Getting close to the fastest action in sports

 

 

Submitted by David Whisenant
Friday, September 13th, 2013, 5:21p

Pro Stock driver Jason Line warms his tires before a pass during testing at zMAX Dragway in preparation for the upcoming NHRA Carolina Nationals, Sept. 13-15. (Courtesy: CMS/Jonathan Coleman Photo)Pro Stock driver Jason Line warms his tires before a pass during testing at zMAX Dragway in preparation for the upcoming NHRA Carolina Nationals, Sept. 13-15. (Courtesy: CMS/Jonathan Coleman Photo)

CONCORD, NC (WBTV)- What can you do at a drag race that you can’t do at just about any other professional sport? You can closer to the team, the car, and the driver than in any other venue.

It’s one of the unique aspects of drag racing that have made it’s popularity increase over the years, and that’s especially true at the zMAX Dragway, hosting the Carlyle Hand Tools Carolina Nationals this weekend.

At a drag race you do have fans in the stands. It’s pretty exciting to watch these cars and driver hit some crazy speeds.

“My fastest speed when we were running quarter mile was 330.5, went 316 last weekend at Indy,” said drag racer Tim Wilkerson.

But you’ll also find a lot of fans back where the teams actually work on the race cars.

Look at it this way. In a NASCAR race drivers spend hours on the track and about 13 seconds on each pit stop, but in drag racing, each run on the track is 4 seconds, but hours are spent here, and fans can get right up on it.

“I see how fast they can take apart the cars and put them back together again,” Chris Pfeffer, 13, told WBTV.

The Pfeffers come from Orlando, Florida every year to see this race, and love the accessibility the sport offers.

“I think that’s one of the more unique parts of our sport, every event tickets gets you a pit pass and gets you this close to a driver,” Wilkerson added. “I get to sign a lot of autographs during a weekend and I really enjoy people so that’s kind of a fun part of it, a great experience for the fans.”

The biggest stars in the sport pose for pictures, and sign autographs, and fans love it. The pit pass aspect isn’t something fans pay extra for, it’s just part of the ticket price.

It’s a very specialized benefit of sport that not only sells speed, but also a chance to linger, for a few minutes, with the drivers and cars that are its backbone.

The Carlyle Hand Tool Carolina Nationals will roar through Sunday at zMAX Dragway.

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