The NASCAR Hall of Fame was an attraction that many different cities bid on but ultimately went to Charlotte, also known as the Queen City. NASCAR, which stands for the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing, started in a time when moonshiners had to outdrive “the law.” It’s since evolved into a sport that ranges from the beaches of Daytona, Florida to the pavement of Darlington, South Carolina. There are now NASCAR races nationwide.
The descendants of Bill France, Sr. have run the organization since 1947. While the headquarters of the organization are in Daytona Beach, they have an office in Charlotte and most of the racing teams are based here. I know very little about the racing culture, although it’s a major part of the Southern lifestyle.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive museum devoted to the sport. Upon entry, you receive a hard card as you would at a race, which tracks game scores, images and data from your visit. Start on the lowest level, where you’ll view a short film on the history of NASCAR in the High Octane Theater.
The Great Hall, the next level, has changing displays. During my visit, it was “Lights, Camera, NASCAR,” which depicted NASCAR in film as well as famous cars like Herbie the Love Bug and the cars from Thunder Road. On the Glory Road level, the ramp simulates the track. It also shows famous cars from the history of the sport and talks about each racecourse.
At the Hall of Honor, the most notable drivers and owners are represented as inductees into the hall of fame. A ceremony is held each year to honor them. In the Race Week exhibit, visitors can try their luck at changing tires and a driving simulator.
The Heritage Speedway has cases full of artifacts from the sport’s inception, from trophies to jackets and everything in between. My visit coincided with the Coca Cola 600 race, so it was an even better time to go.
If You Go
The NASCAR Hall of Fame is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. Parking is available on South Brevard Street and starts at $3 for the first 30 minutes. The museum is located at 400 East Martin Luther King Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28202. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and military and $18 for children 5-12. Purchase tickets by calling (704) 654-4400 or on their website.
My visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame was hosted by the Charlotte Regional Visitor’s Authority but all opinions are my own.