BELGRADE – The Grizzly Nationals kicked off at the Gallatin Speedway Friday night, bringing some of the best drivers in the nation to Belgrade.
The event, which is in it’s third year, is officially part of the National American Sprint Car Series tour. Drivers, like Wayne Johnson, who won this event last year, hit the track. The event also brings back three-time ASCS champion Blake Hahn.
“It’s actually one of my favorite tracks. Of course, we won the first ever Grizzly Nationals here at Belgrade. So it’s kind of a sweet spot in our heart, we just love coming here,” Hahn said.
Hahn won the first ever Grizzly Nationals in 2016. On Friday he placed first in his heat, but tenth in the feature race. However, regardless of results, one thing always makes this track memorable to the Oklahoma native — Adam the Grizzly Bear.
When a driver wins the race, he or she gets their trophy presented by 18-year-old Adam the Grizzly Bear in the winners circle. It’s one of the most iconic pictures rising up in the racing world, as Adam lifts his nearly 1,000 pound body onto the drivers car and poses with his mouth wide open as the driver holds the trophy.
And it’s a moment Hahn won’t ever forget.
“It’s really unbelievable , there’s not anything like it,” Hahn smiled. “My dad was more nervous than I was, but we won the night and you jump out and they say, ‘Well, you have to sign a waiver before you can stand by the bear.’ That right there made my dad a little nervous, but how many times are you going to get the opportunity to stand up on the front straight away with a grizzly bear giving you the trophy? Not very often.”
And drivers have one more chance to get their picture taken with Adam, the Grizzly Nationals wraps up Saturday night as super stocks take to the track.