In preparation for the 10-Day Blockbuster of Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway May 16-25, speedway officials want to make sure race fans and area residents are equipped to handle increased race day traffic by providing safe and efficient travel routes and information.

With help from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP), Charlotte Motor Speedway is working to ease travel for fans heading to and from the races. The heaviest traffic is expected on I-85, U.S. 29, N.C. 49 and Bruton Smith Boulevard.

Here are tips from Charlotte Motor Speedway and NCDOT:

Best Routes

For motorists traveling from South Carolina:

Take I-77 North to the I-485 outer loop (Exit 1B) to U.S. 29 North (Exit 32) or N.C. 49 North (Exit 33).

For motorists traveling from west of Charlotte:

Take I-85 North to Mallard Creek Church Road (Exit 46), turn right and follow to U.S. 29 North. Fans can also take I-485 (Exit 48) to U.S. 29 North (Exit 32) or N.C. 49 (Exit 33). Through traffic should remain in the left two lanes of I-85 North to avoid delays near Exit 49.

For motorists traveling from east of Charlotte:

Take the I-485 Outer Loop to U.S. 29 North (Exit 32) or N.C. 49 North (Exit 33).

For motorists traveling from north of Charlotte:

Take I-85 South to U.S. 29/601 (Exit 58) or Poplar Tent Road (Exit 52) to Pitts School Road to U.S. 29 South.

Officials recommend motorists take the I-485 outer loop to N.C. 49 North, which is usually less congested than other suggested routes.

Commuters that use I-85 can expect delays on Friday afternoon, May 16 as well as Thursday, May 22, and should adjust driving time or use an alternate route. Additionally, on Saturday, May 17 and again on Sunday, May 25, officials will limit access from I-85 to Exit 49 at approximately 10 p.m.

Best Travel Times on Race Days

- It is best to arrive at Charlotte Motor Speedway before 5 p.m. for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 on Friday, May 16 and LiftMaster Pole Day on Thursday, May 22, to avoid commuter traffic.
- The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 17 and Coca-Cola 600 on May 25 are both evening races, but fans are encouraged to arrive early to avoid congestion. Parking lots open at 7 a.m. and there is plenty of pre-race entertainment for fans to enjoy leading up to the green flag at both events.

Post-Race Traffic Patterns for NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600

NCDOT will utilize counter flow patterns after the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 17 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 25.

- Traffic exiting from Entrance P onto Morehead Road will counter flow with three eastbound lanes being utilized until Highway 49 in Harrisburg, N.C.
- Those exiting from Entrance O onto Morehead Road will counter flow four lanes westbound out until Highway 29. All lanes will be directed to turn left towards Charlotte.
- Bruton Smith Boulevard will counter flow using three lanes from Entrance Y until Interstate 85.
- Highway 29 will counter flow using three lanes until Pitt School Road in Concord.
- West Morehead Road/Mallard Creek Church Road will counter flow until Salem Church Road.

Post-Race Traffic Patterns for N.C. Education Lottery 200 and HISTORY 300

NCDOT will only utilize the counter flow patterns for the N.C. Education Lottery 200 on May 16 and the HISTORY 300 on May 24 if needed. Traffic leaving Concord Mills mall around 5 p.m. may not be able to connect to hotels, restaurants and businesses to the east of the Interstate 85 bridge.

NCDOT will utilize overhead message signs and portable message signs to alert motorists of problem areas and suggested alternate routes around incidents and congestion. The department advises motorists to check for real time traffic information by calling 511 or by signing up for updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@NCDOT_Charlotte or @NCDOT.

Traffic maps are posted on Charlotte Motor Speedway's website at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/fans/maps/.

Tickets are still available for all May race events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). With a weekend pass, fans can catch all of the action of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Weekend, including the N.C. Education Lottery 200, Sprint Showdown, NASCAR Sprint All-Star qualifying and the $1 million-to-win NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, all starting at just $99. The Coca-Cola 600 weekend pass, which includes frontstretch tickets to LiftMaster Pole Day, the HISTORY 300 and the 55th running of the Coca-Cola 600, also starts at just $99.

Keep up with all the latest news from the speedway by liking Charlotte Motor Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway or following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cltmotorspdwy.