The nitro-fueled thrill of NHRA drag racing returns to the Bellagio of drag strips Oct. 11-13 with a cornucopia for fun for fans of all ages.
The third of six races in the Countdown to the Championship, the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals will see the top 10 competitors in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle make a push to a coveted title. But the on-track fun is only part of what’s in store for fans next weekend.
As a lead-up to the excitement surrounding the event, here’s a list of attractions that set this race weekend apart from all others at America’s Home for Racing:
- FRIDAY NIGHT FIRE: Back by popular demand, zMAX Dragway will host a Friday Night of Fire to kick off the weekend fun. Fans will see 10-foot header flames lighting up the night sky in the first two qualifying passes for Brittany Force, Antron Brown, Ron Capps, John Force and all the stars of Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle categories. Don’t miss an elaborate, pre-race show featuring pyrotechnics, music and more.
- STAND UP AND BE SEEN:Also on Friday night, Nitro Mike’s famed “PT Bruiser” will show fans why it’s been dubbed “the world’s wildest wheelstander” and a “terror of two wheels” with an exhibition run that’s sure to leave fans breathless. The heavily modified PT Cruiser holds the Guinness World Record for the longest wheelstand and promises to put of an unforgettable show for fans.
- DRAG WEEK EXHIBITIONS: Adding to an already jam-packed schedule of world class racing, race fans will see eight of the top performers from Hot Rod Drag Week’s Street Car Small Block Power Adder category compete head-to-head in a battle for supremacy. Each driver will make two runs on Friday and two on Saturday. The driver with an average elapsed time (ET) closest to 8.50 seconds will be declared the winner, receiving a trophy during pre-race ceremonies on Sunday.
- RIDE OF LIFETIME: At zMAX Dragway, fans are more than just spectators. Throughout the three-day event, thrill seekers can participate in tire-squealing, smoke-billowing activities of their own, as an extraordinary East10Drift exhibition offering spectacular drift shows and hair-raising ride-alongs takes over zMAX Dragway for what’s expected to be one of the most memorable race weekends in the history of the world-class venue.
- MUSIC AND MOTORS: Extending the festive atmosphere that surrounds the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals into the fan zone, fans will be treated to free live music both Friday and Saturday nights. Nashville recording artist, singer and songwriter Jamie Saylor will take the stage on Friday for a full 60-minute set in the midway. Saylor will entertain fans with a mix of rock and country beginning at 7:45 p.m. The following day, Alabama native and diehard race fan Tim Dugger will bring his ‘90s style country sound to the midway stage at 5:30 p.m. before heading over to the dragway pavilion to headline the camper appreciation party with an acoustic set at 7 p.m.
- SUNDAY STROLL: Fans with a Sunday ticket will have a rare chance to join drivers and drag racing personalities for the Mello Yello Track Walk on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Just minutes before drivers take to the lanes for the opening round of eliminations, fans can walk the Bellagio of drag strip where history will be made, then be front and center for opening ceremonies on the start line just before the first pair fire their engines for eliminations.
- LIFE’S THE PITS: Nitro Alley is every fan’s one-stop shop for all things entertainment. Grab the latest souvenirs, meander through dozens of interactive vendor displays or tour the sprawling, 27-acre pit area and get up close and personal with hundreds of high-powered race cars; keep a camera handy and be ready to grab a picture or an autograph from the superstars of the sport; it’s the place to be and it’s FREE with every NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals ticket.
- ELIMINATION DAY: A weekend of action and excitement culminates Sunday with eliminations, schedule to begin at noon. With just four races remaining to decide the series championships in all four professional categories, the competition is stuff, and the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals could certainly make or break the season for many of the sport’s top drivers. In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta holds just a two point advantage over reigning Top Fuel champion and last year’s Carolina Nationals winner, Steve Torrence. In the Funny Car category, Robert Hight, a five-time winner at the Bellagio of drag strips, leads his teammate, 16-time Funny Car champion and drag racing legend, John Force, by just 13 points.
TICKETS: To purchase NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals tickets, fans can call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. Weekend packages start at just $99.Kids 13 and under get in FREE.