For race fans, Charlotte is the ultimate destination with its outstanding mix of racing-related shops, tracks and attractions. Get in on the fast-paced action at some of the greatest NASCAR and stock car racing venues in the nation. Here’s a quick guide to help you plot your course.
NASCAR Hall of Fame – A tribute to the history of NASCAR and the drivers, crew members and team owners who popularized the fast-paced sport, the Hall of Fame is part museum and part interactive racing experience. One of the most popular exhibits is “Glory Road,” a banked ramp leading to the second floor that highlights racetracks around the U.S. and showcases historic racecars.
Charlotte Motor Speedway – With the nickname “The Beast of the Southeast,” the Speedway is the pulse of racing action in Charlotte. The 1.5-mile oval track hosts two major races every season – the Coca-Cola 600 and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. On non-race days, fans can take a guided tour of the facility that includes stops at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, pit road and Victory Circle. The tour includes a ride along the 24-degree banked track via a Feel the Thrill Speedway Tour. Fans can also enroll in one of the driving experience classes offered in schools by racing greats like Dale Jarrett or Richard Petty (check track schedules for official times and details).
zMAX Dragway – Part of Charlotte Motor Speedway, the state-of-the-art drag strip is one of the best in the world. Fans fill the stands to watch NHRA Drag Racing and the Summer Drag and Brag street racing series. The quarter-mile track also hosts pro stock motorcycle and car races.
Richard Petty Driving Experience – NASCAR isn’t just a spectator sport. Fans can get in on the high-speed action at a professional racing school where the options range from riding shotgun in a stock car at speeds up to 165 mph to getting behind the wheel for racing lessons before speeding off around the track. It’s the only place in Charlotte where drivers are encouraged to put the pedal to the metal.
Victory Lane Karting – The 1/3-mile indoor road course at Victory Lane Indoor Karting is reported to be the fastest in the Carolinas and one of the fastest in the nation. Sodi Honda top-of-the-line racing karts challenge any driver with top speeds of 45 mph at 2” off of the ground.
GoPro Motorplex The outdoor .7-mile, 11-turn karting facility is where NASCAR drivers go to take it slow on their day off. The sprint karting track is based on the famous and historic Kartdromo Parma circuit in Italy and the fleet of Rental Karts reach speeds up to 55 mph.
Drive The Dale Trail This self-guided tour of all-things Dale takes you through the Intimidator’s childhood neighborhood, the streets he roamed and the bronze statue erected in his honor in his hometown of Kannapolis. Every visitor receives a collectible brochure and map containing information about the stops on The Dale Trail at the Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Visitor Center.
Racing Insiders Tour This exclusive tour is the best way to learn about the evolution of NASCAR from its beginnings to present day. This day-long motorcoach all-access, in-depth tour hits every nook and cranny of Charlotte’s racing community. It starts at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and continues to a variety of race shops and other motorsports attractions in the area, where you get a behind-the-scenes look at what makes a NASCAR race happen. Whether you choose the I-77 or I-85 itinerary, you won’t be disappointed.
DEI – Racing legend Dale Earnhardt left DEI as his legacy. Fans call the facility the “Garage-Mahal” for its sheer size and decadence. The showroom is a memorial to Earnhardt and is filled to the brim with his trophies, photos and memorabilia, including the Coca-Cola race suit he wore in 1998, the first time he raced against his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Michael Waltrip Racing – See how racecars are built at this state-of-the-art facility, where you can take a peek at shop operations such as milling engine and chassis parts, building transmissions and restoring damaged car bodies. The race shop also has a replica of Pit Road where pit crews train for NASCAR races.
The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway The best view of the race is from the Club restaurant on the sixth floor of Smith tower. It overlooks the 1.5-mile superspeedway and is open year round for lunch and dinner. The menu features locally sourced dishes ranging from upscale to down home. There’s even a kid’s menu.
Whisky River The Dale Earnhardt Jr. concept restaurant has two locations – in Center City’s EpiCentre and at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both locations offer the restaurant’s most well-known signatures including the daredevil mechanical bull, a DJ spinning classic rock ‘n’ roll and a special race menu with “start your engine” appetizers, “speedway” wraps, burgers and BBQ.