How To Get To Charlotte Motor Speedway? [Updated!]

Looking for advice on how to get to a NASCAR race? Wondering where you should stay when you get there? Planning on what things to do and which to avoid? Wondering how to get around once you are there – and the list goes on?

The following article will provide you with some helpful tips and tricks on how to navigate the Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) area like a pro. It will cover everything from general information about the venue, to making the most of your tickets, to where to eat and drink once you get there. So, read on and get ready to impress your friends back home with your newfound knowledge!

The Basics

The basics are always important, especially when you are traveling somewhere new. First off, make sure that you are physically and mentally prepared for the travel to North Carolina – which means getting your plane tickets, hotel rooms, and eating as many Red Lights as possible. A lot of people get overwhelmed going to a new place and do not pay enough attention to the little things, which can ruin their entire trip. The following are some of the most important things you need to check before you leave:

Research The Place

Now that you are going to a new place, it is important to do your research on where you are going. For instance, if you are traveling to the US from abroad, then you will need to know how to navigate around once you get there. Thankfully, the good folks at Google made it easy for you by creating a glossary of terms specific to traveling in North Carolina. You can use the following key words and phrases when searching for information on Google or Bing:

  • visa
  • Green Light – indicating that you can enter the state without a problem
  • Yellow Light – indicating that you should consult a lawyer before driving in the area
  • Red Light – meaning that you should not even think about going there

This article will not cover traveling to North Carolina from abroad since it is already quite a bit complicated. The same applies for those who are going from one part of the state to another – you will not need to worry about the traffic, as most of the trips will be along Interstate-85 and I-77, the main arteries of the speedway. If you are not from the US, then you will need to learn the basics of getting a license, registering your car, and dealing with the cops to put this advice into practice – which we will get to in a bit.

License Plate Translation

Depending on where you are going to the NASCAR race, you will need to know the correct translation for the license plate. You want to make sure that the folks at the DMV know you are a foreigner and do not understand a word you are saying. Luckily, there is an easy fix for this problem: simply learn to spell it correctly!

Many tourists who come to CMS will not understand the language used on the racetrack. For example, the word “pole” is used quite often by the announcers and the fans in attendance – but it simply means “hubcap” in English. Another example is the word “transmission”; although it is a technical term used by gearheads, it simply means “change gear” in English.

The above examples are quite easy to remember and should not confuse you. Simply learn the basic rules of spelling and pronunciation, and you will be able to navigate CMS easily.


The parking lot at CMS is quite big but can still fit a few cars. The best advice for those who are trying to find a parking spot is to arrive early and park on the far side of the lot. Even then, it is likely that you will have to find a space somewhere near the back since the front lot is full.

Some of the above-mentioned lots have a fee associated with them but, for the most part, spots are available for free. Simply look for the designated spaces and you will not have to worry about finding a place to stay or eating out all the time. Even better, bring a friend who knows how to drive to help you find a spot – it will make the whole parking experience a lot more enjoyable.


Getting to a NASCAR race is quite an experience and it involves a lot of planning in advance – especially if you want to purchase tickets from an online source rather than the box office. First off, you need to look for the best possible seats; you can find this information on the official website of the speedway. In addition to that, make sure that you know the best time to purchase the tickets – which is as soon as they are made available. It is advisable to contact the CMS Ticket Office as soon as you know you will be attending the race; this way, you will have the option to purchase your tickets in advance – and you will not have to worry about finding a place to sit at the last minute. In most cases, the best time to buy tickets is about two weeks in advance – but you can get them far sooner if you know what website to visit.

Many large stadiums and concert venues offer VIP seating that is available only to a select few. Similarly, the King Cole Center – which is the current nickname for what was originally known as the Bobcats Spectrum – offers some of the best seats in the house, along with a variety of exclusive amenities, to anyone who purchases them. In some cases, you will have to pay a bit more money but, in general, it is quite worth it.

Another important thing to do when planning to attend a NASCAR event is to search for the best deals. You can always find many discounts – including some for children – which you should take advantage of. Most venues will give you free parking if you are driving a rental car – so do not forget to look for those kinds of discounts when making your reservations.


There are a number of options for getting around once you are at the Speedway. First off, the easiest way is to use one of the three parks that are located in the North Charlotte area. The closest one to the venue is Dilworth but, if you want to go to the NASCAR race itself, then you will need to go to the one on the northwest side of the speedway – that is, the Charlotte Motor Speedway North Hills Mall Park. You can take the Green Line bus #19 from the airport to the Parks and ride the trolley a little bit to get to places – but, once you are there, you will need a car to move around.

Another option for transportation is to take the North Meck bus from the airport directly to the Mall; from there, you can take the Green Line downtown to the North Hills Mall Park. When you get off the bus, look for the mall entrances marked “Bobcats arena” or “Bobcats spectrum” – they are next to each other and connect directly to the Mall.

Those who love to party can reach downtown Charlotte with the following route: take the Green Line to the Airport station then take the Blue Line to the Graham Street station. From there, it is only a couple of minutes to the Ballantyne station – the last stop before you reach the Mall. Finally, those who want to avoid traffic can take the limited-stop Purple Line bus directly to the airport. This option is quite convenient if you have lots of luggage since you will not have to worry about finding a parking spot once you land.

Last but not least, we have the Rail trail – a multi-use trail that runs through the South End of Charlotte between Dilworth and Ballantyne. This is a really cool way to get to the middle of the city without having to worry about traffic or parking – especially if you are bringing a bike with you. It is pretty flat and there are a lot of options for food and drink stations if you are cycling there. In addition, there is an option to purchase a souvenir t-shirt at the trailhead.

Drinking And Eating

There are a number of restaurants and bars around the stadium that are open for business during the week before the race. This means that you have the option to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, at the stadium. Simply choose your favorite cuisine and prepare to impress your friends at the end of the day.

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