NASCAR: Drivers Challenge Bristol's Nickname of 'The World's Fastest Half-Mile'

Brian PolkingContributor IIMarch 14, 2011

Capacity crowds are the norm at Bristol.
Capacity crowds are the norm at Bristol.Jason Smith/Getty Images

Bristol Motor Speedway has been called Thunder Valley, The Bullring, and The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.

Following this Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at the track, a group of drivers will challenge that last nickname.

In honor of Bristol’s 50th anniversary, drivers using four different types of vehicles will attempt to break track records in their respective classes during a one-hour, post-race event.

Taking the track will be a sprint car, a supermodified, a street-legal Ford Mustang, and a superbike.

The all-time track record was set back in 2000 by Sammy Swindell. He turned a lap of 138.442 mph in a World of Outlaws event.

Challenging his record will be Brad Noffsinger, Mike Lichty, and Bryan Clauson. Noffsinger and Lichty will run supermodifieds while Clauson will go after the record in a pavement sprint car owned by two-time Cup Series champ Tony Stewart.

Scott Russell will represent the superbike portion of the event, piloting a Yamaha superbike. Russell is well qualified to go after the record. He is a five-time winner of the Daytona 200 and a former AMA and World Superbike champ.

NASCAR drivers will get a chance to break the stock car track record as well.

Marcos Ambrose and David Ragan will both drive a 2011 Ford Mustang GT when they make their attempts. Ragan is a former winner at the track in the Nationwide Series, and Ambrose has finished as high as third in the Cup Series.

Ryan Newman holds the current stock car record. He put down a lap of 128.709 mph during a qualifying session at Bristol in 2003.

The track’s race record was set back in 1971 during a rare caution-free event. “Charging” Charlie Glotzbach won the 500-lap at an average of 101.074 mph.