Pouring of concrete strip to begin Monday
After months of grading and preparation, crews on Monday evening will begin pouring the 3,000 cubic yards of concrete for the four-lane, quarter-mile dragstrip at zMax Dragway @ Concord. The "Bellagio of dragstrips" will be only the third track in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series to feature a concrete quarter-mile racing surface and the only four-lane track on the national circuit.
During a recent visit, NHRA competitors, including 14-time NHRA Funny Car world champion John Force, raved about plans to construct zMax Dragway's quarter-mile entirely of concrete.
"It's a huge expense, but if you're going to do it, do it right, and that's what Bruton Smith is all about," said Force. "When you got all concrete, the transition never comes into play. We all know exactly what we've got. It's 'gorilla,' and you throw everything you got at it. National records will be set here in Concord at zMax Dragway."
Most dragstrips have concrete for the first 660 feet or less, and the transition from concrete to asphalt can upset the traction of the rear wheels.
"Anytime you eliminate transitions on a track, you are lessening the chances for your race car to become unsettled," said five-time NHRA Top Fuel world champion Tony "the Sarge" Schumacher. "With any kind of luck, the weather will be nice and cool in September, and we can fly down the track and give the fans an exciting show. We're counting down the days until we arrive in our new market."
Three-time NHRA Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin agrees with Force and Schumacher that speeds will be extremely fast at zMax Dragway and that chances are good that national records will be broken during the Sept. 11-14 NHRA Carolinas Nationals.
"We look forward to having 1,320 feet of concrete," said Coughlin. "It allows us more of a consistent grip all the way down the racetrack.
"It should be smooth as glass, and what that means is fast times for fans.
"We're going to be into September, so there's a good chance that Mother Nature could have some 60-degree cool days, and we'll love that. We'll light the record books on fire."
Pouring of the concrete racing surface is scheduled to commence Monday evening and last through July 3. Due to the summer heat, all pouring will occur late in the evening and throughout the night.
zMax Dragway @ Concord will open in grand fashion by hosting the NHRA Carolinas Nationals Sept. 11-14. The four-day event will be the first of six races in the second leg of the playoff-style NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship, featuring competitors in all four Professional categories: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Four-day tickets for the inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMax Dragway @ Concord start at $99 for adults and $20 for children ages 12 and under. Each event ticket is also a pit pass and can be obtained by calling the Lowe's Motor Speedway ticket office, (800) 455-FANS (3267), or logging on to www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.