Less than 50 days days remain until the inaugural event at zMAX Dragway @ Concord, the Sept. 11-14 NHRA Nationals, and construction on the "Bellagio of drag strips" is speeding toward completion.

The only four-lane drag strip on the NHRA circuit is gaining color as well, with the familiar red and blue of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., dressing up many of the facility's structures.

The John Force Grandstand, the main grandstand to the driver's left, is nearing completion with all of the 4,350 stadium seats installed and the backs of the 20-inch wide bench seats scheduled to be in place by the end of next week.

Grading for the new entrance to zMAX Dragway, located off Bruton Smith Boulevard, is underway with paving scheduled to begin in August.

As for the strip itself, the 3,000 cubic yards of concrete that makes up the quarter-mile racing surface has been poured after 4,000 hours of work by a 50-man crew from Baker Concrete.

Construction crews began paving the 2,515-foot shut-down area Friday. The "binder" or base layer, the first of three layers, for the two right lanes was paved on Monday with the binder layer for the two left lanes scheduled to be completed on Thursday. Barring inclement weather, the shut-down area is scheduled to be complete by July 29.

zMAX Dragway @ Concord will open in grand fashion by hosting the NHRA Nationals Sept. 11-14. The four-day event will be the first of six races in the playoff-style NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship, featuring competitors in all four professional categories: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Four-day tickets for the inaugural NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway @ Concord start at $99 for adults and $20 for children ages 12 and under.

Each event ticket is also a pit pass, which allows fans access to the professional and sportsman pit areas. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.