Video: Driver Goes For Wild Ride At BMS

JoJo Helberg has played the videos, watched the television coverage and heard the stories.

Thursday morning, the wide-eyed 21-year-old native of Santa Rosa, Calif., finally experienced the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway in person.

Helberg was one of three drivers from the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series participating in a tire test in preparation for the Oct. 1 TruFuel “Xtreme Speed Classic” at BMS.

On March 20, sprint car driver Jason Blonde created a stir across the motorsports world with a flawless lap of 144.871 mph at 13.245 seconds during at a BMS event dubbed World’s Fastest Half-Mile Speed Trials.

Sammy Swindell established the old track record at 138.442 in 13.860 seconds during the 2000 World of Outlaws event on dirt.

Before rain washed out the afternoon schedule Thursday, speeds were approaching 140 mph. And Helberg was enjoying minute of it.

“I’ve always wanted to race at this place,” Helberg said. “Man, it’s amazing.”

The Michigan-based Xtreme Sprint Series features winged sprint cars with 800-plus horsepower. Over the past two years, races have been held at storied venues such as Salem Speedway, Berlin Raceway Park and Winchester Speedway.

For the BMS event, there will be a $10,000 payday to the winner, as well as a $1,000 bonus to the top qualifier. Drivers will compete for a spot in the feature lineup of The “Xtreme Speed Classic,” which pays a minimum of $1,000 to each starter.

No extra incentives were needed for Helberg, currently third in series points behind Ryan Litt and Troy DeCaire.

“Once I found out that we were going to Bristol, it was the greatest thing ever,” Helberg said. “The first NASCAR track that I raced at was Iowa Speedway last year, but that’s nothing compared this.”

Helberg said all the tall tales about Bristol are true.

“I’ve had family members attend races here, but you can’t appreciate this place until you actually go around it,” Helberg said.

According to series founder Jim Hanks, the Xtreme Speed Classic will be shown on the NBC Sports Network (currently VERSUS) on a tape-delayed basis.

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