Drivers looking to get a leg up on the competition when the drag racing's best return to zMAX Dragway for the NHRA Carolina Nationals spent the day testing at the Bellagio of drag strips.

After Wednesday's test session was shortened due to rain, KB Racing's Greg Anderson was eager to make as many practice runs as he could during Thursday's session in preparation for the upcoming NHRA Carolina Nationals, the first in the NHRA's six-race playoffs.

"This first race here at zMAX is going to be very important to me," Anderson said. "I've said it before, you can't obviously win the championship in that first race of the Countdown, but you can probably knock yourself right out of it. I can’t do that. I don’t have any room for that. I’ve already started at a deficit so I need to make up some ground. I need a big race. Very important race for me. Obviously, the more testing I can do here, the more I can learn, the better chance I’ll have to win."

Anderson, one of the winningest drivers in zMAX Dragway history, was joined at testing by defending NHRA Carolina Nationals champion Jason Line, Pro Mod driver Rickie Smith, Pro Stock driver Shane Gray, and Pro Stock Motorcycle riders John Hall, Matt and Angie Smith, among several others.

Matt Smith, who won the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in 2010, said Wednesday's test session provided valuable information for many race teams who will look to make an early statement in the Countdown.

"We've learned a lot today. I'm changing motors in my bike; I'll run more tomorrow," Smith said. "This is the kind of conditions that we'll probably see in three weeks when we're back here. Hopefully we'll have a leg up on the rest of the competition."

Fans can catch all the action at the NHRA Carolina Nationals with the weekend pass, starting at just $99. Single-day tickets start at just $20, and kids 13 and under get in free. Every ticket is a pit pass, giving fans behind-the-scene access to the pits, the chance to get an autograph or photo with their favorite drivers or access to the gigantic Nitro Alley vendor display, the Fan Zone and more.

To purchase tickets, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. To stay up to date with everything going on at the Bellagio of drag strips, log on to www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or connect with zMAX Dragway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zmaxdragway or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zmaxdragway.