The fans did not seem to be concerned. The drivers were there and ready to go. The weather offered some concern but cooperated for the best part of it. Granted, it could have been a few degrees warmer but for November you get what nature has in the bag.
The fans made it work with jackets, blankets or the comfort of their own cars overlooking the view of Natural Bridge Speedway. Competitors made it work with parking and pit sets on the hill off the back stretch. The track staff made it work with concessions ready to go, the track surface treated and ready to race and the schedule set for two days of racing.
This was the finale weekend for the American All Star Series (presented by PPM racing Products). This series races on tracks and draws competitors from Kentucky to Alabama and, yes, Virginia. The season turned laps on 18 tracks starting back in April at Bristol Motor Speedway (one week before the NASCAR Bristol Dirt Race). Points added up to champions being crowned at Natural Bridge.
The schedule was set for Friday & Saturday November 10 and 11. The weather earlier in the week was sunny and comfortably warm. However, that turned to Friday morning rain, a drop in temperatures and lingering clouds. The clouds faded overnight with sun overhead for Saturday but afternoon temps dropped to the 40s as the racing turned laps into the evening.
*Friday was not an option as I already had obligations in motion. There was a short schedule with Street Stock, Rookie and Late Model and open practice for Saturday Crates. Jesse Murray won Street Stock, Dakota Johnson won the Rookie and the Top Three in Late Model was Joey Leavell, Tyler Bare and Jon Dietz.
The impression continues to grow for NBS. The folks in charge continue to push this place forward focusing first and foremost on the fans who support it. The parking and staging areas were having some upgrades done, a VIP fan focused “suite” was open, lit and occupied and most notable there was a new and working scoreboard up in position over turns one and two. (No… I have no idea how long the old board had been dark and dormant.)
NBS also has a “reserved” parking system in place in which fans buy spaces so they can watch the race from their cars. As those temperatures dropped that seemed to be a “hot” option!
The track went hot a bit later than scheduled with qualifying and heat races for the main 60 lap Crate event. Once the laps started turning the afternoon and evening began to hum right along. The crown did not seem to mind that things were a bit off the clock and cheered from two crowded hillsides as the racing went on.
The Saturday races featured “Mini” Wedge Karts, Sportsman, Pure Stock and the Crates. The Crates were the main Saturday show with the four heat races, the 60 lap highlight, a “Dash for Cash” and the shorter “B” Main. The date was also Veterans Day and in tribute there was a “four wide” main event parade lap for the branches of the United States Military. For the fans, it was a great showing of talent from a wide region. For Natural Bridge Speedway, it was another crowd event for racers and fans to close the season with a rush.
The next year is certainly wide open. There seems to be a real foundation of care for this place that is shared among the organizers, promoters, racers and fans. It will be a pleasure to see what 2024 brings to Natural Bridge Speedway.
Racing Results Saturday November 11 2023 – American All Stars – Natural Bridge Speedway
Mini Wedge Top Three: Aty Evans, Brady Lilly, Emma Simmons
Sportsman Top Three: Bobby Thompson, Bryce Smith, Mike Ayers
ATC Bolts “B” Main Top Three: Greg Roberson, David Watts. Samuel Bryant
Pure Stock Top Three: Sam Hamilton, James Newton, Jacob McCormick
Pro Crate Main 60 Top Five: Logan Roberson, Will Roland, Cory Hedgecock, Russell Erwin, Joe Leavell
Powder Puff Winner: Britney Ayers
Despite Logan Roberson winning the feature, the “Dash” and the pole start, it was the crown of the AAS Touring Champion going to Jesse Lowe as the Weekly Champion title went to AJ Hicks. The Mini Wedge Title went to Brady Lilly.
Full Photo Gallery – November 11, 2023 – American All Stars – Natural Bridge Speedway