The North Carolina Senate voted yesterday to establish stock car racing as the “official state sport" by a margin of 46-3 and as the largest motorsports facility in the state, Charlotte Motor Speedway is celebrating the Senate’s ruling.

“North Carolina is truly the world capital of motorsports and we applaud the decision of the North Carolina Senate and its leadership to establish stock car racing as the official state sport,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Motorsports in general, and more specifically Charlotte Motor Speedway, has such an enormous impact on the state’s economy. This includes money generated through fan support, by motorsports facilities and through permanent and seasonal jobs not just at the speedway, but at the race teams and countless other motorsports-related organizations.”

According to the latest economic impact study, Charlotte’s motorsports megaplex that includes the famed 1.5-mile superspeedway, zMAX Dragway and the Dirt Track at Charlotte, brings in more than $400 million annually to the state’s economy and will employ as many as 6,000 people during race events. Much of that impact will be felt in May during the facility’s two weeks of racing, highlighted by the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29.

The state sport bill was brought to the North Carolina General Assembly in February, 2011, by a group of fifth graders at Lake Norman Elementary School in Mooresville, N.C. In proposing the legislation, the students pointed to motorsports' $6 billion annual economic impact to North Carolina and noted that Charlotte, N.C., and the surrounding region is home to Charlotte Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and more than 90 percent of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock-car race teams. More than 200 businesses in Cabarrus County support the motorsports industry, which employs nearly 20,000 people in the region.

“We also applaud the efforts of these industrious students at Mooresville Elementary and congratulate them on their hard work toward getting this legislation through the government,” Smith said.

The measure now moves on to the North Carolina House. If passed, North Carolina will join other U.S. states with an official state sport, including Alaska (dog mushing); Colorado (snowboarding and skiing); Massachusetts (basketball); Minnesota (hockey); and South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming (rodeo).

The two biggest weeks in all of sports kicks-off this May in Charlotte with the NASCAR Rev'd Up Concert on May 18 with Gary Allan and Josh Kelley at 4:00 p.m., at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Additional events include:

- May 19 - NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge, 7:00 p.m.,  Time Warner Cable Arena
- May 20 - NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Qualifying/N.C. Education Lottery 200, 8:00 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway
- May 21 - Dierks Bentley Pre-Race Concert presented by Budweiser, 2:30 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway Infield
- May 21 - Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge, 6:20 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway
- May 21 - Sprint Showdown, 7:45 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway
- May 21 - NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, 9:00 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway
- May 23 - NASCAR Hall of Fame 2011 Induction Ceremony, 7:00 p.m.,  NASCAR Hall of Fame
- May 26 - Windstream Pole Night, 7:10 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway
- May 27 - Coca-Cola Family Cookout & Track Walk, Noon, Charlotte Motor Speedway Infield
- May 27 - Circle K NOS Energy Outlaw Showdown, 7:15 p.m., The Dirt Track at Charlotte
- May 28 - Top Gear 300, 2:30 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway
- May 29 - Coca-Cola 600, 6:00 p.m. Charlotte Motor Speedway

A full list of activities taking place in Charlotte during Charlotte Motor Speedway's May race weeks is available at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/fans/fan_guide_to_fun/

Tickets for all May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Frontstretch tickets with the best views of the world’s largest HD video board, debuting at the speedway in May, start at just $49 for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21.  Fans can also purchase two frontstretch tickets for just $99 to the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29.

For daily updates on May race activities, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway by following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.