BRISTOL, Tenn. (WCYB) — We're used to seeing Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and other NASCAR superstars crossing the checkered flag at The Last Great Colosseum.
On Friday night, it was the Class of 2020 for Virginia High School with the photo finish.
The seniors held their graduation ceremony at Bristol Motor Speedway, staying in their cars and social distancing.
When senior Gavin Austin was asked if he ever though his senior graduation would take place at the historic track?
"Absolutely not," says Austin. "Absolutely not."
In total, 170 seniors got the chance to celebrate the special occasion.
"It'll be the first class to ever graduate at Bristol Motor Speedway," says Bristol, Va. Schools Superintendent Keith Perrigan. "It'll be the first class to ever graduate at Virginia High on the Tennessee side of town. There's a lot of history being made."
"We say all the time the Speedway belongs to the community. We truly view it that way," says Jerry Caldwell, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. "We're going through a hard time right now, a challenging time right now, especially for seniors in high school. We thought it was the perfect opportunity to give them something that'll be a great memory."
Virginia High graduates admit its an unusual way to go out.
But they're a resilient group.
"Seniors missed out on a lot of things that were planned," says senior Peyton Rader.
"I'm definitely glad and grateful that we're getting to do this," says Austin.
Seniors collected their diplomas and got to follow the pace car for a lap on The World's Fastest Half Mile.
Then, the celebrating began as the Class of 2020 threw their caps in the air.
As the night came to an end, there's one final command to be given.
Graduates. Start your journey.