Charlotte, North Carolina for NASCAR and Racing Attractions
Charlotte Motor SpeedwayThe Charlotte Motor Speedway features all kinds of racing including two huge NASCAR events each year: Memorial Day weekend in late May and again in mid-October, but some kind of racing is always in the area. The dirt track racing and dragstrips are always popular. And that track is near the big Motor Speedway. It seems all of Cabarrus County and much of Charlotte are into racing, and fans are everywhere. This is where racing LIVES. You could even pass your favorite driver on the street, or find yourself eating beside a pitcrew member at a restaurant, or worship beside them with their families at one of the local churches.
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NASCAR Hall of FameIn downtown Charlotte you can learn all about racing and have a great day doing all the fun interactive things at the amazing new NASCAR Hall of Fame. Watch films about the history of racing on country roads and farms - enjoy learning about Dale Earnhardt's father Ralph, known for his field races as a teen and beyond. When the popularity of racing increased, professional tracks were developed, and sponsors began supporting these events Ralph was one of the stars. Over the years racing has become safer and safer. Fatalities still occur, but because of the research into the physics of a crash, fewer drivers on the track are injured even in the most impressive smash-ups. The Hall of Fame does a great job explaining these advances -- how cars and drivers can stay safe when it seems everything is flying apart as they hit a wall or each other. The same scientific research that keeps them safe makes our own cars safer. Some of the innovations that we use today include disc brakes, safety strap seat belts, front-ends which accordion on impact, better fuel consumption, stronger tires that don't blow out, steel cages around occupants within the automobile structure, better shock absorbers, durability of chassis, cooling system of the engine, lighter but stronger materials for engine block and car body, aerodynamics of car shape, and many more features.
Dale EarnhardtHis son Dale Earnhardt is immortalized on the DaleTrail through Cabarrus County. Follow the trail to places he frequented before his sad death in a crash in February 2001 in the Daytona 500. Don't miss the Dale Earnhardt Tribute statute is in Kannapolis, near the old Idiot's Circle, where Earnhardt learned how to drive.
Hendrick Motorsports Museum DisplayIn 1984, Rick Hendrick founded All-Star Racing with one NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup) team and only five full-time employees. After some major wins the company was renamed Hendrick Motorsports in 1985 and today it is a huge 430,000 square foot plant located on Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties. At Hendrick Motorsports many full-time employees build and maintain the cars of four full-time teams in NASCAR's top division: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Although the manufacturing plant is off limits to the public, you can visit their museum display room where you can see fascinating memorabilia and cars they have built. The museum and store are really interesting place and the best place to purchase official souvenirs of their drivers. Hendrick MotorSports Center and Racecar Shop and Museum.
Roush Fenway Racing and Earnhardt Ganassi RacingIf you want to see your favorite team cars up close, head to Roush Fenway Racing, and to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Take a self-guided tour of each team's most famous stock cars, sports car exhibits, historical photos and championship trophy displays, shop in their stores. Many other car plants and facilities are in the area and open to the public. Learn more at Cabarrus County Convention and Visitor Bureau.
Motorsports Combined with Art and MusicAnd you MUST visit Sam Bass Gallery, the official NASCAR artist who has painted many of the famous posters related to these events. His Gallery is at 6104 Performance Dr SW, Concord. He is a legendary artist and the first one officially licensed by NASCAR. At his gallery you can see over 300 of his famous pieces of art and learn other aspects of the history of the paint schemes used by the teams. His gallery also includes his collection of rock and roll memorabilia and is across the street from Charlotte Motor Speedway. At Mike Curb's Curb Museum of Motorsports & Music you'll find music history combined with NASCAR. The museum features a total of 27 cars, ranging from the #43 car Richard Petty drove to his 199th victory to singer LeAnn Rime's first car. The Curb drivers included Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, John Andretti and Joey Saldana, among others. Recording artists on the Curb label included Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes, Hank Williams Jr., Wynonna Judd and more.
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Bonnie Neely was the founder of RealTravelAdventures and still contributes articles on a regular basis. Bonnie has been a professional travel writer for over thirty years and is published many times in every form of media.