NHRA looks to impress fans with hospitality at ZMAX Dragway

- Racing returned to Cabbarus County this weekend, but it wasn't at the NASCAR oval. Instead it was over at ZMAX Dragway for NHRA's most unique event of the season.

"It's a sensory overload. The sights, the sounds, the smells. You feel it. You feel it in your core," said race fan, Bruce Stansel.

That ground shaking feeling fans of the NHRA experience is only amplified at ZMAX Dragway with four cars tearing down the drag strip at once. Fans say the thrill of the sport, stretches far beyond the grandstand.

"This sport here has more of a grassroots feel. The driver access is like no other. The race ticket is a pit pass, like they love to say here," said Stansel.

Within the fan friendly pit area, you're more likely to see a driver signing autographs than sitting in their motorhome. Among the most crowded spots is the John Force Racing camp, where daughters Courtney and Brittany Force are now behind the wheel.

"The reason why NHRA drag racing is so popular is because the access the fans get. They can get up close and personal, meeting drivers, see these guys tear an engine apart and rebuild it," said Brittany Force.

But of course, no raceday is complete without a tailgate experience. That's where chefs like Adam Stevens come in. He is a former restaurant chef who is now traveling to the racetrack, preparing enough food to feed more than 700 fans.

"What I think of is trying to bring a piece of home to the race track. It's not just cooking food and burgers. It's trying to make the whole experience like going to a restaurant. You really want to make them feel comfortable and make them feel invited and at home," said Stevens.

The NHRA will return here in the fall, but they will be racing 2 wide instead of the four wide we saw this weekend.

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