Defending NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin and his Cagnazzi Racing teammate, Dave Connolly, used their race cars Wednesday morning to officially open zMAX Dragway @ Concord.

Following a series of remarks and accompanied by pyrotechnics, Coughlin and Connolly officially opened the Bellagio of drag strips by performing dual burnouts through a symbolic ribbon.

"Not only is this an important moment in the history of Speedway Motorsports, it is also an important moment in the history of NHRA drag racing," said Bruton Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. "This is a magnificent facility that will set the standard for the future of drag racing."

In addition to Smith, Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway; Tom Compton, president of the National Hot Rod Association; and Scott Padgett, mayor of Concord, N.C., addressed the gathering of local dignitaries and media members prior to the ribbon cutting.

Construction of zMAX Dragway @ Concord required 636,000 man hours over a six-month period. An average of 300 workers were on site per day with each man or woman averaging an 11.78-hour workday. A total of 1,876 workers were involved in the project, representing 57 companies that included contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.

The state-of-the art drag racing facility features the only all-concrete, four-lane drag strip in the United States. A pair of two-lane strips, located side-by-side, allow for a variety of opportunities including specific track preparation for different vehicles, racing four cars at a time, and the possibility for racing to continue in the event of an oil-down that requires extensive cleanup to one of the lanes.

zMAX Dragway @ Concord will host a gala open house Saturday to celebrate the completion of the nation's newest race track. The event is free to the public and will include a variety of games and activities along with tours of the 125-acre facility.

Three-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson, of Concord, N.C., and nine-time NHRA Top Fuel winner Doug Herbert, of Lincolnton, N.C., will be on hand to greet fans and sign autographs. Several drag racing show cars will also be on display and the first 200 guests to register will be able to speed down the quarter-mile strip during street-legal drag races.

The dragway will debut 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 start at $99 for adults and $20 for children ages 12 and under. Individual day tickets are also available for both adults and children.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.