There was a time when nothing could replicate the sound of a nitro-burning Funny Car burning out at Thunder Valley Dragway, Larry Carrier’s picturesque drag strip carved out in a valley in Eastern Tennessee. Some say it was that cackle and subsequent thunder of the launch which best epitomized the moniker, which made the drag strip one of the best places to watch a drag strip.

A lot has changed since 1998, when Bruton Smith completely revamped the facility to represent one of the most beautiful drag strips on tour. With the renovation, some of the acoustics are different from what they were back then.

Or are they?

For the first time since the NHRA began coming to the new Bristol Dragway, the Legends Nitro Funny Cars, with engine specs similar to what they ran “back in the day,” will compete at the Thunder Valley Dragway for the fourth time since the series was introduced to NHRA fans.

The excitement of nitro-burning, 1979-and-older-style Funny Cars will be presented by Modern Warrior during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals June 9-11, 2023. Modern Warriors is a Utah-based premier tactical company.

“I am excited to say that Modern Warriors will again be the presenting title sponsors for the Legends Nitro Funny Car series, this time at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol,” said Todd Vowell, owner of Modern Warriors. “After our successful partnership at the Winternationals in Pomona, we felt that Bristol is a perfect opportunity for us to support and showcase the throwback Nitro Funny Cars. Muscle cars and drag racing have always been a passion of mine, and teaming up with the guys at Legends Nitro Funny Cars is not only a great opportunity for Modern Warriors but also a way to show Bristol what we represent and love about our great country.”

The Legends Nitro Funny Cars presented by Modern Warriors “Your Tactical Specialists” eight-car field will be contested at Bristol on the first leg of an East Coast swing that is followed by the NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Ky., on June 15-17. With the majority of the teams being based on the West Coast, the two-race swing is a rare and welcomed opportunity to race at these landmark venues for the first time.

Drivers expected to compete are points leader Tim Boychuk, reigning NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series champion Bobby Cottrell, Pomona winner Cory McClenathan, Billy Morris, Geoff Monise, Kamaka Pocock, Bill Windham, and series newcomer Chuck Loftin in his Billy Meyer-inspired Motivation entry.

“The racers are really looking forward to bringing this type of racing to some of the best tracks and fans in drag racing,” said Bill Windham, series co-promoter. “These cars have gotten a great response everywhere so far, and there aren’t as many opportunities on that side of the country to see a program of vintage nitro cars of this caliber. I appreciate the racers who wouldn’t normally travel further than Boise or Tulsa committing to following the series east. It’s going to be a lot of fun in Bristol.”