It's been nearly one year since media members were given an intimate tour of a nearly completed zMAX Dragway. On that day, they learned first hand what many fans and competitors would learn later, that Speedway Motorsports Chairman Bruton Smith had been true to his word and delivered the Bellagio of drag strips.

Since the Speedway Motorsports development team put the finishing touches on the one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art, four-lane drag strip, the stock car capital of the world has been introduced to one big straight-line success after another.

"Bruton Smith gave NHRA fans an arena like this, which is the greatest facility in the history of our sport," said 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force.

Perhaps the late David Poole, noted motorsports writer for the Charlotte Observer, may have put it best last September during the week of the first NHRA Nationals, "zMAX Dragway is by far the best facility that now exists."

 

Ground Breaking - Feb. 5, 2008

The ground breaking for construction of zMAX Dragway took place on Feb. 5, 2008. Bruton Smith, founder and chief executive officer of Charlotte Motor Speedway, and several local politicians were the first to break dirt before an excavator took over.

The Construction Process

A total of 1,876 workers were involved in the construction of zMAX Dragway, representing 57 companies that included contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. Together they work 636,000 combined man hours, averaging 300 workers on site daily with each man or woman averaging an 11.78-hour workday. Through this tremendous effort the 13-month construction project was completed in only six.

First Race - May 24, 2008

On Saturday, May 24, 2008, the day before the Coca-Cola 600, several NHRA drivers visited the Dragway's construction site. To no one's surprise, a race broke out and when the dust settled Funny Car driver Mike Neff edged out a victory over teammate and 14-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force in the first unofficial race at zMAX Dragway.

Ribbon Cutting - Aug. 20, 2008

NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock drivers Jeg Coughlin and
his Cagnazzi Racing teammate, Dave Connolly, used their race cars to
officially open zMAX Dragway @ Concord with a unique ribbon-cutting
ceremony on Aug. 20, 2008.

Open House - Aug. 23, 2008

The completed zMAX Dragway was unveiled to the public and members of the media on August 23 during an open house event. Three-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson, of Concord, and nine-time NHRA Top Fuel winner Doug Herbert, of Lincolnton, greeted fans and signed autographs. Fans were also given the opportunity to drive down the concrete quarter-mile before they parked.

NHRA Nationals - Sept. 11 - 14, 2008

zMAX Dragway's first major event was held September 11-14 with the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series breaking in the immaculate facility. The inaugural NHRA Nationals was not only a huge success for zMAX Dragway, setting a three-day NHRA event attendance record, but was also a historic weekend on the track as well. Tony Schumacher recorded his 53rd career victory to pass Joe Amato as the NHRA's all-time Top Fuel wins leader. The other national category winners were Jack Beckman in Funny Car, Justin Humphreys in Pro Stock and Steve Johnson in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

NASCAR Night - Oct. 1, 200

On October 1, zMAX Dragway held its inaugural NASCAR Night. NASCAR drivers, owners and crew members raced personal cars down the concrete quarter-mile. Among those competing were drivers Greg Biffle (pictured here), Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, team owner Rick Hendrick and Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Street Racing Challenge - March 24, 2009

In March, local law enforcement officials gathered at zMAX Dragway to help dragway officials announce a new program designed to take street racing off the streets and into a safe, legal and controlled environment. The Street Racing Challenge has been held a number of times throughout the year, giving participants a chance to enter their street-legal hot rods in head-to-head match racing on the world's greatest drag strip.

Four Wide at PINKS All Out - April 25, 2009

zMAX Dragway made history once again on April 25 by hosting the first-ever nationally televised four-wide drag race as part of the popular television show PINKS All Out. The atmosphere was electric as the capacity crowd, sensing history, were brought to their feet to witness the first competitive four-wide drag racing in over 30 years. The PINKS All Out from zMAX Dragway will air Thursday, August 6 only on SPEED.

Super Chevy Show - June 26 - 28, 2009

With the visit of the Super Chevy Show in June, zMAX Dragway presented fans and auto enthusiast exciting racing action and the nation's finest performance & restoration midways. Racing events included the Nitro Coupe Challenge, the TREMEC True Street Challenge, the Bracket One Brawl, JEGS Bracket 2 Battle and the DOT Street Fight. The three-day event also saw daring performances by some of the country's fastest Jet Car drivers during the Danchuk Jet Wars.

Tickets for all events at zMAX Dragway, including the second annual NHRA Nationals, Sept. 17-20, are on sale now and can be obtained online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS. Convenient payment plan options and affordable multi-day ticket packages are available.