Legends test at Bristol One look at Junior Johnson strapped into his #11 race car with old-fashioned goggles wrapped around his helmet, and it was like taking a step back in time. Johnson was one of several former Bristol Motor Speedway winners testing Tuesday at the 0.533-mile oval in preparation for this weekend's Scotts Saturday Night Special.
Also taking to the track was Harry Gant, Jimmy Spencer, Jack Ingram, Rusty Wallace, L.D. Ottinger, and Phil Parsons. The last time Johnson, who won the 1965 Southeastern 500 at BMS, raced at BMS the track was asphalt – and it was much different.
“When it was first built, you run off in the first and second turn like you went down a hill,” said the 77-year-old Johnson. “Now, it is so much smoother. I haven’t been on it since the last time they redid it, but I can tell it is a lot smoother. The pavement was kind of humpy and bumpy, so it’s got to be better (than it was). Jack Ingram, who earned 31 victories and two championships in what was then the Busch Series, now the Nationwide Series, won the second race in that series ever held at BMS, in 1982. Now 72, Ingram didn’t seem intimidated by anyone on the track. Harry Gant, 69, winner of 18 Sprint Cup victories and 21 in the Nationwide Series, was the 1992 Budweiser 250 winner at BMS. Other drivers expected to compete in the Saturday Night Special are David Green, Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Phil Parsons and Larry Pearson.
Former BMS winner Larry Pearson will be subbing for his father, David, who was scheduled to be in the race. Track officials learned earlier this week that reoccurring issues with the elder Pearson’s back will prevent him from taking part in the event.
Among the celebrities testing Wednesday will be Ray Evernham, Andy Petree, Brad Daugherty, and former NFL star Brad Compton. Other competing in the race are Frank Beamer, Terry Bowden, David Akers, Bill Jordan, Riki Rachtman, Doug Herbert, Ron Capps and Greg Anderson. The celebrities will run 15-lap or 10-minute heats to help determine the starting spots of their pro driver teammates, who then will run 35 laps. The Saturday Night Special will take place after the completion of the Scotts Turf Builder 300 Nationwide Series race and will be followed by a 100-lap UARA late model event. BMS PR
GDSI Racing with driver Sterling Marlin are preparing for Bristol Motor Speedway on March 21st. Marlin will compete in a 50 lap late model celebrity race where celebrities will be paired up with drivers. Andy Petree will drive the first 15 laps and Sterling Marlin will drive the final 35 laps in the Legend brands Chevy Monte Carlo. The winning team will win $25,000 for the charity and Sterling Marlin and GDSI Racing have selected The Epilepsy Foundation of Middle and West TN, second place will receive $10,000 and the rest of the starters will receive $5,000. The race is slated as the first “Saturday Night Special”. GDSI Racing PR
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