The NASCAR Hall of Fame & museum opened in Charlotte, NC—the cradle of the NASCAR Universe in 2010. It’s packed with interactive exhibits and you are given a ‘hardcard’ (just like at a real race) to access information after choosing your favorite race driver as narrator! (I chose Dale Jr.) Even for novice NASCAR fans like my family there’s a lot to see, enjoy and learn.
It’s also packed with NASCAR history, vintage video, racing cars, gear and a lot more. You’ll love it!
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What does STOCK CAR driving mean?
NASCAR stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. A stock car is the same cars you can find at your local car dealer. The racers are allowed to ‘soup up’ the cars to a certain point and they are very closely scrutinized by racing judges so the cars are all very similar in engine and safety standards.
NASCAR Owes It’s Early Days To Bootlegging!!
NASCAR as an official organized sport began in 1947. Before then however racing around a dirt track was alive and well. In fact it was first started by bootleggers in the 1920s in North Carolina. Also down on the Daytona Beach with it’s hard sandy areas was a favorite place to race.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame is a Great Family Adventure
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In the museum you will see a huge row of real racing cars from the past on ‘Glory Road’. And the cars get progressively more ‘racier’ by the 80s and 90s. With cars from the 1920’s up to the 1990s and the whole row of cars is on an increasingly steeper grade like the corners of real racetracks. You might think 8 or 10 degrees is pretty steep? Wait till you stand on an angle of 20 degrees and higher! There are actual racetracks with more than 20 degree grades on the corners!
For $5 Extra Be Sure to Try Out the Race Simulator
My little boy’s favorite part of the Museum was easily the simulator. You first get a chance to ‘qualify’ by driving a video game-like race course with both gas and brake pedals (good luck making both your feet work those pedals though!). Once you have qualified you can purchase a $5 ticket to ride in the simulator. Real cars fitted with unique driving experience. Feels like you are on the track with other drivers racing against you. It gets crowded out there!
And I crashed a lot. Just sayin’. It was MUCH harder than it looked. 150 miles per hour even in a video simulator made my head spin! Literally. I felt woozy after the experience more like a theme park ride than sitting in a car pretending to drive around a speedway.
My 9 year old kid on the other hand? When asked if he wanted to do it again? He said, Heck yes! And he happily raced around the simulated track. You are given a handout after your race letting you know what your best time around the track was. We both tied at 28 seconds as best time. But he still beat me in the race easily!
I loved all the vintage gear in the museum along with the history of the sport, those early drivers were wearing T-shirts and jeans and pretty much nothing else! Compared to the current gear which is fireproof, made of lightweight very strong materials and covering their whole bodies is a whole lot safer.
How do you Match Up to a Real Pit Crew?
There’s an area in the museum where you can test your pit crew ‘skillz’. An ace team can service a race car in 12 seconds! We practiced a couple times changing a tire and filling the tank. And we got our time down to 35 seconds. (Hint: the pros press the trigger for the drill to change out the lug nuts and don’t release it, just move from each one with it running, saves tons of time!).
Currently there is a Hollywood Red Carpet movie theme.. And while I would have to say Talladega Nights is the first movie that comes to mind, that car wasn’t there. It was on loan. (Bummer!) But Tom Cruise’s “Days of Thunder” car was there as well as the real life car the movie was modeled after. And our favorite of course was a life sized Doc Hudson look-a-like from the movie Cars.
In the section for the Hall of Fame inductees the inspiration for the Doc Hudson character/car Herb Thomas was inducted in 2013 and his car is on display, the real-life Hudson Hornet! There are 20 inductees to date.
The 2014 new Famers have been announced and there will be a big ceremony in January of 2014 if you want to plan a trip to Charlotte to attend and visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame museum. We’ll be there!
- Adult $19.95
- Senior (60+) $17.95 with ID
- Military $17.95 with ID
- Children (5-12) $12.95
See the other articles in Carissa’s NASCAR series:
- Kelley Earnhardt Miller: Family Travel when You’re a NASCAR Family
- 10 Tips for NASCAR Newbies at Charlotte Motor Speedway
- Behind the Scenes: Kelley Earnhardt Miller Interview