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

We’ve said it before with an earlier visit this season (2023)… Natural Bridge Speedway has made big moves forward after some deep questions about their future. The season has progressed and the cars, drivers and fans have joined the management with very positive results.

We made it back around for one of the “championship” nights for several divisions. The evening did get off the clock slightly with some of the practice and qualifying but green flag racing put the real show on.

The evening schedule presented seven races with Sportsman, Street Stock, Vintage Doubles, Late Model, Pure Stock, Ctates and the Rookies.

The show was lively but did stop down a few times for some tow truck cautions. Most notably coming out of turn 4 during the Late Model feature as Joe Leavell and Cody Wright got tangled and the cars had to be wrenched and pulled apart.

The Crates also pulled the tow truck out for Cecil Cash and Chris Brown as Brown’s #00 nosed into the rear of the #69 car. These were not the only yellow flag incidents on course but are noted for bringing out the tow and holding action for a bit longer than an average spin.

Fans are getting a show at NBS this season. There is parking and seating on both sides of the track with a good concessions offering and a new “VIP” view suite. The season still has action in store so check the schedule with more divisions going for the final championship plus a mid-October Fall Classic big weekend blow out!

Sportsman Top Three: Roger Rohrbaugh, Mike Ayers, Jonathan Wolfe
Street Stock Top Three: Ben Hamilton, Neil Murray, Jesse Murray
Vintage Sportsman: Andrew Fertig / Vintage Modified: Mike Houghtalin
Late Model Top Three: Derrick, Tyler Bare, Samuel Bryant
Pure Stock Top Three: Jacob McCormick, Sam Hamilton, Troy Fitzgerald
Crates Top Three: Ronnie Martin Jr, Joe Leavell, Ryan Adams
Rookies Top Three: Aiden Meade, Bradick Pruitt, Max Link

Full Photo Gallery – Natural Bridge Speedway – September 30, 2023

We don’t know. That refers to the current (July 16, 2022 to “Maybe”, “Unknown” and “What…?”) situation and drama that is Natural Bridge Speedway.

The place has been around since the 1950s. However, there are some issues that are pulling at the calendar at this 3/8 mile clay oval. There are some definite facility issues. The drag strip has been down for a while and the chances of it coming back to speed are slight. The oval, which has been hosting a weekly schedule, is on the edge of an implosion. There are stories of staffing issues, deteriorating structure and facility components, race winners not being paid, security and/or safety concerns and just plain indifference to the racers and fans.

On top of all that, water in the infield facilities (such as it is) just isn’t…

Now… This is where it gets a little… weird. A few days before race day, (Saturday 7-16) some chatter opened up on the NBS Facebook page. (The website, by the way, has been off for a while… Like the infield water…) There was an announcement that a fellow, apparently native of the area, was stepping in as promoter / director. This man immediately made a show of his plans. There was Facebook Live (since deleted) and big promises. Driver payouts, things getting fixed, big plans in the works for big events, a truck show…

To Be Fair…

Te be fair… He seemed to have a wide range of support… On paper, anyway. The FB Live presentation went wide and wild and then there was another FB Live as a kind of rebuttal clarification on the first that also strained the guard rails of staying on topic.

By race day, it seems there were many bits of the strategy as presented that were scratched. We now know, or have been presented with, an “after event” narrative. Friday practice was scrubbed as no EMT/Ambulance was available. A scoring computer was missing… Radios that were, at best, vintage to start with, were inoperative and/or broken and missing… The infield water situation has already been mentioned… There were property tax issues (?)… Track treatment water trucks and the water supply for them… Tow vehicles…

For race day, it did start with a “truck show”. A hip-hop hi-rise truck show. Oddly cool but also seemingly out of place…? Just a bit.

Qualifying was scrubbed as timing and scoring was dependent on a computer that was either missing or simply inoperative. Starting order was determined by draw. Despite numerous declarations of a definite green at 7:00pm, the actual first race start go off about 20 minutes late.

Not bad… They got in the National Anthem.

Natural Bridge Speedway is a 3/8 mile clay-dirt track. The surface has been raced on, graded, conditioned, watered, compressed and raked for 60 years or so. In short, it is dirt track racing and it gets sideways fast.

The crowd was actually really good, as far as appearances go. The car count for racing was pretty good, also. The crates ran the largest field but there were enough in the other divisions for good runs. There were some spins… One went over the edge top of turns 3 – 4 (OK, it seems… The ambulance didn’t go hot…) A purple car chased a multi-color car… A little car fought a bigger tire…

The show on the track was quite good. The fans were engaged. The racing went off, for the most part, easily enough. Staging and out for the green flag was set with little confusion despite having no real radio communications. The end result, from a fan looking in standpoint and from what was witnessed, was an evening of very good racing.

The show leading up to the show might have had elements borrowed from a train wreck. As of this writing, the fellow who ran NBS for those few days quit the gig, decided not to quit the gig and was, apparently, removed from the gig and seems to be still talking about the gig.

Who is driving this train now…? How much money was spent…? Whose money…? We think the drivers and positions were paid so there is that… Is there racing this coming weekend…?

We have no idea… but here are some photos!

July 16th, 2022 at Natural Bridge Speedway.