Smith's Plans for the New Dragway!
Building on Charlotte Motor Speedway's status as the premier destination for motorsports entertainment, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE:TRK) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer O. Bruton Smith has unveiled plans for a state-of-the-art drag racing facility.
The quarter-mile drag strip will join Charlotte Motor Speedway's legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway and four-tenths-mile dirt track in presenting America's most popular auto racing series to fans from around the world.
The facility will open Sept. 11-14 with the inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals, round 19 of the 24-race NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
The strip is currently being called The Dragway @ Charlotte Motor Speedway, but Smith is asking fans to name the facility by participating in a contest online. The individual submitting the name chosen for the facility will receive a VIP experience during the inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals.
"I love to build things and this is an exciting project because we are going to build the crown jewel of drag strips," Smith said following the unveiling, which was part of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Drag racing is the perfect compliment to the wide variety of motorsports entertainment already on the schedule here at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"We are constantly looking for ways to grow our business and the success of NHRA racing at our other tracks told us that adding a drag strip here was a tremendous opportunity," Smith added. "Plus, there is just something special about a race car with 7,000 horsepower."
The dragway will be located on 125 acres of LMS property across U.S. Highway 29 from the superspeedway, adjacent to The Dirt Track. The drag racing facility's track, pit areas and midway will cover 46.5 acres, or two million square feet. Engineers estimate construction will require moving 750,000 cubic yards of dirt; placing 65,000 tons of aggregate stone base and paving 50,000 tons of asphalt.
The most prominent feature of the dragway will be a 34,000-square-foot starting-line tower that will include 16 luxury suites and an additional 4,000 square-feet of roof access for guests. The tower will also include a control area for race officials, a broadcast booth for ESPN's announcers and a press box for media members.
Initial plans call for two steel-and-aluminum grandstand structures, one on each side of the quarter-mile drag strip, with a seating capacity of 30,000 and room for expansion to 60,000. The primary grandstand will be on the drivers' left, adjacent to the Manufacturer's Midway and Pro Pits. It will feature premium flip-down seating as well as 20-inch-wide bench seats with backs. Two tunnels will connect the grandstands underneath the strip to enhance fan mobility. Twenty-four luxury suites with hospitality accommodations will be located above the main grandstand.
With the addition of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event, Charlotte Motor Speedway will host six of the nation's premier auto racing series during the 2008 season. Also on the schedule are three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, two NASCAR Nationwide Series events, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, three World of Outlaws Late Model Series events and a pair of Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series races.
The Dragway @ Charlotte Motor Speedway is the fourth NHRA-sanctioned drag strip owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. The company also hosts NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn.; The Strip @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev.; and Infineon Dragway in Sonoma, Calif.
Tickets for the inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals on Sept. 11-14 are now available and can be purchased online or by calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.
About Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
Speedway Motorsports, Inc. is a leading promoter, marketer and sponsor of motorsports activities in the United States. The company owns and operates Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. The company also provides souvenir merchandising services through its SMI Properties subsidiary; provides radio programming, production and distribution through its Performance Racing Network subsidiary; develops electronic and media promotional programming and distributes wholesale and retail racing apparel through The Source International subsidiary; and manufactures and distributes smaller-scale, modified racing cars and parts through its 600 Racing subsidiary. It also co-owns Motorsports Authentics, a joint venture with International Speedway Corporation formed in August, 2005 to produce, market and sell licensed motorsports merchandise.