Lots to do next week in neighboring Cabarrus County at zMAX Dragway

CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Blistering speeds, the smell of nitro and the high-octane excitement on the track at the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals isn't the only thing that will bring fans to the Bellagio of drag strips when the NHRA Countdown to the Championship kicks off the first of its six-race playoffs next weekend.

With VIP race day packages, a classic car cruise and a gigantic Fan Zone and Nitro Alley, there's more family friendly fun packed into the three-day weekend at zMAX Dragway than ever before.

Bid on Once-In-A-Lifetime VIP Race Day Packages

zMAX Dragway and Speedway Children's Charities have teamed up to offer fans a once-in-a-life chance to experience the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals like never before. As part of its efforts to raise funds to care for children in educational, social, financial and medical need, Speedway

Children's Charities is auctioning off three exciting race day packages.

Through the auction, lucky fans will have the chance to bid on race-day rides in a two-seat dragster or rub elbows with all the NHRA's biggest stars with a backstage pass to Sunday's driver introductions. One lucky bidder will win the ultimate race day experience on Saturday, Sept. 13 with the Mello Yello All-Access Day at zMAX Dragway. The All-Access pass includes four suite level tickets with roof access, four Mello Yello pit box tickets, four passes to ride in the Mello Yello Express, a behind the scenes tour of the NHRA Control Room, the broadcast booth and the ESPN mobile studios. In addition, the winning Mello Yello All-Access bidder will take a behind-the-scenes tour with NHRA legend and 16-time Funny Car Champion John Force.

Fans can bid on any of the three auctions or get more information atwww.sccauctions.com. Bidding ends at midnight on Wednesday, Sept. 10.

Classic Car Showcase and Cruise-In

Fans at zMAX Dragway on Saturday and Sunday will be treated to a different kind of horsepower as area car clubs come out and display a variety of classics, customs and hot rods along the main entrance of the drag strip. In partnership with the Charlotte AutoFair taking place Sept. 18-21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the cars will also take part in classic car cruise-in on Sunday before final eliminations.

Huge Play Zone and Nitro Alley

zMAX Dragway is also putting fans first, and nowhere is that more evident than in the huge Play Zone and Nitro Alley during events like the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals. With more than 1.6 million square feet of family friendly fun, there's something for all ages. From corn hole and games at the Kangaroo Express Fan Van to bounce houses and nostalgia car displays, the Play Zone is a perfect stop for the young and the young-at-heart. From there, fans can explore a wide array of vendors along Nitro Alley or swing by the pits to watch their favorite drivers and teams setup and tear down their race cars, sign autographs and more.

Save On Every Ticket Purchase

Still haven't purchased tickets to next weekend's Countdown kickoff? Several of zMAX Dragway's partners are offering fans the chance to save on every ticket purchase. Anyone who brings a Mello Yello product to the ticket office will instantly receive $8 off his or her purchase. Fans can also stop by area Bojangles' locations for an $8 off coupon. Visit participating Dodge, Chrysler and Fiat dealerships to pick up a voucher good for $10 off an adult ticket purchase.

Fans can enjoy all of the weekend action with a three-day pass to the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals, with packages starting at just $99. Children 13 and younger will receive free general admission with a paid adult all weekend.

Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals qualifying opens on Friday, Sept. 12, with pro sessions scheduled at 12:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions scheduled to take place Saturday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14.

To purchase tickets, call zMAX Dragway at 800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.zMAXdragway.com. For more information about NHRA, please visitwww.NHRA.com.

Connect with zMAX Dragway and stay up to speed with all the happenings at the Bellagio of drag strips on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zmaxdragway and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zmaxdragway.