Five Ways to Get Revved for NASCAR in Charlotte

By: Sarah Crossland

November 19, 2014

Home to NASCAR’s Hall of Fame and one of the world’s largest speedways, Charlotte is a favourite pit stop for auto racing lovers. And while the races themselves draw fans from around the world, those looking for a taste of NASCAR’s flavour don’t have to have a seat in the stands. From a Hall of Fame complex chock-a-block with fascinating memorabilia to exhilarating experiences that put you in the driver’s seat, these are the top five spots to experience NASCAR in Charlotte””without attending a single race.


NASCAR Hall of Fame


NASCAR in Charlotte | Hall Of Fame
Take a stroll down Glory Road, catch a fast car flick in the theatre, and strap in for the city’s most exhilarating race simulator at the NASCAR Hall of Fame © Charlotte a Regional Visitors Authority


Sure, at this Uptown Charlotte 150,000-square-foot shrine to NASCAR you could take a walk down “Glory Road,” which showcases eighteen famous cars from the sport’s history. Or you could check out the world of racing at the Hall’s High Octane Theater, where a sixty-four-foot-wide projection screen and surround sound tells the tales of the track. But for the ultimate hit-the-road experience, buckle up in the iRacing NASCAR stock car simulators, which are exact track replicas that have been tested for their authenticity by drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR Hall of Fame.


Coca-Cola Speed Street


NASCAR in Charlotte | Speed Street
Celebrities, drivers, and famous music acts draw crowds late into the evening at the annual Speed Street festival in Uptown Charlotte © 600 Festival – Coca-Cola Speed Street


Every May more than 400,000 race fans pack the streets of Uptown Charlotte for this annual festival dedicated to all things NASCAR. The popular event features live music, entertainment, exhibits, festive fare, appearances by drivers and celebrities, and the chance to check out NASCAR show cars and simulators. The family-friendly fest starts at noon and goes late into the evening with big name musical acts taking the stage in the centre of the city. Coca-Cola Speed Street


Victory Lane Karting


NASCAR in Charlotte | Karting
These aren’t the go-karts you recall from your childhood. At speeds of 45 mph, you’re getting the real racing experience””and rush! ©


Get ready to enjoy the ride””and the rush! Once you’ve suited up in a jumpsuit, head sock, and helmet, you’re ready to take on the challenge of this fast track. And yes, these may look like your average bumper cars, but these karts can hit up to 45mph””something that feels especially exciting as you take on high-speed curves and hard hits riding just two inches off the ground. Victory Lane Karting


The Speedway Club


NASCAR in Charlotte | The Speedway Club
Indulge in an elegant dining experience that comes with a side of one of the city’s most exciting views at The Speedway Club Restaurant © Glenn Roberson Photography


To get a real taste of NASCAR in Charlotte””and the ultimate view of the track””make reservations at The Speedway Club Restaurant, where every table offers a panoramic view of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. While it’s hard to find a table on race days (there are stipulations regarding club membership and tickets), there’s no lack of excitement here on any day. Catch a glimpse of a driving school while you indulge in dishes like salmon in a citrus rum glaze. And keep an eye out for motorsports legend (and owner of the speedway), Bruton Smith, who often dines in this unexpectedly elegant setting. The Speedway Club

Richard Petty Driving Experience


NASCAR in Charlotte | Driving School
Ever wondered what 165 mph on a professional track feels like? Hit the road with the Richard Petty Driving Experience to find out © Courtesy of Richard Petty Driving Experience


Buckle up! With this pedal-to-the-metal driving experience you have the chance to sit back in the front seat for a ride along, or even be the one with your foot on the gas. You’ll be strapped into a 600-hp NASCAR racecar with 4-speed manual transmission. For $59, you can hop in with a pro and take three laps at 165 miles per hour at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Or, if you’re craving the driver’s seat, for prices starting at $449, you can take spins around the quad-oval track solo. Richard Petty Driving Experience.


Header Image © James-Willamor/Flickr


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How would you get revved for NASCAR in Charlotte? Let us know in the comments section below.


Written by Sarah Crosland


Sarah Crossland

Sarah Crosland lives in Charlotte and covers the city and region for numerous publications. The North Carolina native has been a travel writer for almost a decade, but her first love has always been food. She authored the book Food Lovers’ Guide to Charlotte and her next book, 100 Things to do in Charlotte Before You Die, is available in 2014.

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