Local Heroes Honored, Named As Grand Marshal And Honorary Starter For Sept. 11 American Freedom Spectacular At Bristol Motor Speedway
In the spirit of what has become a day for Americans to stop, remember and thank the country’s law enforcement and first responders, Bristol Motor Speedway has named three officers whose quick action averted harm to students and staff this week at Sullivan Central High School in Blountville, Tenn.
School Resource Officer Carolyn Gudger, who Aug. 30, confronted a gunman on campus, and Lt. Steve Williams and Patrolman Sam Matney who responded to the scene within two minutes of the first emergency call, will serve as grand marshal and honorary starters for the American Freedom Spectacular, Sept. 11 at Bristol Motor Speedway. All are with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department.
“The scenes of Sept. 11, 2001 forever will live with all of us who witnessed the images in person or on the news,” said Jerry Caldwell, Vice President at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I doubt we will forget any of it. But of all of the images that attacked our senses, the act of the firemen, law enforcement and medical responders who ran into the carnage instead of away are some of the most powerful. It made us realize while most of us will seldom, if ever, be in harm’s way, these folks put themselves in the middle of it on a consistent basis.
“The actions this week of Officers Gudger, Williams and Matney during a terrible situation that could have been worse without their quick work, serve as a reminder of that fact. Since that awful day nine years ago, we as a country have set aside Sept. 11 not only to remember the troops around the world fighting for our freedom, but to honor those who serve and protect us every day in our cities and towns, on the streets and sometimes, sadly, in our schools. Honoring these three for their actions seems to be a small token to say thank you for what they did, which they will say was just their job.”
In conjunction with the American Freedom Spectacular, which features more than 350 laps of racing, and the Sept. 11 activities, Bristol Motor Speedway will host its fifth annual blood drive. Anyone donating blood will receive one ticket to the American Freedom Spectaular.
Gates open at noon and pre-race ceremonies kick off just past 2:30 pm with racing action at 3.
In addition to the 200-lap USARacing Pro Cup main event, nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel brings his Street Stock Spectacular, a series he started just three years ago, back after a successful debut at BMS in 2008. The series features street stock cars – as many as 99 in a field -- that line up to start the race three wide. A 20-lap Charger race launches the afternoon.
The Charger race kicks off action at 3 p.m., followed immediately by The Frank Kimmel Street Stock Spectacular and the USARacing Pro Cup race.
Tickets are just $15 in advance, or $20 on the day of the American Freedom Spectacular. Tickets for children 12 and under are $5.
For more information, please call (423) 989-6900 or visit www.bristolmotorspeedway.com.