The USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series returns to Nashville, Tenn. this Saturday after a 45-year hiatus to compete in the "Music City 150" at the Music City Motorplex. Don Branson won the only USAC Sprint race...
The USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series returns to Nashville, Tenn. this Saturday after a 45-year hiatus to compete in the "Music City 150" at the Music City Motorplex.
Don Branson won the only USAC Sprint race ever held in the Volunteer State, on July 12, 1959, a 30-lapper at what was then the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. The return occurs on the same site and features a pair of 77-lap races on the 5/8-mile paved oval located at the Nashville Fairgrounds.
Drivers will be aiming at a $25,000 cash bonus for any driver who can win both 77-lap feature events. Practice gets under way at 5 pm and qualifying starts at 6. The first race, a 10-lap "qualifying race," starts at 8. In addition to the $4,000 first-place prize in each feature, a driver could rake in total prizes in excess of $33,000 for a clean sweep!
Saturday's program marks the 29th and 30th USAC races held in Tennessee, the ninth and 10th in Nashville. Darrell Waltrip won USAC's last race at Fairgrounds Speedway, a 200-lap Stock race race in 1972. Ken Schrader won the last USAC race in Nashville, a Midget race held in the Municipal Auditorium downtown.
Other USAC races in Nashville were won by Nelson Stacy (Stock cars-1959), Don White (Stock cars-1960), Jimmy Davies (Midgets-1960), Dale Swaim (Midgets-1961) and Tommy Copp (Midgets-1963).
Already entered for the Nashville event are former USAC Sprint Car Champions Tracy Hines, Dave Darland and Brian Tyler, plus 2003 "rookie of the year" Mat Neely and Most Improved Driver Marc Jessup.
Hines holds the record for the fastest USAC Sprint car race ever held, averaging 138.306 mph at Nazareth, Pa. in 2002. Jay Drake, also entered in one of three Tony Stewart Racing entries, set the all-time World speed record for Sprint Cars during qualifying last year at Fountain, Colo. at 144.950 mph. Joining Drake in Stewart entries at Nazareth will be Dave Steele, winner of the "Copper World Classic" USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown opener at Phoenix, Ariz. last month, and Cory Kruseman, winner of a USAC/CRA Sprint car feature at Phoenix in March.
Boston Reid, Jason McCord, Bobby East, Troy Cline, Aaron Pierce, Bud Kaeding and five-time "Little 500" winner Eric Gordon are other entered drivers who have all found victory lane during their USAC Sprint car careers.