The zMAX Dragway is a state-of-the-art four-lane drag strip, located on 125 acres (51 ha) of speedway property across U.S. Highway 29 from the main superspeedway. It was built in 2008 involving a total of 1,876 workers and a combined 636,000 man hours. With 300 workers on site daily working an average 11-hour shift, a 13-month construction project turned into a 6-month one. At one point during construction, concern by nearby residents led Concord city council to rezone land the drag strip was being built on, preventing it from being built. Following the decision Smith threatened to close Charlotte Motor Speedway and build a track elsewhere in Metrolina. When asked if he would go through with the threat Smith replied “I am deadly serious”. After a month of negotiations, the issue was settled and, instead of the speedway closing, Smith announced $200 million worth of improvements including road and highway improvements, as well as noise attenuation for the drag strip. The drag strip officially opened on August 20, 2008, and a public open house was held a few days later. The first NHRA event was held September 11–14, 2008.
The dragway features the first of two all-concrete, four-lane drag strips in the United States. (The track was the only four-lane track of its kind from 2008 until the spring of 2018, when renovations were completed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, converting its dragstrip into a four-lane configuration.) The starting line tower is 34,000 square feet (3,200 m2) and includes 16 luxury suites, race control areas and a press box. Two grandstands, one on either side of the strip, can hold a combined 30,000 spectators. Twenty-four luxury suites with hospitality accommodations are located above the main grandstand. Two tunnels run underneath the strip to enhance fan mobility between the two grandstands.
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