Many would say, and few would argue, that North Carolina is stock car country, with the city of Charlotte serving as the unofficial capital of the NASCAR industry.

But since 2007, the Tar Heel State has also been home to something a little different. That’s the year The Dirt Track at Charlotte introduced the Lowes Foods World of Outlaws World Finals.

The event, scheduled for Nov. 3-5, serves as the season finale for the nation’s three premier dirt-racing series – the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, World of Outlaws Late Model Series and the big-block modifieds of the Super DIRTcar Series. Each series is owned and operated by World Racing Group, which is headquartered only a few miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“The genius of that event was to bring our premier series, which are the best within that type of racing, all together and crown the champions on one day,” said Tom Deery, president of World Racing Group. “It really made sense to bring all three of the series together for one huge final event.”

Now, as the World Finals enters its fifth year, it is one of the biggest dirt-racing events in the world with another capacity crowd expected at The Dirt Track. With stars such as 20-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Steve Kinser, late model kingpin Scott Bloomquist and big-block modified star Brett Hearn sharing the stage, the World Finals has become the must-see event World Racing Group and Charlotte Motor Speedway executives envisioned when they developed the concept.

“I think the World Finals has become a very big event for the sport and for the fans,” said Jason Meyers, who is not only the defending World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion, but he also swept the sprint car portion of the 2010 World Finals. “I think the fan support we have there and the sheer amount of people that come and buy tickets for that event is really something special. To be able to race in front of that many people for all our sponsors is really something big for us.”

To date, fans from 47 states plus Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have purchased tickets to this year’s event.

Hearn, a seven-time big-block modified champion, was thrilled when the Super DIRTcar Series was added to the World Finals in 2010.

“The importance of the event is that it brings together all three of the major World Racing Group divisions in one place at one time at an absolutely spectacular venue like Charlotte,” Hearn said. “I think it (the addition of Super DIRTcar to the World Finals) is great. I know there are a lot of guys who really look forward to it. I know I certainly do.”

World of Outlaws drivers, teams and fans aren’t the only ones looking forward to the Nov. 3-5 World Finals. A large portion of the NASCAR community in the Charlotte area comes out to The Dirt Track to watch the action and, in some cases, watch their race teams.

Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart is deeply involved in sprint car racing, fielding World of Outlaws entries for former series champions Kinser and Donny Schatz. Kasey Kahne is also a team owner, fielding entries for Joey Saldana, Cody Darrah, Brad Sweet and Paul McMahan.

“I think more from the fan perspective, which we are all fans of racing, it really validates our passion – and that is short-track dirt racing or short-track racing in general – when the biggest stars of motorsports step into what we think is the biggest series in dirt-track racing,” Deery said. “For those guys (Kahne and Stewart), it really gives them a chance to give something back.”

Stewart and Kahne both started their careers on dirt and came up through the USAC ranks, winning titles there on their way to NASCAR.

“As an owner, Tony’s passion for what he does every day is what trickles down to us,” said Schatz, the four-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion that drives for Stewart. “He has been a winner in everything he has done. His mentality has trickled down to all of us that work for him.”

For a youngster like 22-year-old Darrah, having Kahne as his team owner is nothing but a positive experience.

“It is a one-of-a-kind situation. To drive for Kasey and to have him as an owner and as a friend, it is nothing but good all around,” Darrah said. “To work for Kasey Kahne Racing, to have one of the best sprint cars in the world and to have an owner that is one of the best drivers on the track in your resources is a really good thing.”

The Lowes Foods World of Outlaws World Finals presented by Tom’s Snacks, Coca-Cola and Nature’s Own begin Thursday with Kellogg’s Qualifying Night, continue Friday with a full slate of feature races and conclude Saturday with the season finales carried live, nationally on SPEED.

In addition to practice and qualifying on Thursday, the modifieds of the NDRA Modz “Road Show” presented by Roush Yates Performance Parts will compete in their final race of the season. The 30-lap feature was rescheduled from Oct. 12, due to weather. Fans can bring in their ticket stub from the Oct. 12 race and get a discount on their Thursday ticket.

Spectator gates open at 4 p.m. on Thursday, with opening ceremonies scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, gates open at 3 p.m. with opening ceremonies at 4:45 p.m. each day.

Adult tickets are just $20 for Thursday and $39 each day for Friday and Saturday. Tickets for children 12 and under are just $10 on Thursday and $15 each day for Friday and Saturday. Fans can also upgrade their ticket to include a pit pass for just $15 each day.

For more information or to purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or go online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

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