After a spectacular opening weekend for Carolina Christmas, the nation's newest holiday light park, Charlotte Motor Speedway officials have enhanced the experience even more by expanding the drive-on-the-track portion of the 2.5-mile course. Now patrons can enjoy the dynamic Christmas light displays as they cruise on the 24-degree banking of Turns 1 and 2, and down the backstretch of the legendary superspeedway.

The new course design not only improves traffic flow, but gives drivers the opportunity to experience the same banking where NASCAR legends such as Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt earned their stripes over the 51-year history of the speedway.

"We received a lot of feedback from race fans who came to Carolina Christmas and were ecstatic that they got to drive on pit road and walk inside the NASCAR garage," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"So we decided to let people experience the thrill of driving on the speedway and allow them to climb the steep banking in their own cars through Turns 1 and 2. Rumor has it a certain Sprint Cup Series driver had his family out last weekend and got a bit heavy on the gas.

"Of course, we want families to feel the thrill but also be safe. From what I've seen so far, there are a lot of happy fathers exiting Turn 2!"

Other enhancements to traffic flow included tweaking the staging process upon entering the light festival through the Turn 3 tunnel; providing alternate routes for customers with Fast Track passes; providing more signage and personnel in key locations throughout the park to keep traffic moving; and giving fans a smoother parking entrance to the Christmas Village where families can enjoy a bevy of interactive Christmas entertainment options.

Carolina Christmas is a 42-night interactive holiday light show and village that features over one million L.E.D. (light emitting diode) lights in nearly 500 colorful displays. The Christmas Village area, located in the infield features many family-friendly amenities such as Santa's Workshop, pictures with Santa, the Coca-Cola Igloo with a synthetic skating rink, ornament painting, a petting zoo, a live nativity in a Bethlehem-themed village and much more.

Operating hours for Carolina Christmas are 6 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 2, 2011, rain or shine. Tickets are available online at www.visitcarolinachristmas.com or at the gate nightly during event hours for drive-up traffic. Admission is just $20 per passenger vehicle, with group and motorcoach packages available. Coupons for a $3 discount off admission are available at area Lowe's Home Improvement stores and on certain Coca-Cola products. A $2 off coupon is available in the Concord Mills Mall coupon book.

Families may also take advantage of The Speedway Club's Holiday Dinners and Carolina Christmas packages, which includes a speedway-provided ride through the Carolina Christmas display. Individual meals start at just $20 per adult and family-style meals are also available.

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