BRISTOL, Tenn. — Parker Price-Miller made quick work of rebounding from an early power steering issue that limited his laps during the first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series practice Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
In fact, Price-Miller’s bounce back was impressive enough that he ended up pacing the last of five rounds of hot laps at the .526-mile dirt-covered high banks.
The 22-year-old from Kokomo, Ind., tipped that his main objective was to get his car handling well by itself, in hopes he will be able to stay near the front of the pack throughout the weekend.
“We really were focused on trying to get our car better all day long,” said Price-Miller. “I tried to stay mostly in clean air, so we didn’t really do any testing in dirty air, but I think we’re getting there. We were really good, I feel like, during the first part of the second session, but there’s still some work to do. I’m thankful we got this test night out here, because it’s been wicked.
“We were going fast enough to suck the stickers off, I guess,” he added with a chuckle, pointing to the bare tail tank of his No. 19 where the number had flown off the car.
• Price-Miller wasn’t the only driver to deal with unruly vinyl due to the high speeds at Bristol. Shark Racing’s Logan Schuchart also lost a piece of his car’s wrap over the course of testing.
“Either we’re doing something right or the powder coat isn’t sticking as well, I don’t know,” Schuchart laughed. “We’re definitely going fast here, though, and we knew coming here that we would and that it would be a big-speed place. It’s going to be a great event, I think, because the fans are pumped and turning out already. It’s definitely fast and we’ll have to get the race track wide to have good racing.”
As for the handling of his Drydene Performance Products-backed No. 1s, Schuchart said he’s confident entering the first of two race nights comprising the Bristol Throwdown and believes a strong qualifying lap will be key to success at The Last Great Coliseum.
“We felt really good tonight; we were strong every time we went out on the race track,” Schuchart tipped. “Hopefully, we can get this thing qualified up front and get some good finishes in front of a lot of spectators this week. There’s a lot of spotlight on us this weekend and we want to put on a good show.”
• After debuting his throwback Pennzoil colors as a nod to late car owner Jack Elden earlier in the day, Jac Haudenschild garnered the dubious distinction of being the only sprint car driver to draw a caution flag during Thursday practice at Bristol.
Haudenschild spun exiting turn four during the third set of hot laps, sliding to a stop on the frontstretch without hitting anything.
There was no visible damage to his No. 22 and the 63-year-old Hall of Famer was able to continue.
• Another team with different colors this week at Bristol is KCP Racing with driver Gio Scelzi, who changed their car from its familiar orange-and-white look to light green and teal, with Royal Flooring taking over the primary sponsor position from longtime team backer Aspen Aire Heating & Cooling.
Scelzi showed some speed Thursday evening, leading the way in the second practice session at 14.575 seconds (129.921 mph).
The 19-year-old Fresno, Calif., native is chasing his third career World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win and first since May 24, 2019 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C.
• Well-known mechanic and car owner Bernie Stuebgen, who runs Indy Race Parts with his wife Betsy, is performing double duty during the Bristol Throwdown.
Stuebgen will crew chief both his own No. 71, being piloted by Spencer Bayston, and Scelzi’s No. 18 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Scelzi previously drove for Stuebgen before moving to KCP Racing.
• For those wondering, the official World of Outlaws sprint car track record at Bristol is held by Sammy Swindell, who is serving as this weekend’s grand marshal.
Swindell set a blistering time of 13.860 seconds (136.623 mph) in the inaugural Channellock Challenge race on June 9, 2000, which still stands as the all-time Bristol dirt track record some 21 years later.
Of note, the World of Outlaws uses a track measurement of .526 miles for Bristol’s dirt configuration. NASCAR used a true half-mile measurement for its dirt weekend in late March.
The normal concrete layout at Bristol is measured at .533 miles around.