Friday, June 22, 2012

April in Charlotte – NASCAR shop tours

One of the biggest reasons to go to Charlotte if you’re a NASCAR fan is to visit the team shops – many of them (there are exceptions :( ) are open to the public and feature museums, gift shops and, of course, the opportunity to see your favorite teams at work. These are a few of the shops we visited while we were in Charlotte in April:
Remnants of Kenny Schrader's #25 at the Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store.

A peak at Kasey Kahne's #5 in the Hendrick Motorsports shop.
A definite fan-friendly and photo-friendly shop (no glass!) - Wood Brothers Racing.

Some of the displays at the Roush-Fenway Racing Museum.

A peak into the RFR shops (we saw Greg Biffle walking around - and Mom shocked me because she knew it was Greg Biffle!)

Tony Stewart's OCC bike on display at Stewart-Haas Racing.

Stewart-Haas Racing.

Foyer area at Stewart-Haas Racing with shop in the background.

We also visited Richard Petty Motorsports, but they only have closed-circuit television in the foyer where you can watch the teams work :( 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Wallenda Day! – June 15th, 2012

It’s a big day in the Buffalo-Niagara area – Nik Wallenda is walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope…1800 feet from New York to Canada (yes, he’ll be carrying his passport!) – and ABC is carrying it live (hence the tether he has to wear…).
While it’s not a race, I have a feeling it’s going to attract some of the same “non-fans” that racing does – you know, the ones who watch NASCAR for the wrecks will be watching this to see if he falls. As someone who doesn’t watch NASCAR for the wrecks, I hope Wallenda makes it across with ease (either with or without the tether…??) and I really hope it shines a positive light on the area. I heard the opening shot on Good Morning America this morning was a rainbow going right over the tightrope – see, we do have good weather here!! :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

April in Charlotte – NASCAR Hall of Fame, April 18th, 2012

When I took my parents to Charlotte, NC for their anniversary in April, one of the spots we intended to hit was the NASCAR Hall of Fame, located at 400 East Martin Luther King Blvd. in uptown Charlotte. The main reason I wanted to get to the Hall this year: the induction of Richie Evans, the Modified legend from Rome, NY, into the Hall as part of the most recent class, which also included Cup Series drivers Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip, owner/driver Glen Wood and  crew chief Dale Inman.
I grew up in the Western New York auto racing scene, and grew up knowing that Evans was the “King of the Modifieds.” Evans became the first driver not associated with the Cup Series to be inducted into the Hall, and a fitting induction it was.
The recent inductees all have displays in the Great Hall, the entrance way into NASCAR history. Accompanying the Great Hall is Glory Road, the ramp leading up to the second floor which features 18 cars and highlights current and past tracks on the circuit; even more impressive than the collection of cars is how it mimics the banking of numerous tracks, including the 33-degree banking of Talladega Superspeedway (not easy to walk on!).
The Hall of Honor is where the inductees will be enshrined over the years. Also on the third level with the Hall of Honor is Food Lion Race Week, a behind the scenes look at how teams and NASCAR prepares for a weekend at the track. The fourth level is where fans can learn about the history of NASCAR, from moonshine running to close finishes, the drivers, the cars, the owners and the crew members who made NASCAR what it is today.
My favorite part of the visit was the interaction fans get with the displays – there are more than 50 interactive kiosks throughout the Hall of Fame. If there is one downside to the Hall of Fame, it’s the location: with so much of NASCAR concentrated in the Concord/Kannapolis area, having this building in the city of Charlotte seems out of place. It is, however, a beautiful building and well worth the trip for the die-hard NASCAR fan, or for those just learning about the sport.
Portions originally posted on
Photos: Paula Thompson
  • Richie Evans Modified on Glory Road
  • Kyle Busch Toyota in Food Lion Race Week
  • Tony Stewart 2011 champion display

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Run What You Brung at DTRP – June 6th

Wednesday nights at Dunn Tire Raceway Park – which will always be Lancaster Speedway to me – is Cruise and Bike Night, with grudge racing on the drag strip for $5 a pop. “Dad’s kids” (as we like to call Team 49 Racing) thought it would be fun to take their “tractors” out there for match races…mind you, by tractors, I’m talking about their RIGS, not John Deeres (they own a trucking company). Kids in the stands got a kick out of it for sure!