NASCAR's Richard Petty, Michael Waltrip and Aric Almirola, NHRA's Greg Anderson Help Kick Off Charlotte Motor Speedway Fall Season of Speed
As Charlotte Motor Speedway gears up for an action-packed fall season with national events at all three of its premier motorsports facilities, some of the biggest names in NASCAR and the NHRA helped the speedway wave the green flag during the sixth annual Parade of Power on Wednesday.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winner and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip were joined by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the No. 43 Smithfield Ford, Aric Almirola, NHRA Pro Stock driver for Summit Racing, Greg Anderson, and hundreds of fans for the free event.
During a fan Q&A, seven-time Sprint Cup Series champion Petty was asked about his best memory of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"We've had a bunch of ups and a bunch of downs," Petty said. "We ran here in the very first race when the track fell apart. That was a miss. To come here today and see what it is today, it's just phenomenal. I could probably tell you more about the times we lost than the times we won."
Waltrip noted one of the special things about Charlotte is that because of the track's proximity to so many of the race teams, many crew members who don't travel with the team week-to-week get to come out to the track and watch all of their hard work in action.
"Winning here in 2012 with Clint (at the Bank of America 500) and our whole team, it was a great feeling because the men and women who work so hard on the cars back at the shop were here at the track, so that was rewarding," Waltrip said.
Almirola, who earned a spot in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup earlier this summer with a win in Daytona, said he's looking forward to getting to the Chase and making a statement with his Richard Petty Motorsports' team.
"I think Charlotte, from an aerial view, it looks a lot like Atlanta and Texas, but it drives nothing like those tracks," Alimirola said. "Over the last few years, you've seen the pavement wear out and you see cars start moving up. For a driver, that's fun - especially when the lights come on.
When the lights come on there's a lot more grip and a lot more moving around. I'm excited about the Bank of America 500 and I like our chances."
Anderson, who is battling for a spot in the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship said he looks forward to running at zMAX Dragway next month at the NHRA Carolina Nationals, Sept. 12-14.
"I'm trying to build some momentum and race my way into the Countdown," he said. "I need two more great races before I get here to Charlotte. If I can make my way in, I am going to be a player in that Countdown."
As part of the free fan event, more than two dozen stock cars, dragsters, monster trucks, pace cars and more representing every form of motorsports that will be showcased this fall at Charlotte Motor Speedway, zMAX Dragway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte paraded down Bruton Smith Boulevard from Concord Mills mall to the speedway's Avenue of Flags.
The complete fall Season of Speed schedule follows. All events take place at the 1.5-mile superspeedway, unless otherwise noted:
Aug. 9: Circle K Back-to-School Monster Truck Bash, The Dirt Track
Sept. 11: Laps for Life Blood Drive
Sept. 12-14: NHRA Carolina Nationals, zMAX Dragway
Sept. 18-21: Charlotte AutoFair
Oct. 9: Bojangles Pole Night, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Southern Slam 150, NASCAR Whelen Modified Series
Oct. 10: 300 Miles of Courage, NASCAR Nationwide Series
Oct. 11: Bank of America 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Oct. 24-26: Goodguys Southeastern Nationals
Nov. 6-8: World Finals, World of Outlaws, The Dirt Track
Nov. 21-Dec. 30: Speedway Christmas
Nov. 28: Souvenir & Race Ticket Blowout
For more information on any of the fall Season of Speed events, including ticket pricing, camping availability or other details, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. For the latest updates, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.