2018 South Trip travel blog

Speedway Main Entrance

Charlotte Roval

Track tour ticket

Turn 2

Track View

Track View

Track View

Winner Circle

ZMAX Dragway

Drag Strip

Fast Corvette

Fast Jeep

ZMAX Control Tower

My Lovely Bride

Run What You Brung

We will be doing the Charlotte Motor Speedway track tour today. The tour started out at the main concourse where they load vans that will take us around the speedway grounds. There are 5 racetracks in this complex which cover 2000 acres of land. The track opened in 1960 which was only one track which cost 1.5 million dollars at the time. There have been many changes since opening day. More tracks have been added along with seating and premium boxes. The main track had seating for 171,000 people at one time but now is 94,000 seating. The list of tracks located here are as follows.

Main Quad Oval

The main quad oval is 1.5 miles long with turns banked at 24 degrees and the straightaways banked at 5 degrees. Currently the track hosts the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All Star Race & Coca Cola 600, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series.

Short Oval

Between the front stretch is a 0.25 miles flat oval designed after Bowman-Gray Stadium. The 1/4 Mile track currently host the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, the Summer Shootout Series and other events such as the Legends Millon.

Road course

Contained within the main oval is a 2.25 miles road course and a 0.6 miles Kart course. The autumn race of the NASCAR season 2018 will take place on the road course, promoted as a "Roval". The final version was announced on January 22, 2018. The new layout, which combines the 1.5-mile oval with the infield road-racing section, removes what was labeled Turn 8 on the original track map. The final version of the circuit will be 2.28 miles (3.67 km) over 17 turns instead of 2.4 miles over 18 turns, reducing lap times and making the infield section less technical.

zMAX Dragway

The zMAX Dragway is a state-of-the-art four-lane drag strip, located on 125 acres of speedway property across U.S. Highway 29 from the main superspeedway. It was built in 2008 involving a total of 1,876 workers and a combined 636,000 man hours. With 300 workers on site daily working an average 11-hour shift, a 13-month construction project turned into a 6-month one. At one point during construction, concern by nearby residents led Concord city council to rezone land the drag strip was being built on, preventing it from being built. Following the decision Smith threatened to close Charlotte Motor Speedway and build a track elsewhere in Metrolina. When asked if he would go through with the threat Smith replied "I am deadly serious". After a month of negotiations, the issue was settled and, instead of the speedway closing, Smith announced $200 million worth of improvements including road and highway improvements, as well as noise attenuation for the drag strip. The drag strip officially opened on August 20, 2008, and a public open house was held a few days later. The first NHRA event was held September 11–14, 2008.

The Dragway features the first of two all-concrete, four-lane drag strips in the United States. The starting line tower is 34,000 square feet and includes 16 luxury suites, race control areas and a press box. Two grandstands, one on either side of the strip, can hold a combined 30,000 spectators. Twenty-four luxury suites with hospitality accommodations are located above the main grandstand. Two tunnels run underneath the strip to enhance fan mobility between the two grandstands.

The Dirt Track

The Dirt Track at Charlotte is a 1,300 ft. clay oval located across Highway 29 from the quad-oval speedway. The stadium-style facility, built in 2000, has nearly 14,000 seats and plays host to Dirt Late Models, Modifieds, Sprint Cars, Monster Trucks and the prestigious World of Outlaws World Finals. In 2013, the track hosted the Global Rallycross Round 8.

The tour was very interesting with the knowledge the driver, Steve, had about the complex. We were taken around the complex and we made 2 laps on the track. The banking in the turns, 24 degrees, don’t look like much on TV but when you are traveling around the track the banking is very eye opening. We were probably going around 90 miles per hour and you keep waiting for the van to roll over and down the track. It was very exciting and not for the weak of heart. We did run on the main track but also in the “Roval” which will be used for a NASCAR Race September 30 for the first time. We will be going over to the track on Tuesday to watch some of the NASCAR teams practice. Some of the teams practiced last Tuesday and spend time running into the walls.

We were at the motorhome later and kept hearing cars sound like they were racing. Since we were next to the ZMax Dragway that explained the noise, there were drag races going on. On Thursday nights the have “Run What You Brung” drags. We went over and found out from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm they open the drag strip to anyone that wants to race against the clock. Mixed bag of vehicles, pickups, family sedans, motorcycles, and drag cars. We spend the $10.00 to view what was going on. It was fun to watch some of the people try and ruin the family car. One guy pulled his Cadillac to the line, got ready to go and all of sudden a loud noise came out it, he broke is transmission. Another guy pulled his Volvo to the line, got ready to go and fire shot out his grill, wreaker time. The one that caught my eye was a newer jeep which looking like a normal jeep, other than it ran 130 miles per hour in 11 second for the ¼ mile. It was good entertainment for the night but all days must come to an end.

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