Bristol Dragway banquet a success

Previous Winners

Subway 400 Winners
   Year Driver Car Make
   2003 Dale Jarrett Ford
   2002 Matt Kenseth Ford
   2001 Steve Park Chevrolet
   2000 Bobby Labonte Pontiac
   1999 Mark Martin Ford
   1998 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet
   1997 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet
   1996 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet
   1995 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet
   1994 Rusty Wallace Ford
   1993 Rusty Wallace Pontiac
   1992 Bill Elliott Ford
   1991 Kyle Petty Pontiac
   1990 Kyle Petty Pontiac
   1989 Rusty Wallace Pontiac
   1988 Neil Bonnett Pontiac
   1987 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet
   1986 Terry Labonte Oldsmobile
   1985 Neil Bonnett Chevrolet
   1984 Bobby Allison Buick
   1983 Richard Petty Pontiac
   1982 Cale Yarborough Buick
   1981 Darrell Waltrip Buick
   1980 Cale Yarborough Oldsmobile
   1979 Bobby Allison Ford
   1978 David Pearson Mercury
   1977 Richard Petty Dodge
   1976 Richard Petty Dodge
   1975 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet
   1974 Richard Petty Dodge
   1973 David Pearson Mercury
   1972 Bobby Issac Dodge
   1971 Richard Petty Plymouth
   1970 Richard Petty Plymouth
   1969 David Pearson Ford
   1968 Donnie Allison Ford
   1967 Richard Petty Plymouth
   1966 Paul Goldsmith Plymouth
   N.C. 200
   Year Driver Car Make
   2003 Jamie McMurray Dodge
   2002 Jason Keller Ford
   2001 Todd Bodine Chevrolet
   2000 Mark Martin Ford
   1999 Jeff Burton Ford
   1998 Matt Kenseth Chevrolet
   1997 Mark Martin Ford
   1996 Mark Martin Ford
   1995 Chad Little Ford
   1994 Terry Labonte Chevrolet
   1993 Mark Martin Ford
   1992 Ward Burton Buick
   1991 Dale Jarrett Pontiac
   1990 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet
   1989 Rob Moroso Oldsmobile
   1988 Mark Martin Ford
   1987 Morgan Shepherd Buick
   1986 Dale Earnhardt Pontiac
   1985 Dale Earnhardt Oldsmobile
   1984 Sam Ard Oldsmobile
   1983 Dale Earnhardt Pontiac
   1982 David Pearson Ford
By Jeff Birchfield

  On Saturday, February 7, 2004, the top drag racing facility in the country hosted the top banquet in the country for weekly racers.
   Over 500 people were in attendance that day at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport as the Bristol Dragway held its banquet for the 2003 racing season.
   "I worked with the Winston Drag program for almost fifteen years," said Bristol Dragway President Jeff Byrd, referring to his days with the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. "From Atmore, Alabama to California I've attended functions, but I've never been to a banquet this big, this good."
   The Speedway/Dragway complex used the opportunity to honor the champions and top finishers of the 2003 season. They also updated competitors and media on the latest happenings at Bristol Dragway, which included news of an open house on March 6.
   Six champions were honored - Chris Johnson in Super Pro, Junior Bailey in Pro, Mike Gill as Motorcycle champ, Eddie Weaver in Sportsman, Seth Street in Divisi
on I Jr. Dragster and C.J. Hodges in Division II Jr. Dragster.
   For Gill it was satisfying as the Elizabethton racer had clinched a second straight track title.
   "It's still hard to believe, but it's nice," said Gill. "It would be hard to beat this banquet. I'm ready to go for the three-peat."
   He will run the same bike the upcoming season that powered him to the 2003 title. Gill is using this winter for maintenance and upgrades.
   "I'm working on it, tearing it down to try to go faster," said Gill. "That's what it's all about."
   Another racer hailing from Elizabethton, Chad Cathell, was specially honored in the Junior Dragster class for leading the season charge with four wins and finishing third in points.
   Several other awards were given out, with Ricky Wyatt receiving a $10,000 bonus for completing a perfect run during the course of the season. He also was named Driver of the Year. Bobby McKinney got a $250 check for filing the most legible tech card, Scott Yelton was awarded Crew Member of the Year and Chris Fleenor was honored as Sportsman of the Year.
   Other special awards were given to Pizza Plus as Sponsor of the Year; Kirk Smith was the track employee of the year and Bob Radford of WCYB-TV was recognized with the Media Award, one year after his station as a whole received the honor.
   A special guest in attendance was Allen Johnson, the NHRA's No. 6 Pro Stock Division driver. Johnson, who hails from nearby Greeneville, recalled getting his start at Bristol Dragway in 1981.
   It has been five years since the track was rebuilt under the direction of Speedway Motorsports Chairman Bruton Smith.
   Dragway official Fred King updated those in attendance on exciting new changes coming soon. Among the improvements will be a 1,000-seat grandstand with a better vantage point of the action, a state of the art sign entering the dragway off Highway 394 and some other renovations. On the track, the schedule was beefed up from 14 events to 16 in 2004.
   King also passed on good news from this past year with an emphasis on racer participation. The car count increased a full 20 percent in 2003.
   At the Meadowview on that Saturday two weeks ago, the sign at the stage boldly displayed these words, "The 2003 Pizza Plus Banquet Club Banquet with over $50,000 in cash and prizes to 65 top racers."
   The banquet delivered those promises and with over 100 more people in attendance than the previous year, truly deserved recognition as the top banquet for a weekly drag racing track in the country.