Every NASCAR fan knows that Charlotte, NC is the place to be for them. NASCAR is to Charlotte what Hollywood is to Los Angeles. Everything that you could possibly want NASCAR related is here and all you really need is the necessary time and funds. It is very important, however, for any NASCAR enthusiasts to know exactly what experiences cannot be missed in Charlotte, NC or its surrounding area.
There is a lot of history surrounding NASCAR in the city of Charlotte and there are many places to visit. The story of the race, how it became what it is today as well as the many locations that any die-hard NASCAR fan should not overlook whenever in the area will be the subject of this article. So start your engines for the next race and don’t forget to buckle your seatbelts as it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
NASCAR – from bootlegging to a most beloved race
During the Prohibition period, there were those who would not abstain from producing or drinking alcohol. As it was illegal to do any of those things steps were taken by those who wanted to still enjoy their liquor. Besides producing which was something a fair few people managed to do there was the problem of distribution. For this they required drivers, willing to risk their freedom so that alcohol could reach the desired destination.
Step by step the drivers were required and those drivers did the necessary adjustments on their cars so that they could outrun law enforcement and get to their destinations with the carried moonshine intact. While on the outside the 1940 Ford Coupe may look like any other car on the road, it had the most powerful V-8 engine on the market, available only for ambulances at the time. Another alteration was the car’s suspension that stabilized the cargo – the moonshine which was in the trunk were covered with blankets and jackets – even at top speeds. They knew the roads in that area so well that they could even ride with the headlights turned off.
The next natural step was racing. It began as a means of proving who was the fastest and best driver among bootleggers, who would leave a winner and who had bragging rights. It soon transformed into something else entirely as bootleggers continued to race amongst themselves.
On your mark! Get set! GO!
William France Jr. also known as Big Bill France was the one who poured the foundation as the first rules were established for official racing. He gathered several members of the racing community present in Daytona Beach. Because every race that happened around Daytona Beach had different rules and followed different regulations, France with fellow race aficionados started establishing a set of guidelines and rules in 1947.
In the beginning, there were three divisions initially: Modified, Roadster and Strictly Stock. Roadster cars ignited little interest from the spectators at the time and Strictly Stock car races were put on hold as manufacturers were incapable of producing enough cars for family use after the Second World War. That left Modified as the only option for racing in 1948. Big Bill France organized the first race for modified cars only, which took place in Daytona Beach on February 15, 1948. Days later the National Association for Stock Car Racing was founded, on February 21, 1948 and would later be known worldwide as NASCAR.
The first official race was organized at the Charlotte Speedway for Strictly Stock cars on June 19, 1949.
Now that we know the history of NASCAR and the people responsible for what it became as the years went on, we should cover the locations where fans from all over the world can experience some engine roaring extravaganzas. Let’s see what Charlotte and its surrounding area can offer the fans of this amazing legacy of racing, amongst other fun things to do in Charlotte.
Charlotte Motor Speedway
While it isn’t the original race track used in 1948, it also isn’t located in Charlotte. Located just 17 miles from uptown Charlotte, NC on the outskirts of Concord, NC. With 84,000 seats and 57 suites available, the Charlotte Motor Speedway is the perfect stadium for appreciating an amazing NASCAR race. The cars just speeding down the track and crowds erupting in cheers sounds like an amazing day for any FAN of NASCAR even if it might put a damper on your bank account. You can also visit the track and the facility during days with no races which would be cheaper. Also, on off days you can get access to more areas that are prohibited during races. Taking the Feel the Thrill Speedway Tour will give you the opportunity to see the NASCAR Cup series Garage, the Pit Road and the Winner’s Circle.
NASCAR Hall of Fame
This NASCAR museum should be at the top of every fan list of places to visit. Here you get to see the history of the car sport from the early beginnings of the races to the present day drivers and trophies. With 150,000 square feet of memorabilia, trophies, race car simulators, cars as well as the High Octane Theater housing a 64 foot-wide projection screen, there really isn’t much left to be desired for NASCAR fans. This interactive entertainment museum presents the history and legacy of NASCAR in its four story facility. It also gives visitors the opportunity to know what it’s like to be a member of the pit crew or even get behind the wheel of a racing simulator.
Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Petty Driving Experience
Both are located in the proximity of Charlotte Motor Speedway and both are open for visitations. At Hendrick Motorsport, located one mile away from the track you get to see memorabilia or trophies and even cars. For a fuller experience, we suggest the Richard Petty Driving Experience as here you can actually get behind the wheel of a real race car on your own, get training and instruction as well as, and this is the most amazing part of the experience, drive on the actual track. Test your abilities, test the cars, test the track and get the experience of a lifetime as a racecar driver on the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
There are many other options available and we’ll just name a few for you: a self-guided tour as you drive known as The Dale Trail, the zMAX Dragway, which is the smaller drag strip cousin of Charlotte Motor Speedway, the GoPro Motorplex for Kart enthusiasts and many more.
Shopping Pit Stop
You can go see anything and everything involving NASCAR in this wonderful city. So let us give you a few options.
Located inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame it’s the place where you can find anything from hats to jackets and merchandise for every team that races in North Carolina. They also have options for kids, even onesies at Champ’s Corner for fans of all ages, literally.
Lionel NASCAR Collectibles
Next to Charlotte Motor Speedway you’ll find the best place for affordable collectibles. Whether it is a diecast car for your children or a helmet replica for your office, apparel and even coffee mugs, you can find it available here a stone’s throw away from the track.
Food Pit Stop
After all the visiting we bet you’re famished but we’re not only gonna be talking about food here as it’s impossible not to cover a part of NASCAR’s history that actually made it all possible. Yes, we are referring to Moonshine.
The Speedway Club
When the race is over or during the race if you’re hungry, go ahead to the sixth floor of Smith Tower inside the Charlotte Motor Speedway facility and enjoy an amazing meal. For either lunch or dinner, there are options available for both upscale tastes as well as homemade comfort.
Inside the Epicenter in uptown Charlotte, NC, you’ll find this amazing location for a casual night out with family and friends. A combination of night club, DJ’s, food and drinks, this establishment has it all at decent prices for uptown Charlotte.
Yes, you heard it right. Charlotte, NC has its own Moonshine Distillery. A business owned by two veterans opened its doors in 2016 after years of perfecting their craft as well as battling with legislation and regulations. Now it’s open and the invitation is open to “Put Some Fire in Your Belly…” but do so responsibly.
From bootlegging Moonshine to the most famous car race in the world, NASCAR had quite a history but the story won’t be over anytime soon. With events and races held every year the sport will continue to mesmerize fans for many years to come. For more frequent visits or experiences related to NASCAR, if you’re interested you can get in touch with real estate agents in Charlotte, NC and look into buying a house in the homeland of NASCAR.
If you like moonshine let us know in the comments below as NASCAR wouldn’t have been what it is now without it. Also, do let us know if you have any questions or curiosities about NASCAR, the sport that grew like our nation. Like and Share as history is what creates the future.