Race fans attending the inaugural NHRA Nationals, Sept. 11-14 at zMAX Dragway @ Concord, are in for a treat as every race ticket is also a pit pass.

Not only will fans of all ages enjoy the thrilling, side-by-side action on the four-lane, all-concrete quarter-mile, they will also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the sport's biggest stars.

Fans can roam the pit area, get autographs, talk with drivers and crew members or simply observe how a team tears down and rebuilds a 7,000-horsepower engine during the allotted 75 minutes between elimination rounds.

"At no other sporting event does an admission ticket allow this type of access," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It's like being able to watch your favorite stars perform, then follow them to the bench and observe as they prepare for the next play.

"With this type of accessibility and adult tickets starting at just $42 for Saturday or Sunday, our inaugural NHRA event at zMAX Dragway is a race fan's dream come true."

The unprecedented access to the pit area and drivers is a trademark of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and is one of the reasons the sport continues to grow in popularity.

"People just love being able to walk in and ask what it feels like to race," said five-time and defending NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher. "Everyone, especially new fans, the ones that have never been to an NHRA event before, each of them come up to tell me that the fan accessibility is awesome.

"I have tons of letters and e-mails from people saying, 'That was my first race and after the event we saw you standing in your hospitality area signing autographs and you invited us in.' It makes you go, 'Wow these people really love this stuff,'" Schumacher added.

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 One, 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 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.