The ultimate mix of family-friendly entertainment and full-throttle excitement awaits race fans attending the Oct. 6-8 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR’s homecoming showcase marks the return of “Daylight Racing Time” to Charlotte Motor Speedway, with the first daytime-scheduled Bank of America 500 since 2002 promising to deliver high-octane, go-for-broke racing among 12 drivers eligible to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
As a lead-up to the limitless litany of events surrounding the Bank of America 500, here’s a list of 10 things no fan should miss:
- BRAD PAISLEY CONCERT: Every Bank of America 500 ticketholder will be granted admission to the Saturday, Oct. 7 Brad Paisley concert presented by Wrangler and Nationwide at zMAX Dragway. The rocking concert salutes Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Junior Nation Appreci88ion Tour and features Tim Dugger as the opener. The exhilarating fun begins at 7 p.m., but it’s sure to last for quite a while.
- TRACKSIDE LIVE: The expansive Trackside Live entertainment stage – which debuted at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May – returns from 8:30-9 p.m. Oct. 7 at zMAX Dragway and from 10:45-11:45 a.m. Oct. 8 at the end of the speedway’s pit road. A rotating cast of drivers and NASCAR personalities are slated to appear, including Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney.
- PLAY ZONE: Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Play Zone offers a cavalcade of new fun for fans of all ages. Open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday of race weekend, the Play Zone – located outside Turn 1 near the Fan Zone – features a rock-climbing wall, human foosball, micro-reality racing and inflatable archery among many other attractions.
- PIT PARTY: There’s no party like a Pit Party. Featuring appearances from luminaries including Richard Petty and live music from Tucker Beathard, the Pit Party presented by Advil Liqui-Gels Minis promises to offer plenty of race-day thrills. The Pit Party runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday and includes Twister, cornhole and ladder golf. The Pit Party is open to fans with a pit pass or driver introduction pass.
- SPEEDWAY COLLEGE PARTY: The new Speedway College Party ticket program allows college students to rev up for race day with an unmatched array of entertainment value – and “tuition” requires just $29 and a valid student ID. Students looking to enjoy the ultimate tailgate experience can do so from the best viewing area – the race track – with general admission to the new Turn 4 Sun Deck, an open-air terrace with an up-close view of the race that will feature a DJ, lawn games and a bar for those aged 21 and older. Speedway College Party tickets are also good for access to the Brad Paisley concert.
- TURN 4 SUN DECK: One of the “hottest” additions in recent speedway history, the Turn 4 Sun Deck provides fans with a chance to catch the Bank of America 500 from a unique and new view. The Turn 4 Sun Deck, open on Saturday and Sunday, includes a DJ, simulators, food trucks, cabanas and games.
- TAKE A TOUR: Before fans watch their favorite drivers and teams tackle the Bank of America 500 in pursuit of the Bruton Smith Trophy, tours of area race shops are available to help gear up for the green flag. The Trackside Tram Tour provides an in-depth look around the speedway, while the Race Shop Tour gives fans a glimpse into the inner workings of race teams including Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing. Tickets are available at the speedway’s ticket office.
- BETTER HALVES AND BATTLING MODS: NASCAR personalities’ wives and girlfriends will throw out the dresses, don firesuits and helmets and duel in Bandoleros during the Better Half Dash on Bojangles’ Pole Night. Drivers including Paige Keselowski, the wife of 2013 Bank of America 500 winner Brad Keselowski, will take part in the bumper-banging battle on the frontstretch quarter-mile to decide which better half is the fastest. Also on the schedule for Bojangles’ Pole Night is a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race on the frontstretch quarter-mile. The ground-pounding, Friday-night fight under the lights promises to provide plenty of wheel-to-wheel racing action among some of NASCAR’s powerful machines.
- FUN FOODS: Fun foods are among the most popular traditions during race week at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and this year’s new creation – the Butcher-Baker Burger, a bacon cheeseburger between a doughnut – will give fans the ultimate in sweet-and-salty delights. Other favorites like Deep-Fried Spaghetti on a Stick will also return to the menu.
- AUTOGRAPH SESSIONS: Kids who are hoping to meet some of NASCAR’s brightest stars will get their chance on race day. Kasey Kahne, Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will sign autographs for kids 13 and younger from 10-10:30 a.m. at the Play Zone. Autograph session attendees must have a wristband to participate in the autograph session. Wristbands will be distributed beginning at 9 a.m. on Sunday at the Play Zone. Additionally, a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour autograph session takes place on Friday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on the concourse at Gate 5A. A Bojangles’ Pole Night ticket is required for a Modified autograph.
As a salute to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final Charlotte race as a full-time driver, adult tickets to the Bank of America 500 are available as a two-pack for $88 through Sunday and include a Dale Jr. bobblehead while supplies last. All adult tickets are good for admission to the Oct. 7 Brad Paisley concert presented by Wrangler and Nationwide at zMAX Dragway. For tickets, camping packages and upgrades, fans can call the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
CMS PR (CMS photo)