There has never been a better time for families to witness the greatest spectacle in drag racing than April 13-15 at zMAX Dragway for the third annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

Children 13 and under get in free to the three-day event with a paying adult and once inside they can visit the new-and-improved Powerade Play Zone, located behind the John Force Grandstand, which will include an 8,000 square foot remote control car dirt course built by Traxxas.

The unrivaled NHRA drag racing on the track features 8,000 horsepower nitro-breathing machines competing four-wide all weekend long in the world’s only four-wide professional drag racing event.

Adding to the visceral, ground-shaking, on-track competition is one of NHRA’s greatest amenities—allowing all ticket holders into the pit area during the event. Kids of all ages can meet the stars of the sport and see the crews prepare for each thrilling pass down the Bellagio of drag strips.

“All of our drivers are just down-to-earth people,” said Matt Hagan, Funny Car driver for Don Schumacher Racing and winner of last September’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway. “We’re just like everybody else. We just get to drive a fast race car. It’s just one of those deals where it’s a family sport. Bring your kids out. I’ve got a 5 year old and I drag him out to the races. It’s just a great thing.”

With access to the pits, fans can see first-hand the intensity the crews and drivers have as they prepare the cars between runs.

“You get to come out here, watch these guys come back and tear a car down to the crank, put the rods and pistons back in it, put the heads back on the manifold, have it fired back up in 30 minutes,” said Hagan. “After that, you get to smell nitro. If you’ve never smelled nitro, that’s something that you got to do; it’s got to be on your ‘bucket list.’ It’s just a cool deal.”

Seeing the drivers and crews up close could also make a future drag racer out of some fans. Antron Brown, driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster, credits the accessibility the fans have as the reason he made it into the sport.

“The coolest part about drag racing is the fan accessibility. Because without that, I wouldn’t be where I am at today,” said Brown. “Honestly, when I look back as a kid, I was a fan – I’m still a fan of the sport – where I was on the outside looking in. How do I do it? How do I get there? That ticket being the pit pass is the key, because once you see it, it gave a kid like me from Chesterfield, N.J. that little ray of hope saying, ‘I can be like Kenny Bernstein. I can be like John Force, I can be like Joe Amato, and Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme.’

“Now it made my dream a reality by coming out here, seeing, touching, smelling, using all of my five senses in the pit area. It made me come back, made me strive for my dreams that I could reach it and touch it. Now I’m here living the dream because of that, because of that access, that crucial access to the pit.”

In addition to seeing drivers in the pits, fans can also attend the Nitro Generation Track Walk on Sunday, April 15. Drivers set to participate include Brandon Bernstein, Jeg Coughlin Jr., Erica Enders, Shane Gray, Johnny Gray, Robert Hight, Jason Line, Cruz Pedregon, Tony Pedregon and Bob Tasca. The track walk will begin at 10:30 a.m. and is free to all Sunday ticket holders.

There will also be a special autograph signing for all zMAX Dragway season ticket holders on Saturday, April 14 at 4:30 p.m. in the Pavilion at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Season ticket holders can get autographs from Antron Brown, Jack Beckman, Ron Capps, Johnny Gray, Matt Hagan, Spencer Massey and Tony Schumacher.

In an effort to help fans who are new to drag racing, zMAX Dragway has a new program to ensure first-time fans have the best experience possible during their first trip to the Bellagio of drag strips. First-time fans will receive a special welcome kit when they purchase tickets and be invited to a Racing 101 seminar that provides additional information and the opportunity to ask questions directly of speedway staff.

Fans can purchase three tickets to the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and get one free. Kids 13 and under get in free. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at www.zMAXDragway.com. At-track camping options are also available.

Connect with zMAX Dragway and stay up to speed with all the happenings at the Bellagio of drag strips on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zmaxdragway and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zmaxdragway