Stanfield qualifying effort a reason for family celebration | Sports

BRISTOL – Aaron Stanfield lives in Bossier City, Louisiana, but the NHRA Pro Stock driver has plenty of local ties to Thunder Valley and the region.

Aaron’s father, Greg, is a native of East Tennessee and his grandfather, Howard, was a resident of Bluff City until his death.

Both Greg and Howard Stanfield raced at Thunder Valley.

Greg Stanfield, a five-time NHRA Super Stock champion, won the Super Stock trophy at the Bristol track last season on his way to winning his fifth NHRA season title.

His first four NHRA championships came in a five-year span between 1990 and ’94.

Aaron Stanfield is competing in his first Pro Stock division field this weekend and he’s off to a great start.

The third-generation driver enters Sunday Pro Stock eliminations as the top qualifier in the field.

The youngest of the Stanfield drivers said to get a win at Thunder Valley on Father’s Day would be something he could cross off the top of his bucket list.

ROCKIN ‘THE’ STACHE ‘

NHRA Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan is more than just a successful racer.

The 39-year-old driver also has a successful farm operation near Christiansburg, Virginia, where he owns 3,400 acres of land and 1,400 head of cattle.

Hagan’s latest success, however, is a little more personal.

He’s becoming quite the mustache grower.

The three-time NHRA Funny Car world champion sported his “stache” earlier this month when he took his 42nd career victory at the New England Nationals in Epping, NH

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After returning home, Hagan shaved his now-famous mustache, but had to regrow it quickly after his public relations team decided to promote Hagan’s facial hair.

He’ll be “rocking the stache” Sunday when he takes to Thunder Valley seeking his fourth win of the season.

Hagan qualified seventh for Sunday’s Funny Car action at Bristol.

Robert Hight was the top qualifier, followed by NHRA legend John Force.

TURNING LEFT

It’s been quite a weekend for Hight.

On Friday, he earned the top qualifying spot in the Funny Car division with a qualifying time of 310.98 that held up through Saturday’s qualifying.

On Saturday, the three-time Funny Car champion took over the controls of the Bristol Motor Speedway Pace Car to run some laps around the iconic half-mile that’s been the home to so much NASCAR history.

“It’s amazing, it’s so much fun,” Hight said. “I wish I was better at it. I’ve ridden around here with some NASCAR drivers before and they’re awesome.

“One of these days I’d like to go take some lessons and learn a little bit. What’s amazing to me is that I will watch this race on TV and those guys will run right along the wall. I can’t imagine doing that, inches off that wall all the way around, it’s insane. “

Hight, who won at Bristol Dragway in 2011, is having a great season in the NHRA Camping World Series this year with three wins in five final rounds.

GATES OPEN EARLY

Sunday’s schedule at Thunder Valley calls for parking lots to open at 9:30 am with spectator gates opening at 10 am

Prerace ceremonies are set for 11 am with eliminations slated for noon.

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