It was perhaps one of the most crazy and genius ideas a promoter could have come up with. They wanted to bring World of Outlaws Sprint Car racing to the Bristol Motor Speedway and the only way that could happen was to cover the famous half-mile with dirt so that is just what they did. In 2000 they first covered the track with sawdust and then brought in 1,400 dump trucks worth of dirt to cover the track at the cost of $150,000. Once covered with dirt Bristol proved to be one of the biggest challenges that the Outlaw drivers would ever face. They actually had to reduce the banking from 36 degrees on the pavement to 24 degrees on the dirt to keep the speeds down. After practicing drivers had to modify their top wings to see up the banking on the right side of the car. Some 50,000 fans bought tickets to the race and at the time it was the biggest crowd to ever see a World of Outlaws race even though roughly the first 20 rows of seating all around the track were closed off due to the fear of a sprint car flipping over the fence.
Video: Enjoy the video of the 2000 Channellock Challenge at Bristol Motor Speedway courtesy of racermac1988.
Sammy Swindell set the dirt track record at Bristol lapping the half-mile in 13.86 seconds which is still a full second faster than Ryan Newman’s NASCAR track record which stands at 14.908 seconds. The racing was furious and the wrecks were spectacular as Sammy Swindell conquered the rest of the field to take home the feature victory. In the end the speeds, time to convert the track to dirt, and the cost all proved to be too much as the race was only held one more time in 2001 and has not been held since. However, on October 1st fans will have the opportunity to see winged sprint cars at Bristol one more time except this time they will be on the pavement high banks. The Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series will do battle for a $10,000 payday as a winged sprint car has already claimed the overall track record there earlier this year as Jason Blonde recorded a lap of 13.245 seconds at the Bristol Speed Trials.