By admin | March 18, 2013
By Richard Allen
Whenever there is a dirt track or paved short track near the site of a NASCAR facility, it is almost certain that stars from the top level of stock car racing will come out for some extra competition or to just hang out. One the favorite haunts of some of those stars when the Sprint Cup Series comes to Bristol, Tenn.Â is the Volunteer Speedway.
This past weekend was no different. As Sprint Cup and Nationwide drivers and teams prepared and ran their races on the half-mile concrete Bristol Motor Speedway, several members of the NASCAR family found their way down I-81 to the 1/3 mile clay oval in Bulls Gap.
Clint Bowyer owns the dirt late model cars driven by Steve Francis and Jared Landers. So, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver was on hand to watch his carsÂ compete in the Ray Cook Spring Nationals races on the high-banked dirt track. The weekend proved to be less than successful as the two Clint Bowyer Racing cars only managed one top-10 in a total of four starts.
Bill Elliott was also in attendance at ‘The Gap’ to watch his son Chase race in the Crate Late Model division on Saturday night. TheÂ young Hendrick Motorsports development driverÂ scored an impressive 3rd place finish after starting from the inside of the fourth row in the 25-lapÂ feature event.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regulars Ty Dillon and Joey Coulter are also frequent dirt late model competitors. Both raced in the Ray Cook promoted Spring Nationals on both Friday and Saturday nights. Dillon scored a 10th place finish on Friday night and backed that up with a 7th place result on Saturday.
Coulter finished 17th on Friday but failed to make the feature race on Saturday.
But drivers are not the only ones who have something to gain from dirt racing.Â Multiple NASCAR related companies supply any number of pieces and parts for dirt racing. For example, Roush Yates Engines provides power for some of the sport’s biggest stars. Among those using RYE motors in Bulls Gap were Scott Bloomquist, Eric Wells and Eric Jacobsen.
Racers love racing at all levels. For one weekend in east Tennessee, the worlds of NASCAR and dirt late model racing came together at the Volunteer Speedway.
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