Johnson City's Carol Burley wins Bristol's Ford Mustang Pace Car in Sharky 500
Racing is nothing unusual at Bristol Motor Speedway. Racing sharks? Well, that's a different story.
The second annual Sharky 500 took place Saturday at the World's Fastest Half-Mile as more than 5,500 rubber sharks battled for supremacy in Beaver Creek.
The event raised in excess of $55,000 for the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities while Johnson City's Carol Burley was the grand prize winner, taking home the 2009 BMS Ford Mustang pace car as her shark was the first to the finish line.
It was a storybook ending to the Speedway Children's Charities effort as Burley happened to be test driving a new car Saturday and was driving past BMS as the Sharky 500 was taking place and had a premonition.
"I was driving past and I said to myself ‘they're going to call me any minute, I know I won,'" said Burley, who said she heard about the Sharky 500 on Electric 94.9. "And then I got the call. My daughter asked why I bought two sharks and I said if you win a car it's worth it and it sure was."
Boyd Hughes of Freedom, Okla., was the second-place winner, picking up $5,000 in furnishings from Grand Home. Timothy Collins of Bristol, Va. had the third-place shark, which won him a trip to Universal Studios Orlando.
Several thousand people took part in Saturday's activities, which also included a Kid's Expo with a variety of fun things for kids to do - all at no cost.
"Once again, we had a fantastic outpouring of support for this event," said Claudia Byrd, director of the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. "I want to thank every body who bought a shark and helped us raise so much money for kids in this area. In just two years of having the Sharky 500 we've raised nearly $100,000, which is just phenomenal."
Finishing fourth was Linda Hicks of Kingsport, Tenn. (two tickets to the Irwin Tools Night Race in 2010), followed by fifth-place finisher Vicki Broadway of Panama City, Fla. (two tickets to the 2010 Food City 500). Dawn Alfano of Fairmont, W.Va. was sixth (two tickets to the 2010 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, followed by Russell Lowers of Parkersburg, W.Va. (2010 tickets to both the Food City 250 and Scotts Turf Builder 300), Tammy Lawrence of Stonewood, W.Va. ($100 gift certificate to Food City), Linda Bagwell of Pell City, Ala. ($75 gift certificate to Speedway World at BMS) and Allen Johnson of Greeneville, Tenn. ($50 gift certificate to Food City).
The next event benefiting Speedway Children's Charities is the 13th Annual Autotrader.com Speedway In Lights Powered by TVA which begins Friday, Nov. 13.
The Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities, a non-profit organization, has raised more than $4.5 million in the last 12 years for children's agencies in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.