Here are the Top 10 things to see and do before the green flag falls Saturday night:
NASCAR Night and Hauler Parade: NASCAR drivers, crew members, Charlotte media personalities and more will kick off race week with NASCAR Night at zMAX Dragway on Wednesday, Oct. 7. The event will include a hauler parade of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series haulers before racers try their hands at straight line racing at the Bellagio of drag strips. Gates open at 5 p.m. The hauler parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., with racing and a fireworks show to follow. Admission is free for fans. Speedway Children’s Charities will accept donations at the gate.
Bojangles’ Pole Night: The field will be set for the Bank of America 500 after a three-round bout of knockout qualifying on Bojangles’ Pole Night, but that’s just the beginning of a full slate of fun on tap Thursday, Oct. 8. Fans can also cheer for their favorite lady of racing during the fifth annual Better Half Dash and catch the bumper-banging action of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour during the series’ season finale, the Southern Slam 150. Both the Better Half Dash and the Southern Slam 150 will be held on the frontstretch quarter-mile, adding even more value to every Bojangles’ Pole Night ticket. Plus, kids get in free on Bojangles’ Pole Night with an adult ticket purchase.
Be a VIP and Support SCC: Fans looking to upgrade their race day experience need look no further than the awesome Speedway Children’s Charities VIP race day experiences. Through exclusive auctions offered by Speedway Children’s Charities, fans can bid on the ultimate race-day upgrades, including the chance to wave the green flag on Bojangles’ Pole Night, take a garage tour with NASCAR analyst Wendy Venturini or take the Ride of a Lifetime with NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon, among other experiences, all while supporting Speedway Children’s Charities. For a complete list of auctions, visit www.sccauctions.com. Bidding on most auction items ends Wednesday, Oct. 7.
Fan Zone Fun: Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 10-acre Fan Zone, located at the main entrance of the 1.5-mile superspeedway, offers hours of fun for fans on race day. Fans can grab the latest gear from their favorite driver at the enormous Fanatics souvenir tent, take a ride on the Toyota Racing Ferris Wheel or sample local craft beer favorites at the Beer Haven display, among other interactive vendors and displays.
Bring An Appetite: Fans headed to the speedway: don’t forget your appetite. New for 2015, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s food service provider, Levy Restaurants, is cooking up some great ideas that will leave fans’ mouths watering. The sweet potato casserole funnel cake is a playful take on a fair favorite. Sweet potatoes blended with funnel cake batter along with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and ground cloves create the doughy treat. Back by popular demand, fans with a sweet tooth can also enjoy a Krispy Kreme Burger or Candied Bacon Lollipops.
Those looking for a full meal can check out the new food truck displays along the concourse. With popular trucks like Gold Finger, Comfort Food, Belly Backers, New Wrap Order and Mimi’s Kitchen, there’s something to suit every taste.
Hunter Hayes to Rock Pre-Race: Nothing goes together like country music and NASCAR. One of country music’s biggest names, Hunter Hayes, is set to perform a free concert for fans before the Bank of America 500. The multi-talented singer, songwriter and instrumentalist will take the stage for a 60-minute set, including smash hits like his GRAMMY-nominated "Wanted," "I Want Crazy" and "Invisible," among other fan favorites like "Storm Warning," "Somebody's Heartbreak" and current single, "21." Fans can upgrade their race ticket to include a pit pass or driver intro pass for stagefront access to the concert.
Erendira Wallenda to Cheat Death: Before NASCAR's best take to the track for the Bank of America 500, Erendira Wallenda, wife of world-famous daredevil Nik Wallenda, will leave fans on the edge of their seats, suspended over the infield on an aerial ring hanging by a cable under a helicopter high above the infield. The 10-minute show, which Erendira will perform without any safety equipment to tether her to the ring or the helicopter, will feature artistic stunts and tricks, building to a dramatic finale as she hangs from the ring by only her toes.
Jeff’s Last Ride: Saturday’s Bank of America 500 marks the end of an era at Charlotte Motor Speedway. More than two decades after earning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at the famed 1.5-mile superspeedway, NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon will make his final laps in the iconic No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Charlotte Motor Speedway has rolled out a 24-day campaign to mark the milestone and is encouraging fans to share their favorite Gordon memories via social media using #JeffsLastRide. Among other tributes, select memories will be broadcast on the speedway’s 16,000-square-foot HDTV throughout race day. Fans can also purchase a commemorative souvenir program, which salutes Gordon on his final appearance with one-of-a-kind artwork by NASCAR artist Sam Bass.
#TroopThanks Salute: Bank of America, in partnership with Charlotte Motor Speedway and NASCAR will host a special “Stand and Salute” moment during pre-race as part of the bank’s Express Your Thanks campaign to honor military. Just before the green flag at the only Saturday night race in the Chase, fans will be asked to write messages of thanks to the military or share messages on social media using #TroopThanks. Bank of America will donate $1 per message of support.
Renew and Save: During Bank of America 500 weekend, fans who renew their tickets for 2016 will take home their choice of a free grill, blender, coffee pot, vacuum or socket set. Just $10 down reserves 2016 tickets. Tickets can be renewed at any Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket booth.
Great seats are still available for all three nights of action-packed excitement during Bank of America 500 weekend, and with weekend passes still available, fans can experience it all for as little as $99. To purchase tickets, camping and race-day upgrades, fans should call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.