Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
April 1, 2002
The Tennessee mountainside was the perfect backdrop for a fun-filled weekend provided by the fine people at Year One. Perfect weather, detailed planning, and plenty of activities meant everyone went home happy and tired. We didn't hear one complaint the whole weekend.

Horse Sense: Year One's primary focus has been those cars from the musclecar era, and there were plenty of examples on hand. The new Year One Next Generation catalog for late-model Mustangs means that with each year the Mustang content for this event should grow in leaps and bounds-something that will definitely bring us back next year.

Year One was coming up on the big "two-oh." What would make for a memorable event everyone could enjoy? The company's answer: The Year One Bristol Bash Customer Appreciation Weekend and 20th Anniversary Celebration. A mouthful, to say the least, but those in attendance soon became comfortable calling it "The Bristol Bash."

The event, which occurred on the weekend of October 19-21, 2001, at the Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee, incorporated everything a family of car fanatics could enjoy. There was, of course, a car show, where everything gleamed with polished paint and shiny wheels. There was also drag racing, with Friday night "Street Races," Bristol Bash Test and Tune, Bracket Race, True Street, F.A.S.T. Shootout, and Muscle on the Mountain classes.

Drag racers, show cars, and autocrossers came out in big numbers for this first-time event. These Mustangs were on our caravan from the Year One offices, while additional Mustangs arrived with the other caravans.

For those preferring lap times to e.t.'s, there was an SCCA-designed autocross that ran the entire weekend, allowing anything that could pass tech inspection a chance at the cones. For those desiring the ultimate bench-racing honors, Werx Motorsports had its Dynojet portable dyno on site for anyone wanting to twist the rollers for a fee. With Year One display cars, celebrities in attendance signing autographs, and even a safe play area for kids (with face painting, clowns, and more) the Year One staff really did their homework when it came to making everyone happy.

With the Next Generation catalog out barely a year now, the late-model Mustang attendance was low compared to the bruising '60s and '70s musclecars Year One has been servicing during the past 20 years. But as they say, you'll never know what shows up unless you attend. In the autocross area we saw a brand-new GT and a fresh Saleen S281 battle it out for best lap times. In the drag-race field we stumbled across a low-seven-second Mustang sporting a trick turbo setup. And over in the car-show area we spotted several Fox Mustangs, some with multitudes of modifications and others kept stock and in original condition.

Leaving Year One's offices on a chilly Friday morning for Bristol was made much easier by our police escort out of town. There is talk that next year there may be an escort all the way to Bristol using various agencies along the route. Now that's class. Before leaving, Year One made sure everyone's stomach was full of danishes and juice, while a quick driver's meeting handled any questions that arose.

The most interesting part of Year One's Bristol Bash plans had to be its caravans, with several leaving from prominent locations-our magazine offices, Holley's corporate offices, and more-and driving to Bristol, Tennessee, for the event. Our route took us from the 5.0&SF's offices in Central Florida to Year One's offices in Georgia (where we spent the night) and then on to Bristol the following day. While we were graciously given the use of an Eddie Bauer edition '02 Ford Explorer by Ford's PR office to carry our camera gear and act as a staging vehicle, we would have loved to have brought something more representative of the magazine. Maybe next year we can bring the Real Street project or our new 3g GT '01 Mustang.

Wait just a second. Did I say "next year?" I sure did. While dates haven't been chiseled in Fred-Flintstone fashion yet, we've already received an e-mail from Kevin King, president of Year One, informing us that the Bristol Bash will continue next year, with quite possibly the availability of Bristol Speedway for hot laps!

So enjoy this coverage we bring you now, and stay tuned for more information on next year's event as soon as we get it. Then you can join us for the caravan and for a fun time in Bristol. We hope to see you there!