Joe Gibbs Drivers To Participate In First-Ever Event
Arena Racing USA will open its inaugural, 15-race season in Charlotte, N.C., on Wed., Oct 11 at the Cricket Arena on Independence Blvd. Among the participants will be the three drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stable - Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley.
The champion of the inaugural Arena Racing USA season in Charlotte will be crowned after the season finale on March 31, 2007.
"Arena racing provides the most exciting, in-your-face motorsports action available," said Ricky Dennis, founder and CEO of Arena Racing USA. "It's affordable too. While the cost of other sporting and entertainment events continues to increase, beginning ticket prices for arena racing events are just $17 for adults and $7 for kids."
Tickets can be ordered by calling Ticketmaste,m.m,nr at 704-522-6500 or by going online to www.ticketmaster.com. Advanced sales of reserved seats are $22 while adult general admission is $17 and general admission for children age 12 and under is $7.
Pits open at 6 p.m. with pre-race activities beginning at 7 p.m. Cold garage access passes for adults and children can be purchased for only $25 at Interstate Batteries' All Battery Center on 717 South Kings Drive in Charlotte. Cold garage access lasts from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and immediately after the final event.
Arena Racing USA, which has been sanctioning indoor stock car races in Virginia since 2003 at the Hampton Coliseum and the Norfolk Scope, partnered with Joe Gibbs Racing earlier this year to expand arena racing to Charlotte.
Arena Racing USA features half-scale stock cars capable of 100 mph, but are confined to a 1/10th mile banked, indoor race track. The track is portable and fits inside the confines of a hockey rink.
JGR drivers (left to right) Tony Stewart, JJ Yeley and Denny Hamlin check out the inner workings of an Arena Racing machine. (CIA Stock Photos)
"I drove in the Arena Racing Series a few years ago in Norfolk," said Hamlin, a Virginia native. "I won a few features and also met Dale (Earnhardt) Jr., there. It was awesome.
"It's an ingenious idea and I like it a lot. It's not a matter of if arena racing is going to be successful. It's a matter of when. Needless to say, I'm pretty happy to be a part of bringing arena racing to Charlotte. It'll give others the opportunity to either begin their racing careers or just have the time of their lives."
Entertaining on its own virtue by way of its four qualifying races, four main races and a nightly "Top Dog" championship event, the Charlotte season-opener on Wed., Oct. 11 will pack even more excitement with the addition of Stewart, Hamlin and Yeley to the Arena Racing USA field.
"I love any kind of racing, but arena racing struck me as something that could really take off," said Stewart. "I've raced midgets and sprint cars indoors and there's definitely an added level of excitement. When I found out you could do the same thing with a half-scale stock car, but on a banked track with 13 other cars around you while making laps in under 10 seconds, I was in."
Yeley echoed those sentiments. "Just like Tony, I raced midgets and sprint cars in arenas during my USAC days. And he's right, it's a cool experience. Plus, you really hone your skills because there's not much room for error."
Those more interested in competing in an Arena Racing USA event rather than watching one can call 800-560-1166 or visit www.ArenaRacingUSA.com. Only a handful of slots remain in the 56-team field that will compete at Charlotte.
Arena Racing USA had made owning a race team - instead of just watching one - a reality.
Yeley will pilot a car in the inaugural race in Charlotte.