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zMAX Dragway To Host MXGP

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, January 21 2016
Marcus Smith led the way in landing MXGP. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

Marcus Smith led the way in landing MXGP. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – When Monster Energy MXGP of the Americas rolls into zMAX Dragway Labor Day weekend it will mark the culmination of nearly two years of work by Speedway Motorsports Inc. executives to bring professional motocross to the Charlotte area.

SMI CEO Marcus Smith said Tuesday night that people began talking with him about bringing a motocross event to the Charlotte area four or five years ago.

“Then about two years ago we got serious about it,” Smith said. “Preliminary discussions began and that led us to MXGP and YouthStream (owner of MXGP). We did some on-going due diligence and here we are today.”

Smith declined to provide specifics of the contract, but said “if it goes well, then we will see more.”

For the Sept. 2-3 event, Smith said more than 50,000 square yards of dirt will be hauled into the dragway to make the 1-mile course across the facility’s four lanes. Construction on the course will begin after the April 22-24 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. It will feature 15 jumps, 12 tight turns and seven switchbacks in addition to straightaways where speeds are expected to exceed 55 mph.

“We felt zMAX Dragway was the right venue because the way the stadium is designed with grandstands on both sides and the tower at the center, it gave us the best opportunity to provide an enjoyable experience for the fans,” Smith said. “We’ve got huge pit areas where we can have interactives, garages, all sorts of things that we can activate around for the weekend. It also provides fantastic camera angles for television.”

The MXGP World Championship is the premiere Motocross Championship in the world. The series is run on 18 tracks in Europe, the United States, Qatar, Thailand, Argentina and Mexico from February through September with the Motocross Energy Motorcross of Nations closing the eight-month season. The MXGP World Championship has its roots in Europe where it was established in 1957 by the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme.

The best Motocross riders from 16 countries are expected to compete in the inaugural Charlotte event.

Tickets for the event begin at $59 for weekend tickets and two-day paddock passes. Special hotel offers for the event are available as is camping in adjacent lots with ticket purchases. For more information, go to www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/tickets/mxgp/.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, January 21 2016
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