There has never been a more fitting way to christen the "Bellagio of Dragstrips," zMAX Dragway @ Concord, than by naming the main grandstand after the NHRA's most prolific and recognizable driver, John Force.

zMAX Dragway's west grandstand, which sits to the left of the driver at the starting line of the state-of-the-art facility, will be named John Force Grandstand in honor of the 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion.

"They call John 'Elvis on Asphalt,' for a reason," said O. Bruton Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. "Not only is he the greatest drag racer that's ever strapped in to a Funny Car, he's also the most entertaining, and he's a great ambassador for the straight-line sport. It only seemed natural that our first grandstand at zMAX Dragway be named for drag racing's most legendary figure."

Force has dominated the NHRA Powerade Series for the past 32 years, setting series' records with 125 national event wins, 1,000 round victories and 14 series championships. As the most decorated driver in NHRA history, Force was a logical choice to be immortalized at the nation's newest drag racing facility, zMAX Dragway @ Concord, which will host the NHRA Nationals September 11-14.

"I take it as a real honor that Bruton Smith would recognize me in that way at one of their great facilities," Force said. "When I go to stadiums around the country, I see grandstands with the names of Darrell Waltrip, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Those were my heroes in NASCAR, and the fact that in drag racing, I would be honored in the same way means a lot to me, especially at this point in my career.

"But just because my name's going on the stands doesn't mean I'm getting out of the seat," Force continued. "I plan to be out here a long time. Besides, if I retired, what would I do? This is what I love, driving my ol' hot rod and being out here with my team. I'm just looking forward to racing at the new track this fall."

Force will attend the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, where his John Force Racing, Old Spice Nitro Funny Car will perform a burnout demonstration during the pre-race festivities.

Located on 125 acres of Charlotte Motor Speedway property adjacent to The Dirt Track, zMAX Dragway @ Concord will feature a 34,000 square-foot starting-line tower with luxury suites and an additional 4,000 square feet of roof access for guests; two pedestrian tunnels under the strip; and a grandstand seating capacity of 30,000.

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