BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – Almost one year ago, the Bristol Dragway stood empty and the Thunder Valley was absent of its usual roar of engines.
On Friday night, the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals returned to the Tri-Cities on a summer evening, despite some uncertain weather conditions.
After a brief delay to dry the track, the Funny Cars took to the strip. Robert Hight turned in the only first qualifying run under four seconds – 3.971.
The Top Fuel qualifications were much more tightly contested. Steve Torrence barely squeaked past Josh Hart, who is looking to make a statement in just his second race at Bristol.
Torrence turned in a 3.791 run and a top speed of 317.79 miles per hour.
“When you go out and the car runs well two weekends in a row and does what you’re telling it to do – I mean you’re definitely stepping in the right direction,” he said. “We’ll just keep building on that – everyone out here is having some issues.”
Angelle Sampey won the Pro Stock Motorcycles title last October in Bristol. She returned on Friday with the top time in the first qualifying run with a 6.966.
“I was really shocked though that that was a number one qualifier run,” she smiled. “Very bumpy, I didn’t go straight, I was on the center line, I rolled off some on the finish line – I figured oh well, there goes a decent run there.”
But, Sampey sits at the top spot, for now. Greg Anderson is on top of the Pro Stock Car field, as he raced down the quarte-mile track in a time of 6.686, despite the track conditions.
“There’s still a series of bumps out there – but they can be negotiated and managed,” he said. “That’s OK – that’s character as far as I’m concerned.”
Pro Stock qualifying will resume on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with Nitro qualifying to follow at 2:30 p.m.