Region gears up for May races in Concord


May 2. The May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway bring with them a month’s worth of entertainment opportunities in the Golden Crescent, courtesy of the 600 Festival Association.

“May is going to be huge for everyone in this region,” said Jacqueline Gafrarar, executive director of the 600 Festival. “It should be a fun and entertaining month for everyone locally and the thousands of visitors who come to town for the races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”

While attendance at the race themselves may be down, ancillary events like Speed Street in Uptown bring upwards of 250,000 visitors who spend money wherever they go.

The 600 Festival has helped celebrate the May racing events at Charlotte Motor Speedway for 30 years. Visitors descend on the Golden Crescent which encompasses the motorsports region from Kannapolis and Concord to Mooresville, Cornelius and Huntersville.

It all starts May 4 with Movies on the Campus, a family-friendly, free evening in Kannapolis. Held in conjunction with a barbecue festival called Jiggy with the Piggy, this year’s feature is “Cars 3” beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Military members during the NASCAR Monster Energy Coke 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC on May, 28, 2017. (HHP/Barry Cantrell)

The fun continues May 5 with the Zucchini 600, a competition to see who can build the fastest, most creative and nutritious cars out of—you guess it—zucchini. The Zucchini 600 takes the green flag at noon with youngsters from the region competing in two age groups, 9-and-under and 10-to-14.

The celebration of racing moves to Concord two weeks later for the Haulers on Union Parade and Fan Fest presented by Freightliner on May 17. More than 30 colorful NASCAR haulers will parade through downtown Concord on the way to Charlotte Motor Speedway. There will also be live music from the Tim Clark Band before and after the parade, celebrity appearances, autograph sessions, games and show cars.

Engines will be fired on May 22 with the Little 600 at the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville as some of NASCAR’s top drivers battle each other in go-karts. There also will be a race between spotters, the folks who serve as a second set of eyes for drivers from high above NASCAR tracks. Former Little 600 winners include Ryan Blaney, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Corey LaJoie.

The 600 Festival hits high gear when Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola begins in uptown Charlotte on May 24 for three days of music, food, games, autographs, interactive displays and much more.

There will be appearances by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Daniel Suarez on May 25, and Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin on May 26.

There will be a series of free concerts on the Mello Yello stage, at the corner of Stonewall Street and Tryon Street featuring national acts along with regional artists, highlighted by Howard Hewett on May 24, Gump Fiction on May 25 and Chairmen of the Board on May 26

There will be three star-studded nights of entertainment on the Coca-Cola stage in Romare Bearden Park, featuring Judah & the Lion May 24, Chase Rice and Easton Corbin May 25 and Dustin Lynch and Brett Young May 26. Tickets for concerts on the Coca-Cola stage may be purchased at

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