup car. Having a little racing luck on your side never hurts you at Bristol.”

After the wreck was cleared, fans were treated to a battle between modified veteran Ted Christopher and former Truck Series winner Donny Lia. In the end, it was Lia hoisting the trophy in victory lane.

“We were able to fight back around Teddy,” said the New York native after the win. “I was going at it as hard as I could.  This is an awesome race track. This is a great run for us.

“What an awesome racetrack,” Lia continued.  “I can’t believe we are racing here. I mean, Modifieds at Bristol. What more could you ask for? Just unbelievable.”

The UNOH Perfect Storm 150 is a points-paying race for competitors on both the Whelen Modified and Southern Modified Tours.

During the 2009 event, students from the event sponsor, the University of Northwestern Ohio, had the opportunity to shadow UNOH-sponsored driver Todd Szegedy. Steve Farmer, VP of Institutional Development at UNOH, said the opportunity was a great way for students to understand how they compare to students at other schools.

“Last year,” he said, “was absolutely phenomenal. We were able to see how our kids measure up to other schools that have similar programs. After talking to Szegedy and everyone on the team, they said our kids were as good, if not better, than crew members they have had in the past. We were ecstatic with the program from that standpoint.”

“We’ll actually have the students on the motorsports team down again this year and they will be working with Todd and that team again.”

Additionally, several students decided to attend UNOH after seeing the display during the Bristol event.

“The primary goal of this program,” Farmer said, “is, obviously, a recruiting tool. We base it on the response we get and the number of students we get. Last year was very good. It exceeded our expectations.”

With such a successful program last season, UNOH will have an even better display to show potential students how an education from UNOH can help them land their dream job in motorsports.

“This year we are going to have an enhanced display with a large enclosed awning,” he said. “The response from high schools is exactly what we expected…huge. It is phenomenal for us. We hope anyone interested will introduce themselves and talk to us about starting their path to a job in motorsports.”

As high speeds, open wheels and intense action align in Bristol, fans should be prepared for the perfect storm.

August race week begins with the doubleheader featuring the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 modified event and the O’Reilly 200 Camping World Truck Series race. The Food City 250 Nationwide Series race is Friday night, Aug. 20.

Tickets for the Aug. 21 IRWIN Tools Night Race are available for $109 each. These single-event tickets are renewable. Tickets for the Food City 250 start at $45 and Wednesday night tickets are $30.

Fans also may purchase a three-day package, which features all four NASCAR races, starting at only $170. Fans able to attend just the Friday and Saturday events may purchase a two-day package, beginning at $126.

To purchase tickets, please contact the BMS ticket office at its toll free number 1-866-415-4158 or 423-BRISTOL (274-7865) or visit