By Chris Huddleston, Bristol Fan

All I can say is wow! On Father’s Day weekend, I got the chance to spend my time at Bristol Dragway’s Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. The weather was awesome and the racing was unbelievable. The track did an amazing job preparing for the weekend events.

I have never been to a sporting event before where the host cares so much about their fans (and trust me, I’ve been to my share of racing events). Upon arriving at the Dragway, I found myself greeted by a host of volunteers and Bristol Dragway staff. Just like on the Speedway side of Beaver Creek, the folks at Bristol Dragway prepare themselves with the best staff in motorsports, as well as the best volunteers and event workers.

The fine folks at Bristol made sure that the drag racing fan experience was one that wouldn’t be forgotten. It’s no surprise, but I can honestly say that Bristol Dragway truly cares about their fans and the fan desire to make memorable experiences.

The excitement on the track was awesome all around. There were awesome speeds, great side by side drag racing, and who could forget Chip King, a NHRA Pro Mod Driver having some trouble on Friday night with his parachute not opening forcing him into the net at top end of the track. From where I was sitting, I thought the driver was going to definitely have a rough ride through the sand trap. Luckily, he walked away from the incident and was okay.

One thing I dearly love about the NHRA Drags is your ticket that you purchase gets you access into the pit area of an NHRA event. You’re even able to walk up to the drivers and crews to get autographs. I had the pleasure of doing fan interviews with several of the drivers throughout the weekend to see what it would be like to win a Wally trophy on Father’s Day in Bristol.

Fast Jack Beckman and his father Bob were an awesome interview. I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with them on Sunday morning of eliminations during the track walk. It was awesome for them both to take a brief few moments to talk about Father’s Day and what it would mean for Jack to win with his Dad in attendance. Even though Jack didn’t win, he came away with a win with his dad being present on a special day.

To me having my father in attendance to watch his son race and love what he does is the best present a father could ever ask for.  I brought my 12 year old daughter Ireland to the event, and she absolutely loved it. She is just like me. We both love watching a good drag race, learning more about the sport, meeting fans, and getting the opportunity to meet and talk with the drivers. Getting to spend time with your child is awesome. But bringing them to an event like this on a special weekend, then seeing their reaction is icing on the cake.

What’s special about NHRA Drag Racing? It’s listening to the drivers talk with fans, seeing them sign some autographs and watching them work on their cars up close and personal. They truly understand that without the fans in the stands buying the tickets and the memorabilia, they wouldn’t be able to do what they enjoy, and that is put on an exciting show for the fans.

Bristol Fans I hope you had an awesome time and experience at the Bristol Dragway. I can’t wait for 2013. See you at the races!