If you’re going to upcoming NASCAR races at Charlotte, Pocono or Sonoma, come hungry and bring your appetite.
The three races will serve as qualifying events for the big daddy of hot dog eating contests, the July 4 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating contest at Nathan’s Famous on Brooklyn’s (N.Y.) Coney Island.
The first NASCAR-themed qualifier will be on May 24, the day before the Coca-Cola 600. But instead of taking place at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the event will be part of the Speed Street celebration in downtown Charlotte.
The second NASCAR-themed qualifying event will be at Pocono Raceway on June 7, and the third and final qualifier will be at Sonoma Raceway on the morning of June 22, just a few hours before the start of that day’s scheduled Toyota/SaveMart 350 Sprint Cup race.
“This will be a terrific, entertaining element to add to the NASCAR party this year,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. “We are excited to bring this to our fans in Northern California and know it will be a great addition to our weekend.”
All told, there are 13 qualifying events for the overall eat-off on July 4. The male and female contestant who eats the most hot dogs at each qualifier will be headed to the Big Apple to be part of the final field for the big contest.
If you think you, your appetite and stomach all have what it takes, go to NathansFamous.com for more information and instructions on how to register.
But be forewarned: the reigning champ is Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., who holds the Nathan’s record of downing 69 hot dogs — yes, you read that right, 69! — and buns, as well, in 10 minutes in last year’s championship event. Chestnut has won the event each of the last seven years.
It’s not like we’re counting, but that translates into nearly seven hot dogs per minute, or one every eight-plus seconds.
Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, Va., won the female class last year, downing 36 3/4 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
Those interested in competing in a Nathan’s Famous qualifier should visitwww.nathansfamous.com to obtain information and register. All competitors must be over 18 years of age.
Official Listing of 2014 Nathan’s Famous Qualifiers:
April 26: Las Vegas, NV (New York-New York Hotel & Casino)
May 3: Houston, TX (Memorial Mall)
May 17: St. Louis, MO (Busch Stadium)
May 24: Charlotte, NC (Speed Street celebration)
May 31: Bloomingdale, IL (Kmart)
June 1: St. Paul, MN (Dixie’s Stage, 695 Grand Avenue)
June 7: Long Pond, PA (Pocono Raceway)
June 7: Savannah, GA (River Street)
June 15: Queens, NY (Citifield Plaza)
June 21: Boston, MA (Government Center)
June 21: East Rutherford, NJ (State Fair Meadowlands)
June 22: Sonoma, CA (Sonoma Raceway)
June 29: Cleveland, OH (Crocker Park Shopping Center)
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