More football is coming to Thunder Valley

BRISTOL, Tenn.- Two other schools will be playing pigskin at Thunder Valley at the tail end of the summer.

The East Tennessee State University Buccaneers will open their Southern Conference portion of play against the Western Carolina Catamounts at Bristol Motor Speedway. The game will take place on Sept. 17.

Buccaneers head coach Carl Torbush said that everybody at the ETSU football program is “very excited about this opportunity to play at Bristol Motor Speedway. We are very appreciative of Jerry Caldwell and everyone at BMS in making this happen.”

Western Carolina head coach Mark Speir, who was born and raised in Kannapolis, N.C. and is a diehard NASCAR fan, said that he’s looking forward to the opportunity to “welcome ETSU back to the SoCon – and to be able to do so in such a storied American sports venue like Bristol Motor Speedway is an awesome opportunity for both our programs.”

Jerry Caldwell, general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, said that “it’s exciting for us to support ETSU’s return to football and offer these athletes an experience they’ll never forget.”

Caldwell also said that only the backstretch stands will be used for this game.

Thunder Valley is no stranger to hosting football games. It played host to an NFL preseason game in 1961 between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins. On Sept. 10 of this year, it will play host to the Tennessee Volunteers and the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."


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