Where Is Charlotte Motor Speedway? [Solved!]

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re also a sports fan. Maybe you grew up watching NASCAR or you love the Kentucky Wildcats and attend every basketball game (even if it’s on the opposite side of the country).

No matter what your favorite team is, there’s one place you need to check out if you’re ever in North Carolina – Charlotte Motor Speedway. Known as the Mother Church of NASCAR, this iconic track is a must for any sports fan.

Here’s how to find it:

By Car

If you’re driving, the easiest way to get to Charlotte Motor Speedway is by taking Interstate 85 South. Once you reach the outskirts of Charlotte, keep right on the Interstate and take the exit for I-485 N (exit number 32). This will drop you off right next to the track. There’s a $10 fee per car for parking, so make sure you have some cash on hand. Paid parking is available in the garage, but it’s often full, especially on race days. As for the tickets – they’re not cheap. Adult tickets are $70, and you’ll need them to get into the venue. Children 5-12 and seniors 65+ get in for free.

If you’re not much of a driver, there are shuttles that will take you directly to the venue for $20 per person. You can also take the train from the airport ($11 one way) or the bus ($6 one way). The North Carolina Museum of Art and the Charlotte Performing Arts Society offer free combined tickets that get you into both venues – perfect for a concert, play or festival!

By Plane

If you’re flying in to Charlotte, you’ll need to go through the airport. It’s located in south Charlotte, in the suburb of Matthews. There are direct connections via Delta, United, and American Airlines. If you’re driving, there are a few options for you to take into consideration, as well. The airport is connected to Interstate 85 via Highway 58, so you can easily take the interstate to reach the speedway. If you have a rental car, you can use GPS to find the address directly. If not, you can ask the airport staff for help. They’re usually very attentive and helpful, especially if you have a limited time to spend in the area.

One good option is to take the Peter Pan Bus which stops right at the airport. You can get a roundtrip ticket for $30 (no tickets are sold on the day of travel; you need to book them in advance). The bus stop is right next to the terminal – just follow the signs. If you have a little one with you, be sure to bring a stroller.

A rental car is the most convenient way to get around. There are several car rental companies at the airport, making it easy to find what you need. Even better, most of the companies have carsharing programs where you can borrow a vehicle for the day. Driving in to Charlotte on a Friday night is not ideal, as there will be a lot of traffic. Try to avoid coming this way on race days, as well. Due to the large number of cars and fans, both police and parking control officers will be in the area, looking to fine tune and monitor traffic flow. Roads in and around the track remain closed to traffic after the race, so be sure to obey all traffic lights and signs.

By Boat

The Charlotte area is famous for its coastline, consisting of both the ocean and lakes. A good option for traveling to and from the track is via boat. You can rent a kayak or canoe at the local boat launch for a leisurely paddle down the Intracoastal Waterway to the Ocean Isle Marina. The two-mile paddle takes about an hour, and the scenery is beautiful. You can park your boat at the marina, spend some time on the water, and then continue your journey to the track. A roundtrip ticket will likely cost you $20-30, depending on the time of day and if there’s any wind or current. Bring your swimsuit and make sure your vehicle is equipped with a boat anchor. This is the best option if you want to reach the track early in the morning, as it will be dark when you arrive. After the race, the boats will be returning to their moorings, so you can continue your evening on the water.

By Bus

If you’re driving and want to avoid traffic, take the bus. The nearest Greyhound station is in Charlotte, and it’s relatively easy to get to from anywhere. Simply take I-85 South to exit number 22, and you’ll see a large parking lot. The bus stop is right in front of the entrance, making it easy to find. Buses run frequently and will take you directly to the speedway. One tip – if you’re going to the track, get the day pass, as it will save you a couple of bucks and avoid the long waiting time at the gate. You can also buy a day pass at the bus stop. For those traveling by bus, both airport and boat services are accessible from the Stop 53R bus stop located in Matthews. You can take the Peter Pan Bus (there’s also one directly from the airport) or the Blue Line (interstate) to this stop. From here, you can walk to the speedway, via a pedestrian bridge, or take a bus or taxi to the track.

By Rail

Another option for those traveling to the track by rail is the Amtrak. The Charlotte train station is located in the east part of the city, near the airport. It’s a quick five-minute walk from the station to the track. You can buy a day pass for $10 at the Amtrak station and save yourself the car ride. You can also take the Amtrak to Richmond, Virginia, and from there, continue on to the airport in Charlotte. This option is excellent if you’re flying out of the area in the evening, as it will be dark when you reach the airport. You can take the train to Union Station in downtown Charlotte and connect to the monorail, which will take you directly to the speedway. This option is not available on race days, as it would be too many people traveling on the rail network. If you’re coming from elsewhere and need to reach the airport, you’ll need to find a way to get to the nearest stop – in this case, Matthews.

By Air

Airports are a necessary evil, especially when you’re traveling internationally. In the coming years, the Charlotte Intl airport plans to build a new terminal, expanding its capacity from two runways to four. When the renovations are complete, it will be the third-largest airport in North Carolina. Besides, the airport is already operating at capacity, so additional runways are being considered, as well.

If you’re driving, here’s another option. Take the I-485 North exit and turn right onto Airport Road. Follow the signs for the airport and make a left at the first stop sign. Go through the terminal and continue on the airport access road. Follow the signs for I-85 South and take the exit. You can find a rental car at the airport, making it easy to get around. You’ll need to return the car in the same way you came, as there are no direct connections to the interstate.

Getting Around

To reach the Speedway, you’ll need to take either the Airport Express (subway) or the Blue Line (light rail). These are both downtown to Uptown services. The Airport Express runs from 5am to midnight and stops at all the important destinations, including the airport. The Blue Line runs only during the day, linking the Airport Express stop at the airport with the North Carolina Museum of Art and the 9:30 Club.

Nearby Attractions

If you have the time, make sure to check out some of the attractions near the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Sports Arena at Matthews is a multipurpose building that hosts many events, including concerts, circuses, monster truck rallies, monster truck exhibitions, and more. The South Carolina Aquarium is an interesting spot for kids and adults alike. It houses more than 10,000 animals (more than 500 on exhibit at any given time) and is a great place to take the family for an educational day. Another option is the Mint Museum, which exhibits the work of contemporary artists and focuses on American art; it’s a great place to learn more about the history of the United States. Finally, the Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, is another major location, featuring live music every weeknight and every weekend day. This venue regularly hosts big-name musicians performing in the United States. To get there, take the I-85 South to exit number 29 – Davie Street, and make a left. Follow the signs for the stadium and take the elevator to the top.

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