According to the School Bus Information Council, school buses are the largest mass transit program in the United States with some 440,000 yellow buses transporting more than 24 million children to and from schools and related activities on every school day.

However, with school out for the summer, the finish line will be the destination when school bus racing returns to Lowe¿s Motor Speedway Tuesday during opening night of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout.

Tipping the scales at nearly 13 tons each, the behemoth school buses will battle window-to-window and bumper-to-bumper, often entering the turns three abreast, on the tight frontstretch quarter-mile oval. The buses will be driven by an array of local media personalities and motorsports celebrities.

The Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Series features three classes of Bandolero racing, three divisions of Legends Cars and the popular Thunder Roadsters. More than 200 race cars are expected to jam the pit area each Tuesday night through Aug. 17.

Michael Van Wingerden of Huntersville, N.C., is expected to defend his championship in the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division while Ryan Zeck of Harrisburg, N.C., will be looking to repeat in the Quaker Steak & Lube Thunder Roadsters.

Admission is just $5 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 with kids under 6 free. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free. Contact the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS for information or to purchase tickets.

Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:25 p.m. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and will conclude by 10:15.