What Exit Is Charlotte Motor Speedway? [Expert Review!]

Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) is one of the most popular motorsports venues in the United States. It is located in North Carolina and was opened in October 1960. The track is owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. As the name suggests, it is a speedway, which is a racing track with two long straights and a variety of turns and chicanes. The track measures 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and has a capacity of over 200,000. It was the original home of the prestigious Winston Cup Series (now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series), and it still hosts numerous NASCAR events each year.

The Grandest Of Grand Ole Opry Festivals

CMS is best known for its annual Grand Ole Opry Festival, which takes place over a three-day period in May. It is one of the most prestigious music festivals in the country. It was started in 1928 and named after the famous American musical group, the “Grand Ole Opry.” The famous Opry House, which houses the headquarters of the Grand Ole Opry, is located just a few minutes away from the speedway. It is actually one of the biggest country music venues in the world. Every year, the festival welcomes hundreds of thousands of people and features some of the biggest names in country music. The last Opry Festival was held from May 4 to May 6, 2020, and will return on May 5 and 6, 2021.

A few years ago, the speedway was forced to cancel the Opry Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time in its 86-year history that the festival was canceled. Fortunately, the pandemic didn’t kill the festival, and it was able to return in May 2020. Thousands of people flocked to the Opry House to celebrate the return of the festival. This year, the festival will celebrate its 90th anniversary. It will reportedly feature performances by Greta Van Fleet, Travis Scott, and Kacey Musgraves. While the grandest of Grand Ole Opry Festivals will return in May 2021, it will be restricted to virtual events for the time being.

NASCAR’s “Motherlode”

The Nashville Predators hockey team plays their home games at the arena located near the exit of the speedway. This is because the team’s owner, Craig Leipold, is a huge NASCAR fan who owns a number of cars, trucks, and helmets in the NASCAR garage. The Nashville Predators did not want to play on a smaller ice surface, which is the case in some smaller arenas. Moreover, the team is called the “Predators,” and one of the arena’s features is a sculpture of a snake in the middle of the ice. Some people have claimed that the sculpture is inspired by “The Snake” meme that originated in a 2014 Grand Ole Opry video.

CMS is also the home of the Charlotte Hornets, who have played their games at the arena located adjacent to the speedway since their NBA franchise began in 2005. The arena opened in 2012 and hosts several concerts and other sporting events throughout the year. It has a capacity of around 18,000.

The NASCAR Hall Of Fame

The NASCAR Hall of Fame is situated on the north side of the speedway and was opened in July 2014. It is a repository of racing memorabilia that honors the “greatest drivers in the history of the sport.” It has a permanent display that shows the evolution of race cars and the individuals who drove them. It also has a section devoted to the “greatest moments in NASCAR history.” Visitors can walk around and snap photos with the famous drivers’ car number plates, which are all signed by the drivers themselves. It also features several interactive displays that allow you to learn more about the sport’s history. One of the most intriguing aspects of the museum is the opportunity to walk inside a real race car and feel what it was like to drive on a race track.

The Speedway Store

The south side of the speedway is home to another major attraction: the Speedway Store. It is located near the exit and is one of the sport’s biggest souvenir shops. The store opened in the 1970s and is one of the few remaining brick-and-mortar ballparks that were once common in the sport. It mainly deals in memorabilia of motorsports’ past, and its shelves are filled with race flags, helmets, jackets, visors, and program books from the sport’s golden age. The store’s walls are filled with autographed photos of famous drivers, and its floor is covered with trophies and medallia. There are also several display cases filled with vintage race cars. Moreover, a section of the store is dedicated to the “greatest moments in NASCAR history,” and it contains over a hundred historical racing items, including vintage helmets, race suits, and car number plates. The store’s manager, Richard Childress, has said that they receive hundreds of letters each month from fans, reminding them of the store’s rich history. Sadly, the store was closed to the public due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, but it has since reopened.

The Hall Of Fame Plaza

Another notable structure on the south side of the speedway is the Hall of Fame Plaza, which is situated in front of the grandstand. It houses the North Carolina Aquarium, the Carolina Museum of Art, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The structure’s design is inspired by the “S” curve of a race track. It also features a clock tower, an observation deck, a food court, and two museums. It was designed to be a “forever” home for the Hall of Fame, but it has since become one of the city’s most historic structures, due to its unique design and interesting history.

The Outdoor Café

Just a few minutes walk from the Hall of Fame Plaza is another interesting structure: the Outdoor Café. It is actually a covered outdoor area that is home to one of the speedway‘s most iconic eateries, the Cotton Patch Cafe. The café, which also has locations in Greenville, Spartanburg, and Winston-Salem, is best known for its fried chicken, hush puppies, and catfish. Its distinctive yellow and green colors match those of the Atlanta Braves baseball team. The café has been around since the track opened in 1960 and is a must for any race fans visiting the facility.

The Grandstand

The grandstand was built in 1960 and is one of the most iconic structures at the speedway. It is a single-tiered, horseshoe-shaped structure that curves around the entire track. Its walls are covered with thousands of feet of LED screens that show the action on the track. The seats face the screen and are covered with over 15,000 plush seats. In addition, the structure is home to the popular “Hillbilly Jim” statue, which depicts a smiling horse trader with a pitchfork. The grandstand is considered by many to be the speedway‘s “heart.” It is where all of the important announcements are made and where most of the major events take place.

The Richard Petty Store

The Richard Petty Store is located across from the grandstand and is named after one of the most prolific NASCAR founders. It opened in May 2016 and offers visitors a range of products, including personalized jerseys, hats, and T-shirts. It also sells a variety of merchandise featuring the famous “King Richard” epithet, as well as the number plates of various racing cars. It also contains memorabilia dedicated to Richard Petty, whose career spanned over 40 years and who won over 300 races and 15 championships. It’s one of the few remaining souvenir shops at the speedway, and it’s a must for any fan. Unfortunately, the store was closed to the public due to COVID-19 guidelines limiting retail business activity.

Other Attractions

In addition to the attractions mentioned above, there are several other structures and events that are worth your while. These include the “Budweiser Garage”, which is located near the center of the speedway and is open to the public; the Budweiser Clydesdales, which are the official “beer partners” of NASCAR and often race alongside the beer company’s cars; and the “Rockingham Raceway Complex”, which is located near the exit and allows visitors to drive their own cars around a 1/4-mile track. The complex also features the National Museum of Racing and Industry and the National Car Museum. There are also several bars and restaurants at the venue, which are open to the public.

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