Bristol’s Beauty

The NHRA’s most scenic race track?

Drag strips are not typically found in beautiful environments. The requirement for the better part of a mile of flat, straight terrain means mountains are unsuitable.

There are exceptions, and Bristol Dragway is one of them. Set between Tennessee mountain peaks, ‘Thunder Valley’ has earned a reputation as one of the most beautiful drag racing venues in the world.

The facilities are typical of track owner Bruton Smith, with a professional tower and corporate facilities and much to keep the spectators happy too, including plentiful bathrooms and showers, free drinking water and golf carts constantly shuttling people from car parks to their seats.

The 2018 Thunder Valley Nationals took place from June 15-17, with three days of hot weather testing race teams and the endurance of spectators alike. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite images of the event.

Bristol is first and foremost a NASCAR town. A mural in the downtown area pays tribute to two of the greats - Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty.
A stream that runs between the spectator parking area and the venue itself attracts anglers trying their luck in quiet times.
Waiting in the staging lanes.
Pro Modified teams unpack race cars from their haulers ahead of Friday qualifying.
Keen spectators arrive early to catch every run.
Antron Brown awaits a qualifying run in his Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster.
The last rays of sun highlight JR Todd's helmet as he mentally prepares for another 300mph blast.
Cruz Pedregon on launch.
Courtney Force wears a gas mask to breathe while warming up her Funny Car.
Terry McMillen smokes it up on the Bristol start line.
Pro Modified driver Sidnei Frigo gets the parachutes out in the braking area of Bristol Dragway, surrounded by the track's famous mountains.
Brittany Force coming to rest.
Ron Capps runs a gauntlet of spectators in pre-race ceremonies.