An unrivaled showcase of entertainment and family-friendly attractions will spice up the May 19-28 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but this year's thrilling series of events also features a multitude of new things for fans to enjoy.
Here's a look at what's new to Charlotte Motor Speedway this May:
More Stages, More Points, More Battles
The Coca-Cola 600 - the world's ultimate test of man and machine - offers extra incentives to drivers chasing the famous Bruton Smith Trophy. This year's 58th running of the venerable Memorial Day weekend classic becomes the first NASCAR race to include four stages instead of the regular three. Drivers can earn an extra playoff point and 10 more bonus points in addition to those already on offer in the 400-lap showdown of speed and strategy.
New All-Star Race Format
A new format comes to this year's Monster Energy All-Star Race as drivers will chase $1 million over 70 laps in four stages of 20, 20, 20 and 10 circuits. The winner of each of the first three stages will lock up a spot in the final stage, as long as they remain on the lead lap after the third stage. The cars with the best average finish in the first three stages will make up the remaining spots needed to fill the 10-car final stage. There's another new wrinkle: drivers are given one set of "option" tires, which can be put on at any time to provide extra grip. Additionally, the Monster Energy Open returns to Saturday night while All-Star Race qualifying - and no speed limits - moves to Friday.
NASCAR Trackside Live
NASCAR Trackside Live, a sprawling, new stage for fans to enjoy live music, driver appearances and three live, one-hour shows on NASCAR.com, debuts at Charlotte Motor Speedway's 10-acre Fan Zone throughout the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder. Look for rocking concerts including world-renowned country duo Big & Rich presented by M&Ms as high-octane supplements to the many attractions NASCAR Trackside Live promises to deliver. The Trackside Live shows go live to a worldwide audience at 12:45 p.m. Friday, May 20; at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 28.
Turn 4 Sun Deck
Combining the renewable resources of a 960-panel elevated solar farm and the unmatched views trackside outside of Turn 4, Charlotte's innovative Turn 4 Sun Deck offers fans and corporate guests a wide range of entertainment options from luxury motorhome campsites to cabana packages for small groups. The 42,000-square-foot deck, which debuts this month, will include food and beverage service, restroom facilities, picnic and high-top tables, a disc jockey, yard games and a wide concourse.
"Cars 3" Display in the Fan Zone
During All-Star Race weekend May 19-20, the Fan Zone features an expansive "Cars 3 Road to the Races" display featuring life-size characters including Lightning McQueen, as well as interactive games and clips from the upcoming blockbuster film set to release in June. The Disney•Pixar film is fun for all ages and there's no pre-release tune-up like the display fans will see this weekend.
Coca-Cola 600 Grand Marshal Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum, the co-star of "Logan Lucky," a summer heist comedy filmed and set at Charlotte Motor Speedway, will serve as Grand Marshal for the Coca-Cola 600. Tatum - known for his roles in "Step Up" and "Magic Mike" - will give the famous "Drivers, Start Your Engines" command and will appear at the pre-race drivers meeting.
Justin Moore and Lynyrd Skynyrd
Prior to the Monster Energy All-Star Race on May 20, ticketholders can see chart-topping singer Justin Moore kick off a wild Saturday night with a concert presented by Rayovac including songs from his hit album "Kinda Don't Care." Prior to the iconic Coca-Cola 600, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd own the spotlight in a 70-minute concert presented by Speed Perks that will bring fans of all ages to their feet.
Kids Get in for $10
Children 13 and under get in for just $10 each at the Monster Energy All-Star Race or the Coca Cola 600, but the rest of the races are equally as light on the wallet. Kids 13 and under get in FREE to every 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder event other than the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600.
Camping World Racing Resort playground and pet pit stop
Fans who camp for this month's races will have a new place to bring their pets. The Camping World Racing Resort playground features a full kids' playground, slides and sand volleyball court. The pet pit stop gives pet owners somewhere to let their pets run around before fans gear up for the exhilarating on-track action synonymous with Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Fans will have better access than ever to what's going on during the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder, with new digital video screens developed by ISM Vision, Powered by BoldVu. The screens will feature prominently in the Fan Zone and throughout the concourse and will provide race fans with useful tidbits including daily event schedules and weather updates.
Charlotte Motor Speedway's first licensed craft beer, 600 Ale, hits the market just in time for 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder. The Cabarrus Brewing Company-produced beer - named for Charlotte's iconic race - is a great addition to any tailgate.
Regional up-and-coming MMA fighters will duel when the Monster Energy Bellator MMA Fight Series spices up the night on Saturday, May 20 in the first MMA fights ever held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As a special primer to the Saturday-night fight card, UFC champion Tito Ortiz and former PRIDE and STRIKEFORCE titleholder Dan Henderson will sign autographs for fans at the Monster Energy display in the Fan Zone from 3-4 p.m. on Friday, May 19.
Freestyle motocross events will also take place May 19-20 as part of Monster Energy's events. Among those competing will be X Games medalist Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg, Nate Adams and Axell Hodges. Stunt riders will also be showcased in an Unknown Industries Harley Motorcycle Stunt Show featuring Nick Leonetti and Buddy Suttle.
Laps and Taps Tour
In addition to Charlotte Motor Speedway's renowned track tours, this year's new Laps and Taps tour visits area craft breweries plus trips to racing hotspots like the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Childress Vineyards.
Tickets, camping and upgrades for every 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder event are available at the gates, by visiting charlottemotorspeedway.com/tickets or calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267).
-- Charlotte Motor Speedway --