What’s New During Mega May at Charlotte Motor Speedway?

What’s New During Mega May at Charlotte Motor Speedway?

CONCORD, N.C. (May 18, 2011) – The two biggest weeks in all of sports are underway in Charlotte, culminating in two of the premier events on the NASCAR schedule: the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As a part of the ongoing Fans First initiative at Charlotte Motor Speedway, fans coming to the races can expect plenty of recently-added amenities, events, displays and upgrades at The Greatest Place to See the Race. Below is a sampling of what’s new for May.

World’s Largest HDTV Panasonic HDTV Makes its Debut at NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race The biggest new addition, literally, to Charlotte Motor Speedway this May is the world’s largest high-definition television, built by Panasonic. Centered along the backstretch between Turns 2 and 3 across from the start/finish line, the 16,000-square-foot HDTV will give fans seated throughout the frontstretch from Turn 4 to Turn 1 clear viewing angles of instant replays, leaderboard updates and interactive entertainment displayed in clear 720P high-definition visuals. The Panasonic HDTV project took up to 57 workers a day, working more than 11,000 man hours, more than four months to construct. The entire structure weighs 332-and-a-half tons, more than 665,000 pounds. The 158 panels that make up the face of the television’s screen will be illuminated by nine million LED lamps during select events at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Panasonic HDTV will make its public debut under the lights during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21.

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Tickets and Ticket Packages New Smoke-Free Section, Expanded Family Seating Section Tickets Now Available Charlotte Motor Speedway is offering a new smoke-free seating option for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21 and Coca-Cola 600 on May 29. Alcohol is permitted, but the Ford Grandstand, New Veranda and Club Deck and Upper Terrace Sections AA-G are now smoke-free. Also, the Family Seating Section, which is smoke-and-alcohol free, has moved to the Toyota Fourth Turn Terrace Sections X-GG. For more information, contact the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267).

Kids Pit Passes are Free to NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600 Pre-race pit passes for children 12 and under are now available for free for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600. Children ages 13 through 18 can get a pit pass for half the adult price for each race. Quantities are limited. Call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) to purchase a pit pass.

NASCAR Pit and Garage Area Dress Code Relaxed for 2011 The dress code for all NASCAR pit and garage areas at has been updated for 2011. Attire must remain appropriate for both a major sporting event and a family environment, but has been relaxed to include shorts, open-toed shoes, sleeveless blouses and skirts/dresses.

Meet Gordon, Johnson with the Hoedown Hospitality Package Charlotte Motor Speedway is giving fans a chance to meet two of the biggest names in NASCAR with the Hoedown at the Throwdown hospitality package. In keeping with this year’s Western-style Throwdown theme for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the package includes a special fan forum with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson; a hospitality area with live entertainment, chuck wagon-style food, live music by Hoss Howard and a mechanical bull; three beer or non-alcoholic beverage coupons; and a special VIP credential and lanyard. The package starts at just $108 per person, or fans who have already purchased tickets to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race can upgrade for just $69. For information, call 1-800-455-FANS (3267).

Logistics Speedway Offers Traffic Tips, Maps to Ease Race Day Travel With help from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Charlotte Motor Speedway is working to ease travel for fans heading to and from the races. New for 2011 are tips from Charlotte Motor Speedway and NCDOT on the best routes to get to the speedway, the best times to arrive at the track and information on post-race traffic flow and public transportation options. For traffic tips and maps, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/fans/directions.

Entertainment, Information, Donuts Waiting For Fans at New Welcome Area Fans entering Charlotte Motor Speedway through the main entrance near Bruton Smith Boulevard and Highway 29 will notice a few changes to the speedway’s fan welcome area. The welcome tent will be relocated in front of Smith Tower and will feature an emcee and DJ playing music. Fans can stop by the tent for information on everything May Race-Weeks-related and enjoy free donuts and drinks. Also new for 2011, live music will greet fans in front of Smith Tower during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 race weekends.

Facility, Customer Service Additions to Enhance Experience for Fans In its never-ending commitment to put Fans First, Charlotte Motor Speedway knows that even incremental additions and changes to race week operations will make a big impact on a fan’s experience. With that in mind, the speedway this May is adding 400 additional trash containers to the property, more buses for fan transportation and more greeters and ambassadors around the track, to help answer fan questions.

Honoring Those Who Serve Patriotic Coca-Cola 600 Pre-Race Show to Feature Patriotic Concert The pre-race show for the May 29 Coca-Cola 600 will once again feature a spectacular tribute to the men and women who have served, are currently serving or have made the ultimate sacrifice in the U.S. Armed Forces. New for 2011 is the addition of a 30-minute patriotic concert by country music singer Darryl Worley, who will sing his hit single “Have You Forgotten?” about the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Lee Greenwood will also take to the stage to perform his patriotic anthem, “God Bless the U.S.A.” The Let Freedom Race Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show will start at 3:30 p.m.

Traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial on Display During Coca-Cola 600 Weekend The American Veterans Traveling Tribute is bringing the Cost of Freedom Tribute to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 weekend. The centerpiece of this tribute is the Traveling Wall, an 80 percent scale version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. The wall lists the name of every American casualty from the war, just like the original. The tribute will be open to the public from May 26 to May 29. Opening ceremonies will be held at 1:00 p.m. on May 26, featuring a wreath laying as well as the presence of local veterans and active duty military. On May 29, before the Coca-Cola 600, a ceremony to honor Medal of Honor Recipients will be held at 9:00 a.m.

Speedway-Owned Fire Truck Makes Debut, Named to Honor 9/11 Victims A new addition to the Charlotte Motor Speedway safety team for 2011 is a Rosenbauer Custom  Centurion ST Pumper fire truck. This is the first fire truck that the track has owned and it will be staffed by Charlotte Motor Speedway employees during the May race weeks.  The new truck will be responsible for protecting the NASCAR garages and the new Sunoco Mobile Fuel Island. The Charlotte Motor Speedway safety crew has named the fire truck Engine 343, which is number of firefighters lost at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Entertainment Julie Roberts to Perform Post-Race All-Star Concert, Fans Can Walk on Frontstretch The ultimate NASCAR party won’t stop when the checkered flag flies on May 21 as Charlotte Motor Speedway will treat fans to a post-race concert on the frontstretch grass following the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Country music star Julie Roberts will perform a 30-minute concert for fans where she will debut her new song “NASCAR Party.” After the race is complete and the track is secure, fans will be instructed to enter the concert area through the wheel fence or Gate 8. Fans will get the opportunity to walk down from the grandstands onto the speedway’s frontstretch.

Speedway Offers New Track Tour on Event Days A new Speedway Tram Tour is being offered during May Race Weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The tram departs from Gate 4 and will enter the infield through Gate 26, then take a lap around the apron of the speedway, including a trip down pit road. Fans will learn fun facts about the speedway and get an up-close look at the world’s largest HDTV. Seating is limited. Tours will be given May 18, 19, and 25 at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.; May 21 and 26 at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.; May 27 at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and May 29 at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Campers Treated to Sprint Cup Hauler Parade Before All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600 The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series haulers will give Charlotte Motor Speedway campers a special treat with a hauler parade before they enter the garage for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600. The transporters will stage at zMAX Dragway at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 19 and 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, May 26, then make their way to the Charlotte Motor Speedway infield. Breakfast will be served in the zMAX Dragway pavilion to campers on May 26. 

Speedway Club Hosts New Media Chats, Other Special Events During Race Weeks With award-winning fine dining and luxury seating options, The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway delivers a one-of-a-kind race day experience. During the May NASCAR races, The Speedway Club hosts a number of special events and appearances. New events added for 2011 include a media chat with Performance Racing Network’s Doug Rice and NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Junior Johnson on May 21 and NASCAR Hall of Fame director Winston Kelly on May 29. Also added for 2011 will be a number of book signing events, live radio broadcasts, happy hour specials and DJ entertainment. For more information on events, a membership, or the Speedway Club Access Pass that allows fans to test drive The Speedway Club, visit www.gospeedwayclub.com/.

On the Track New Format Set for Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge Burnout Contest The fourth annual Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge is set for 6:00 p.m. on May 21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway as part of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race pre-event festivities. The Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge is NASCAR’s version of a “slam dunk contest,” with the sport’s top talent showing off their post-win celebration abilities in classic NASCAR tire-smoking-donut style burnouts. New for 2011 is a text-to-vote opportunity that will begin after the contest judges have selected the top three burnouts.  Fans in the stands can watch the burnout replays on the world’s largest HDTV and vote for their favorite by texting in the specific code assigned to each driver. The driver with the most votes at the end will be declared the winner, with $10,000 awarded to the charity of his choice. Participating drivers in the 2011 Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge include Trevor Bayne, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kyle Bush, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.

Contests Fans Can Text CC600 to 69050 for a chance to Win a Toyota Camry Charlotte Motor Speedway and Toyota are giving fans a chance to compete and win a new ride during pre-race ceremonies for the Coca-Cola 600. Through May 22, fans can text CC600 to 69050 to be automatically entered to compete to win a 2011 Toyota Camry. Fifty-two contestants, in honor of the 52nd running of the Coca-Cola 600, will be randomly selected from those who enter to participate in a special competition on the morning of the May 29 Coca-Cola 600 at the Toyota Pit Pass display. The competitors will be timed as they pack a Camry for race day; put on their Toyota Racing gear; jump in the driver’s seat and start the engine. The four with the fastest times will compete again and the winner will be acknowledged as a part of pre-race ceremonies in front of the crowd prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The fan with the fastest time will win the car.

For the Kids SCC Princess “4” a Day, Toy “4” a Boy Programs Offered for Kids Coca-Cola 600 Weekend Boys and girls coming to the Coca-Cola 600 can participate in two very special new activities, courtesy of Speedway Children’s Charities. Girls can “get their glamour on” in the Powerade Play Zone Coca-Cola 600 weekend with the Princess “4” a Day Program. For a small donation, the Miss Motor Speedway Organization will provide a princess makeover including make-up, hair and nails, along with a “glamour shot” photo, gift bag and a Miss Motor Speedway autograph card. Boys can join in on the fun in with the Toy “4” a Boy program. For a small donation, the Miss Motor Speedway Organization will provide a toy car, checkered flag, a Miss Motor Speedway autograph card and a photo with the Miss Motor Speedway Titleholders. A portion of the proceeds from both programs will go to support Speedway Children’s Charities.

“CARS 2” Cars, Petting Zoo, Alpo Dog Jump New Additions to Powerade Play Zone The Powerade Play Zone returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the May race weeks and will once again feature racing-themed inflatable bounce houses, face painters and appearances by Lug Nut, the world’s fastest mascot. New for 2011, the Powerade Play Zone will feature a petting zoo and a display for fans featuring full-size replicas of Lightning McQueen and Mater from Disney*Pixar’s “CARS 2” which opens June 24. Also, the Alpo Ultimate Air Dogs will be in the Powerade Play Zone for Coca Cola 600 weekend. Fans may enter their dogs to compete for only $5 a splash at www.ultimateairdogs.net. The Powerade Play Zone will be located in the Smith Tower south parking lot near the main speedway entrance and will be open May 20, 21 and 26 from noon to 7 p.m.; May 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and May 29 from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Charities Speedway Children’s Charities Launches Text to Give Program Starting May 21 Race fans can now donate to Speedway Children’s Charities through Speedway Children’s Charities new Text to Give Program. Starting May 21, the day of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, fans can text “HUGS” to 20222 on any cell phone and $10 will automatically be donated to Speedway Children’s Charities. A confirmation text will be sent to the cell phone and fans can confirm the donation by replying “yes.” The money raised by Speedway Children’s Charities provides funding for hundreds of non-profit organizations throughout the nation that meet the educational, financial, social and medical needs of children. For more information, visit www.charlotte.speedwaycharities.org.

    Tickets for all May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Frontstretch tickets with the best views of the world’s largest HDTV start at just $49 for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21. Fans can also purchase two frontstretch tickets for just $99 to the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29.     For daily updates on May race activities, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway by following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway. -30-

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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