Radical school bus racing and CRASHCars, a new entry level division that features character-themed race cars, are among the highlights of the 12th annual Hardee's Summer Shootout which kicks off June 14 and runs 10 consecutive Tuesday nights through Aug. 16 on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

In addition to the special attractions, each night of the Hardee's Summer Shootout features a full slate of Legends Car, Duragloss Thunder Roadster and Bandolero racing. Tickets are still just $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6 to 12 while those under 6 are admitted free.

CRASHCars will be in action seven times during the 10-week series while a trio of school bus races is also on the schedule. A giant fireworks extravaganza on Tuesday night, June 28, will kick off the area's Independence Day celebration.

"The concept behind the CRASHCar division is based on a 12-year-old boy," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "I was sitting next to a 12-year-old boy at a race and after the first few laps I realized he had no one to pull for and suddenly became bored.

"The idea came from my friend John Lasseter with Pixar. He's the man behind such movies as 'Finding Nemo' and 'The Incredibles.' He says that if you don't establish a villain within the first two minutes of a movie, you have lost the child's attention. There needs to be a good and a bad.

"So, I have taken that concept from the movies and applied it to cars," Wheeler continued. "This concept has been very successful in Monster Trucks, so I said, 'let's do the same for cars-use big cars because people like big things.' Now that we have created characters and put them on cars, kids instantly have someone to cheer for."

More than 200 race cars are expected to jam the pit area each Tuesday night during the Hardee's Summer Shootout as drivers from across the Southeast participate in Legends Car, Thunder Roadster and Bandolero competition.

Legends Car racing is divided into three categories based on a driver's experience. The Centex Homes Pro division features veteran drivers while the Cabarrus Family Medicine Semi-Pro category is for those new to Legends Car competition. The Verizon Wireless Masters division is for drivers 40 years of age and older.

The Bandoleros are also divided into three divisions with competitors grouped by age. The Lucas Oil Bandits is for racers ages 8 to 11 with the Young Guns featuring drivers ages 12 to 15. The Outlaws division is for drivers 16 years of age and older.

Rules and entry information for the CRASHCar division can be obtained by calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205.

Tickets for the Hardee's Summer Shootout are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:25 p.m. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and concludes by 10:30 p.m.

Contact the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS for information or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

June 21:
Amoco Ultimate presents CRASHCars - plus a full racing card featuring Legends Cars, Bandolero Cars and Thunder Roadsters.

June 28:
Amoco Ultimate presents a FIREWORKS Extravaganza plus CRASHCars (fans racing their own cars in one-lap grudge races)?plus a full racing card featuring Legends Cars, Bandolero Cars and Thunder Roadsters. Double Points, Double Trouble! First night of the Red, White & Blue Series!

July 5:
CRASHCars - plus a full racing card featuring Legends Cars, Bandolero Cars, and Thunder Roadsters.

July 12:
Thomas Built Buses presents SCHOOL BUS RACING - plus a full racing card featuring Legends Cars, Bandolero Cars and Thunder Roadsters.

July 19:
Amoco Ultimate presents CRASHCars - plus a full racing card featuring Legends Cars, Bandolero Cars and Thunder Roadsters. Double Points?Double Trouble! Night two of the Red, White & Blue Series!

July 26:
CRASHCars...plus a full racing card featuring Legends Cars, Bandolero Cars and Thunder Roadsters.

August 2:
CRASHCars...plus a full racing card featuring Legends Cars, Bandolero Cars and Thunder Roadsters.

August 9:
CRASHCars...plus a full racing card featuring Legends Cars, Bandolero Cars and Thunder Roadsters. Double Points?Double trouble! Final night of the Red, White & Blue Series!

August 16:
Championship Night! Stock Car Steel & Aluminum presents School Bus racing?plus a full racing card featuring Legends Cars, Bandolero Cars and Thunder Roadsters.