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Bristol weekend puts focus on east Tennessee racing

By admin | March 19, 2009

By Richard Allen


With the Sprint Cup Series coming to the Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend there will be plenty of attention focused on racing in the east Tennessee area. So, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at some tracks in this area for a preview of their 2009 seasons.

As NASCAR continues to suffer from declines in attendance and television ratings there could be an opportunity for local tracks all over the country to experience gains. However, the worsening economy could hit these businesses just as it has at the top of the sport.

Hopefully, both attendance and car counts will be high so that local tracks might prosper.

411 Speedway in Seymour looks to continue to build on its successes of last season. Car counts were solid throughout most of 2008 at the track that had only recently converted from asphalt to dirt.

The 1/3 mile banked dirt track looks to offer up competition in seven distinct classes in 2009. Late Models, SuperTrucks, Classics, StreetStocks, Modifieds, Modminis and PureMinis will each be in action this coming season.

Practice sessions will be held on March 21st and March 28th with the season opener set for Saturday, April 4th. Plans are for weekly shows to be run every Saturday night thereafter until October 24th.

The Mountain Raceway in Maryville will showcase competition in seven classes. Late Model, Sportsman, Crate, Mini Stock, Street Stock, Pure Mini and Modified Mini classes will race around the historic track. This track has also alternated between asphalt and dirt but is now configured as a dirt track measuring just under ½ mile.

The Crate division at The Mountain will be part of the regional NeSmith Series. Also, track owner Kevin Coffey has announced a new program called ‘Kids Into Racing’ which will allow kids 5-10 years old and 10-14 years old to compete and have fun at the same time.

Action is set to begin with a practice session on March 21st. The Tennessee Thunder Series will run at The Mountain on March 28th and regular weekly racing will begin on April 4th. The O’Reilly Southern All Star Series will make an appearance on June 6th.

Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap is set to begin with a Tennessee Thunder Series event on March 20th. The high banked 1/3 mile dirt track has not yet released a weekly schedule but is expected to host the Lucas Oil Late Model Series and the American Motorcyclist Association among others in the coming season.

It looks to be an exciting year of racing for local followers. These three tracks as well as others in the area are primed and ready to offer up good competition and good fun throughout the spring, summer and fall of 2009. Each of these tracks maintains a website with more information. Look them up and plan a visit. You will be glad you did.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: ET Racing |

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