Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the most famous race tracks in the world. With an amazing speedway and lots of action, it’s no wonder that this place is so popular.
Though it is most famous for its racing events, this track has a lot more to offer. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is located here, as well as the NASCAR Hall of Champions. Plus, with lots of seating options and tasty food and refreshments available, there’s no excuse not to bring the family.
The history of the track starts in 1926 when Carl Albert and Ben Hill started assembling a race track in Charlotte. After some trial and error, they finally found the right combination: a high-banked oval with natural asphalt and a large grandstand. Albert also built an inn and put in a swimming pool. His grand plan: to hold a summer tournament that would feature motorcycle speedsters. Unfortunately, the Great Depression hit and the track only held 4 races that year. In 1933, the track was bought by the city and eventually made into an official public park.
The next year, the track held its first official NASCAR race. After that, business took off and in 1940 they decided to add some features to the track. A tri-oval and a figure-8 layout were constructed, as well as a 400-meter track for motorbikes. The track underwent a major renovation in 1965 which included installing an additional grandstand, changing the name to Charlotte Motor Speedway and adding lights.
By 1973, the track’s seating capacity was 40,000. There are currently a few seats still available, so if you’d like to go to a NASCAR race live, you may have to buy them from a scalper. Back in those days, there were no tickets available, so people started camping out for days just to get a good view of the race.
Once you buy your ticket, you will find yourself in the stands along side the track. It is probably the best location for high-school students looking for a good view of the cars and the people. There are lots of picnic tables and food trucks serving up BBQ and hot dogs. If you sit in the same section each year, you may get a free bottle of wine or a free pizza. Though it is not officially a part of the speedway, the Millionaires’ Row is immediately adjacent to the start/finish line. It is where all the drivers, owners, and their families, as well as the rich and famous sit in the front row. There is also a paddock area where horses are stabled during the race. It is usually filled with celebrities, politicians, and business leaders.
The track is famous for its high-banked oval. Though the turns are not incredibly sharp, they do have camber (a bump) which makes for an interesting driving experience.
Even if you have a bad driver’s attitude, you may still have a good time at this track. There is a wide range of cars, from classic stock cars to the latest Cup machines. Though speedway racing is known for its dangerous nature, it is a lot of fun when you’re not hurting yourself.
What really makes this track special is the oval. Though it is quite a small oval compared to other tracks, it has a unique aesthetic to it. The entire front stretch is flanked by two massive pines trees, nicknamed the Wall of Fear and the Wall of Hurt. These are colloquially known as the two green walls, and it is said that if you run into them during the race, you will surely experience bad luck. It is also where the term “sprinting the wall” came from. It is dangerous because the cars are moving fast and it is hard to see where you’re going. It was first used in motorcycle racing in the 1930s and it eventually caught on with stock car racing. While driving towards the green walls, the cars are supposed to perform a maneuver called a slingshot which involves skidding through a series of turns before arriving at the straightaway. This results in a higher level of speed and force than usual, causing the car a huge amount of wear and tear.
It was also at the oval that Dale Earnhardt, who is often credited with revolutionizing NASCAR, died in 2001. His car left the track at an excessive speed upon exiting turn 4 and collided with a tree. Though it was a terrible accident, it was also a pivotal moment for NASCAR, as they made safety a priority and began changing the sport for the better.
The Rest Of The Complex
The speedway is made up of several other buildings. These include the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Charlotte Convention Center, and the Belmont Abbey Museum. There are also several restaurants and bars inside the complex. Though portions of the complex are not accessible to the general public, its proximity to Uptown Charlotte makes it an easy hop for locals and tourists alike. Additionally, the area around the track is teeming with restaurants, bars, and fast food joints. The entire area is a hubbub of activity during the day, but at night it turns into a ghost town, as people head for home.
Though it is not on the same scale as some other tracks, Charlotte Motor Speedway is certainly a step up from the little local races. With lots of twists and turns, some jumps, and even an old mine shaft, this place is a roller coaster ride you will never forget. There are lots of famous faces in the racing world, with the biggest names competing in the big sports car races. Though it is not one of the original ‘tri-oval’ tracks, it is still one of the premier tracks in the country. The biggest names in the sport fly off to Europe for the night before the big race, so the fans here get to see some great drives, crashes, and near-misses. It is a tradition for teams to make a pit stop at the local barbershop before the race, and the hairdressers get to see a racing car while they’re cutting hair. The fans are very close to the action, so it is very easy for them to get a sense of what’s going on. Though it is a bit of a nuisance to spectators and the drivers, everyone still looks forward to the annual Labor Day Longshot Shootout, as it is one of the more unique races on the circuit. The winning driver of the race gets a beautiful glass trophy, and lots of bragging rights.
There is so much history here, it is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in NASCAR or motorcycle racing. Though it is most famous for its racing events, this place is so much more than that. If you love cars and motorcycles, you can’t miss out on seeing this iconic structure.