Do you dream of meeting your favorite NHRA drivers and getting their autographs? Think it’s impossible? Not when every ticket is a pit pass to the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals Thursday-Sunday at zMAX Dragway.

When fans purchase a ticket to round two of the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship they will have the opportunity to see the biggest names of the sport up close, including Larry Dixon, John Force, Cory McClenathan and Tony Schumacher, among others.

“The cool thing about the NHRA and our sport is that when you buy a ticket it gets you right into the pits,” said Dixon, two-time NHRA Top Fuel Champion in a recent interview with News 14 Carolina. “It’s not like NASCAR or Indy Car where you can’t get on pit road or you’ve got to know somebody to get into the pits.

“You can just walk right up and meet John Force, get his autograph and buy his merchandise right by his trailer. The interaction that you have with the drivers and the crews, getting to watch them tear the cars down in between rounds, that’s the one thing I have always liked about our sport. You can’t go to a Carolina Panthers game and go in the locker room, but you can come in ours!”

This unrivaled access allows fans to shake hands, obtain autographs and even have a face-to-face conversation with NHRA’s biggest stars. It also gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to set up and tear down a race car.

“At zMAX Dragway alone I’ve gotten to meet and talk to John Force, Robert Hight, Steve Johnson, Matt Smith and Melanie Troxel, along with many others,” said NHRA fan Sherry Santana. “All the drivers are so friendly and I admit, I’m addicted to NHRA [drag racing] and I’m looking forward to seeing them all again in Charlotte this week.”

The Bellagio of drag strips is located in the heart of NASCAR country and gives stock car fans the opportunity to experience the driver access that NHRA fans have come to know and love.

“I think it’s important for fans to see both sides,” said McClenathan, defending O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals winner. “It shows the stock car community there is another source of racing that’s fun for the whole family. Buying a ticket also gets you into the pits and gives fans the opportunity to see the full realm of the sport, from the guys working on the car, to drivers signing autographs, you can experience a lot more at a drag race.


“I think the NHRA, Full Throttle and zMAX have done a great job of portraying our sport as different. We get a lot of people that come into the pits and say they’ve never been there before and that they can’t wait to come back and watch us again. They want to come back every single year.”

Not only can fans get autographs, but many have the opportunity to talk with their favorite drivers and learn more about the sport of drag racing.

“I met Top Fuel driver Antron Brown and he is the coolest,” said drag racing fan Chris Wood. “He was mixing his fuel and described to me how he was doing it. It was very cool. All the drivers are so friendly and take time for us, the fans. I just love it!”

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to zMAX Dragway this week for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, the second race of the six-race Countdown to the Championship. The four-day drag racing event held Thursday-Sunday is sure to play a pivotal role in deciding the world championships in NHRA’s top four professional classes.

General admission four-pack tickets are available for only $14.75 per person on Friday and $29.75 for Saturday or Sunday. For more information or to purchase tickets to the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, visit or call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267).

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