Construction crews poured concrete long into the night Wednesday, as the four-lane, quarter-mile drag strip at zMAX Dragway @ Concord is rapidly taking shape. When the concrete trucks went home Thursday morning, 700 feet of both right-side lanes, including the burnout boxes, were complete.

NHRA Top Fuel drag racer and North Carolina resident Doug Herbert visited Wednesday evening to check on the progress as crews worked to complete zMAX Dragway for the inaugural NHRA Nationals on Sept. 11-14. Like the drag racers before him that have toured the site, Herbert was impressed with the "Bellagio of drag strips."

"We're going to have the greatest drag strip in the world right here in Charlotte," said Herbert, a nine-time winner in NHRA's Top Fuel division.

"I'm hoping a lot of spectators and fans from the NASCAR races are going to come see what this is all about, watch these cars go zero to 330 mph in 4.5 seconds and make 8,000 horsepower-it's exciting."

Pouring began Monday evening on the strip which will be the only four-lane concrete quarter-mile track on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series circuit.

Most drag strips have concrete for the first 660 feet or less, but the transition from concrete to asphalt often upsets the traction of the rear wheels, making the car unstable for drivers as they barrel toward speeds in excess of 300 mph down the 1,320-foot track.

"The main thing is that the car's going to go down there and not have the transition from a concrete to an asphalt surface," Herbert explained. "It's going to make it a lot better show for the fans and it's a whole lot easier for the cars to run down the track and go fast without having to make that transition."

Pouring of the concrete racing surface is scheduled to continue through July 3. Due to the summer heat, all pouring takes place late in the evening and through the night.

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 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.