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.”

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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.

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My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

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