When Was Charlotte Motor Speedway Built? [Fact Checked!]

Many people probably know about Charlotte Motor Speedway, considering it is the site of the famous NASCAR race every year. If you’re one of these people, then you probably know that the iconic arena was built in 1937 and was originally named the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, after the sporting goods company that sponsored the race. What you may not know is that the place is actually older than that. In fact, it was previously known as the South Carolina State Fair Grounds.

The history of the speedway starts in 1896, when John W. Ball, the founder of the North Carolina Railroad, decided to establish a train stop in the south part of the state. At the time, the city of Charlotte was still in its infancy, having only recently been annexed by the state, and Ball wanted to capitalize on the growing popularity of train travel by hosting an annual race between famous sports car manufacturers. He contacted Henry Ford, who was at the time the head of the Ford Motor Company, and convinced him to lend his support and name to the new venture.

But it wasn’t just about the cars. The 1896 race attracted huge crowds, with fans coming from all over the Southeast to attend the event. In those days, people traveled much more by train than they do today, so the idea of a state-wide event with a large spectator section was groundbreaking.

Twenty years later, in 1916, the track was renamed in honor of its legendary driver and coach, Richard Rodgers, and in subsequent years it became a mecca for auto racing fans. During this time, improvements were made to the track and its grandstands, which was expanded in 1939, 1957, and 1975. In 1975, the track was actually taken over by the state and reorganized into a public authority, which still operates it today.

What Were The Grandstands Like In The 30’s?

In the 1930’s, the grandstands at Charlotte had a unique design that was inspired by English sports arenas, with a few elements of the Renaissance thrown in for good measure. With brick walls rising three or four stories high, each stand featured an English ivy design wrapped around the outside, accented with red brick and white stone trim along with green railings.

The track itself had an English-style cricket green and was surrounded by lush emerald and khaki-colored grass. If you looked down from the bleachers, you’d see a five-point brown and white racing stripe, which is still used today as the dividing line between the pit rows and the outfield. In addition, there was a large scoreboard at the top of the main grandstand.

How Does The New Track Feel?

Since its opening, Charlotte Motor Speedway has maintained its distinctive look with only a few renovations. In 1999, a $27 million project turned the track into an environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art venue, boasting the most sophisticated sound and lighting technology.

The most noticeable difference is the transition area between the track and the outfield. On the inside, the stands are still constructed with brick walls and English ivy designs, while the outer walls feature a smooth cement surface with a yellow and green metal roof. In addition, video boards have been placed in the four corners of the track, replacing the large scoreboards that used to line the wall. These boards display video footage from all angles, making it much easier for fans to follow the action.

Does The New Track Have Anything New To Offer?

Besides being a gorgeous sports arena, Charlotte Motor Speedway also offers a unique tourist attraction, with fans able to follow the entire history of the sport, from its early days in the 1800’s, all the way up to the present.

If you visit during the week, it’s not uncommon to see kids playing in the grass behind home plate. On Saturdays, when the seats are made available for public sale, you’ll see fans of all ages in the stands. Some come from as far away as South Korea and Japan, while others are lucky enough to call North Carolina their home.

In the grandstands now, you’ll notice interactive displays about the history of the sport and even catch a glimpse of some old-school racing. In the past, these displays would’ve been housed in the individual stands, but with the advent of the internet, fans can access all the information they need from the convenience of their seats.

In recent years, it’s become popular for teams and businesses to hold press conferences in the stadium before important races, showcasing their drivers and the latest trends in sportswear. In 2020, the Charlotte Motor Speedway is set to become the location for the official NCAA Men’s Track And Field Championship. With a capacity crowd of 10,000, the stands will once again be packed with people.

So, when was Charlotte Motor Speedway built? And what was it like in its heyday? This yearning for the past is made possible by the new, premium seating areas at the track. With a capacity crowd of 10,000, the stands will once again be packed with people.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!