Six-hundred balloons took to the skies Friday as four area mayors and Charlotte Motor Speedway officials kicked-off May as Race Month at the track in preparation for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 30.

Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, on Friday hosted Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Concord Mayor Scott Padgett, Mooresville Mayor Chris Montgomery and Kannapolis Mayor Robert Misenheimer to discuss race month activities and the positive impact hundreds of thousands of race fans will have on the region.

“Charlotte is truly the number one destination for race fans,” said Smith. “The experience they have in this region, with the team shops, festivals and at Charlotte Motor Speedway is something they cannot get anywhere else in the world.”

“May is really a big month for our region,” said Foxx. “It is a huge economic driver and brings the highest occupancy rate each year to the area hotels.”

Past economic impact studies show the back-to-back race weeks featuring the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 22 and May 30 Coca-Cola 600 will generate more than $200 million for Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Iredell counties as more than 400,000 race fans from 50 states and several foreign countries will attend motorsports-related events.

“This is the time when all of us come together to roll out the red carpet and make sure these fans have the greatest experience in the world,” Smith added.

As a part of the festivities at the speedway Friday, the mayors released 600 red balloons from the infield, each with a ticket voucher inside. Fans who find the balloons can call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office for information on how to exchange the voucher for a ticket to the Coca-Cola 600. The fan who finds the balloon that traveled the farthest from the speedway will get a pair of tickets upgraded to Clubhouse seats and will also receive two pre-race pit passes.

The mayors were also on hand at the speedway for the reading of North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue’s proclamation that May is Motorsports month in North Carolina.

Finally, each mayor got the chance to experience Charlotte Motor Speedway at 165 mph courtesy of a stock car ride from the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

Click here for video of the balloon launch.

Click here for photos of the event.

Tickets for all May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS. Friends and family four-pack tickets start at just $39.75 per person for the Coca-Cola 600 and at $35 per person for the All Star Race on May 22.

For daily updates on May race activities, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway by following on Twitter  or become a Facebook fan.