March 14, 2011
One of Bristol's many handles is "The World's Fastest Half-Mile," and on Saturday, the track will put that moniker to the ultimate test. Drivers wheeling four different kinds of vehicles will have one hour following the conclusion of the Nationwide race to try to break half-mile speed records in their categories.
So what's going to be on the track? A street-legal mustang, a sprint car, a supermodified and a superbike will each take spins around Bristol to try to break their own individual records as part of Bristol's 50th anniversary celebration.
Let's run down the competitors. Sammy Swindell holds the all-time Bristol track record of 138.442 mph, established during qualifying for a World of Outlaws sprint car event in June 2000. Brad Noffsinger, Mike Lichty and Bryan Clauson are going to challenge his record.
Noffsinger and Lichty will run the supermodifieds, while Clauson is going to borrow one of Tony Stewart's pavement sprint cars. (Suggestion to Clauson: don't put a scratch on it.)
As for the two-wheeled contingent, Scott Russell is attempting to set the world half-mile closed-course motorcycle speed record. He's a former AMA and World Superbike champ, he's won the Daytona 200 five times, and he'll be wheeling a Yamaha superbike.
Finally, for those of you clamoring that NASCAR needs to have stock cars that really are stock, do we have some good news for you. David Ragan and Marcos Ambrose are going to drive a street-legal 2011 Mustang GT in an attempt to set the half-mile closed course.
All the wheeling starts at about 5 p.m. ET, after the conclusion of the Scotts EZ Seed 300. They'll have one hour, and one hour only, to get the speeding done. And after that, it'll be footrace time! (No, not really, but that'd be sweet, wouldn't it?)
For the record, NASCAR's Sprint Cup qualifying record is 128.709 mph, set by Ryan Newman in 2003, and the record for a 500-lap race is 101.074 mph/2:38:12, set by the immortal Charlie Glotzbach way back in 1971.
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