There will be some extra heat between two of NASCAR’s hottest drivers, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, after a controversial finish at New Hampshire.
Local race fans were disappointed when the 34th annual All American 400 was postponed in November, but the addition of NASCAR Cup series champion Kyle Busch to the field made it worth the wait.
The makeup date is April 14 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, and Busch recently committed to the field.
Busch is coming off victories last Friday in Las Vegas in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series and Xfinitiy Series races and a third-place finish Sunday in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400.
Busch is one of the top drivers on the top level in the sport, but he has always been a strong supporter of short-track racing. He said running in the All American 400 has been something he’s always wanted to do.
He’ll be in the feature super late model division.
“The All American 400 is one of just a few super late model marquee events that I’d like to check off my personal bucket list, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go to the historic Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville and try to add a win in that race to my résumé,” Busch told Speed51.com.
Busch has tried in the past to compete in the All American 400 but couldn’t make it work on his schedule.
“The last few years the race has been held the same day as events on the Cup Series schedule, so I haven’t been able to go,” he said. “But with last year’s event getting washed out and now being rescheduled for the Sunday after the Richmond Cup race in April it works out for me to go and race.”
Busch made big news in the Midstate in 2009 when he smashed a Sam Bass designed guitar after winning a Nationwide Series Race at the old Nashville Superspeedway. If he wins the All America 400 he will win another guitar trophy.
Busch actually started in the All American 400 in 2012. He led for 52 laps, before being involved in a wreck.
“I had a really fast car in the event in 2012, led a bunch of laps and had the lead toward the end when it started to rain and they kept the field on the track while under a caution-green scenario,” Busch said. “While we were making laps trying to help keep the track dry, I must have run over something and when they went back green had a tire go down as we were going through turns three and four and I ended up crashing into the outside wall.”
Busch isn’t coming back simply to make an appearance. His highly competitive nature won’t allow him to do that. He wants to win and his earlier experience could be beneficial.
“We have a really good notebook for Nashville,” Busch said. “Now we just have to go put it all together.”
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville president Tony Formosa believes having Busch in the field could result in a sellout.
“It’s a big deal to have one of the best drivers in the country in your race and without a doubt Kyle Busch is one of the best, if not the best driver on the NASCAR circuit right now,” Formosa said. “He’s an optimistic guy and he has a lot to say, but whatever he says, he has the talent to back it up.”
Murfreesboro bodybuilder Brandon Curry wins Arnold Classic
Former Hunters Lane and Middle Tennessee State football player Brandon Curry, a Murfreesboro resident, won the Arnold (Schwarzenegger) Classic men’s professional bodybuilding competition on March 2 at the Greater Columbus (Ohio) Convention Center.
Curry, 36, had won the competition in Brazil and Australia, but this was his first time to win in the U.S.
He defeated defending champion William Bonac and won $136,000.
The win made Curry one of the top candidates to win the 2019 Mr. Olympia in September in Las Vegas.
Former QB is TSU’s new coordinator
Shannon Harris, a record-setting quarterback at Tennessee State in 2001, is the Tigers’ new offensive coordinator.
He replaced Jeff Parker, who had been on the staff since 2010 and served as the offensive coordinator since 2015. Parker was not retained after last season.
Harris set TSU’s record for total offense in a season with 3,137 yards in 2001.
This is Harris’ second stint on the Tigers’ coaching staff. He was the quarterbacks coach (2004), tight ends coach (2005-06) and receivers coach (2007-09).
Local pro days are next week
Pro days at several local colleges are set for next week.
It’s an opportunity for NFL hopefuls to impress pro scouts on the different campuses.
The schedule: MTSU, TSU and Austin Peay on Monday, Vanderbilt on Tuesday and Tennessee on Thursday.
Ray “Hoss” Fuller, 94, being honored by officials association
Gov. Bill Lee and the Middle Tennessee Football Officials Association will honor Ray “Hoss” Fuller, who is 94 and been a part of the MTFOA for 55 years, with a ceremony on March 24.
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Fuller officiated more than 7,500 football, basketball, baseball and softball games on every amateur level in his career. He was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in 2003.
The MTFOA will announce it is sponsoring a new scholarship in Fuller’s name, which will pay for three local high school football players to participate in the Food City Border Bowl, an All-Star game played in Gatlinburg.
The ceremony will be at 4 p.m. at East Nashville High School.
Jim Foster receives prestigious hall of fame honor
Former Vanderbilt women’s basketball coach Jim Foster, who retired last May as the coach at Chattanooga, received the 2019 Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame Fred Gregg Jr. award.
It’s the highest honor given by the Hall of Fame recognizing an individual’s “years of exceptional achievement, exemplary leadership or behind-the-scenes contributions related to sports.”
Foster, 70, retired after four decades with 903 wins and the distinction of being the only women’s basketball coach to earn NCAA tournament bids with four different schools — Vanderbilt, Ohio State, Chattanooga and Saint Joseph’s.
Fans can tour Nissan Stadium
Guided tours of Nissan Stadium will be available for fans starting March 13.
The hour-long tour is a behind-the-scenes look at the home of the Titans. Fans get to go through the stadium with stops at the Titans locker room, press box, playing field, T-Rac’s den and cheerleader locker room.
The tours will be on Wednesdays and Fridays at 2 p.m. and on select Saturdays at 10 a.m. and noon.
Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for students, senior citizens and military and can be purchased at titansonline.com/stadium/tours.
Private tours are also available by appointment. The cost is $200 for groups of 20, and $5 for each additional attendee.
Call 615-565-4270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Sports on Nashville TV
The top five local ratings for sporting events from Feb. 25-March 3:
1. College basketball: Tennessee-Kentucky, 11.2
2. College basketball: Duke-Miami, 5.5
3. NASCAR: Las Vegas 400, 3.9
4. College basketball: Kansas-Oklahoma State 3.4
5. PGA: Honda Classic (final round), 3.1
Each rating point is equal to 10,218 Nashville homes.
Source: Mark Binda, WTVF-5 senior programming director
If you have an item for Midstate Chatter contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.
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