Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day at the Races - zMax Dragway Grand Opening

Burning rubber, white smoke, nitro fumes and 30,000 plus fans and smiles were at the grand opening of the zMax Dragway in Concord, NC. This exquisite state of the art facility has set a new standard for drag racing. Owner and developer Bruton Smith nicknamed this raceway, "The Bellagio of Drag Racing." One could only feel that this new track and its innovations are going to lead this sport into the major leagues of racing as far as television exposure and media coverage.

The track has state of the art communications for track officials and press, an innovative 4 lanes instead of two, to be able to run preliminaries in a lot less time. This small innovation goes against the history of drag racing, so it was no small feat for the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) to approve this change.

I have spoken to drivers, NHRA fans, team executives, vendors and other experienced pros and they concur that this track now sets the standard.

The main difference between NHRA drag racing and NASCAR is pit access and access to the drivers. I was able to just walk down an area of the pits and had an opportunity to meet Melanie Troxell, one of the top women drivers of the sport and one of the few names I had known before today. In a day when sports stars are kept away from fans this is a luxury.

In spite of the gas prices and economy, 30,000 fans showed up, many driving more than a few hundred miles in their RV's and campers to stay right on the grounds. Again, one of the fun things to do with your group of friends.

There are many classes of racing from funny cars to motor cycles the the Nitro injected dragsters raced by pros Tony Schumacher, Doug Herbert and Hillary Will (some of the drivers, I had a chance to personally meet before race day).

There is an adrenaline rush which is equivalent to watching a rocketship take off, part fascination combined with a powerful rush of sound and fury. No matter who you are, the sensory experience is nothing you can imagine unless you are there on the track.

After a few hours at zMax, NHRA has found a new fan!. Great job! SMI! and NHRA! You set a new standard with your vision.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Kyle Busch, #1 NASCAR Driver (left) and Tony Schumacher #1 Drag Racer (Right) at the starting Line at zMax Dragway. Kyle Busch upset Tony Schumacher winning 3 of 3 heats.

After this race, I had the opportunity to drive the red Toyota accelerating to 90+ MPH in less a quarter mile.

(Photo credit: Lowes Motor Speedway).

Showdown at the zMax Dragstrip

Well, PT Barnum would have been proud of the folks over at the new zMax Dragway. They arranged what easily could have been a pay per view event, the top NASCAR driver, Kyle Busch vs. the top Drag racer, Tony Schumacher in a best of 3 drag race.

At the press conference promoting the zMax Nationals and the Bank of America 500. The race, the two drivers, were both reflecting on their remarkable seasons and the focus and determination of their teams. Tony Schumacher, who has not lost a race since June, was not only thankful for his season but being able to share it with his family. He realized success can be fleeting and is thoroughly enjoying the journey.

They also realized in their sport the playoffs are about to start and what they have done in the regular season is the prelude to the real part of the season Chase for the Cup (NASCAR) and Countdown to One (NHRA).

When Kyle Busch was asked about what he knew about drag racing.."Start when the light turns yellow". That was the coaching tip that Tony Schumacher gave to him.

Tony Schumacher had set the Top Fuel records for wins having won 6 races in a row and 11 of 18 races. You would think he had a distinct advantage in this race.

As Kyle and Tony lined up their red and white Toyotas, you would have bet that Tony would have won the first race. As they headed down the quarter mile track and over the finish line the lights came up and Kyle had won. They lined up for heat number two, again a new rivalry seemed to be forming...down the strip they went with the engines so loud on the modified Camrys. Again, Busch won. So he gave Tony a 3rd try. You would think the new all time NHRA winner would be steaming for a win. So the lights went from Red to Yellow to Green....Kyle Busch smoked him. With good humor, they both seemed to enjoy this.

Busch discussed how the adrenaline must flow going down a track at 300 plus miles an hour in less than 5 seconds. He was used to driving for a few hours an 5oo miles for a win.

After they raced, I had a chance to hop in the red Camry and race my photographer, Maurice. He got off to a great start and about halfway down the track I caught up and won with my speedometer showing about 90 mph. I am ready for you Kyle.

The zMax Nationals will be held from Sept 11 to Sept 14th. The Bank of America 500 is in October at Lowes Motor Speedway.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Coinjars - Send me a penny

I am working on a new project called Coinjars which is social media currency for Facebook. You can sign up for free under applications in Facebook. If you add an account, I will send you some a penny so you can see it really works.

The facebook is just one application. We are working with a few non-profits and other organizations to teach them how they might use this. We will be creating marketing around this area.

You can also read about how this system works at

Back to Blogging

I took the month of August off from blogging for the 2nd year in a row. Now time to catch up. Over the past few months, my ventures in social media continue to grow. In July, I launched LinktoMotorsports which is now the #2 Motorsports group on LinkedIn and has some of the leading drivers, marketing execs and league owners.

I also created the group called LinktoCharlotte in June 2007. This group has now grown to over 750 members and it is now time to create some events around this group.

It was my privelege to work with Singer/Songwriter Nicola to help promote her quest as the top subway/underground performer on the MSG (Madison Square Garden) network's soundtrack show. She made it all the way to the semi-finals. What a journey it was for her. I was glad to be part of that.

The zMax dragway was built about 10 minutes from my office and I had the opportunity to attend press events and drive a fast Toyota Camry down the track.

One of my favorite projects was coinjars, which is a new payment system via iCoins (social media Currency). We are promoting this within the facebook community. This has the opportunity to turn into a great product for non-profits, students, musicians and writers.