Not Just For Race Fans!
By Jay Whipple,/Trend Magazine
It has been over three years since the ground-breaking ceremony of the new NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum took place on January 25, 2007. Since then I have taken many of our Queen City Tours(sm) and Travel tour guests by the site and have literally watched it being built brick by brick. Although the majority of our tour guests are not NASCAR fans, they seem to be pretty excited about the facility which honors the history and heritage of NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) and its many contributors. Some non-fans joke that it stands for "Non Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks." Smile.
On Tuesday May 11, 2010, the much anticipated grand opening of the 150,000 square foot facility will open in Uptown Charlotte, NC, amidst dignitaries, executives, fans, non-fans, and NASCAR notables like Richard Petty (Inaugural Inductee), Junior Johnson (Inaugural Inductee), and Darell Waltrip to name a few well-known drivers and ex drivers. The fun-filled and historic day will begin promptly at 9 AM EDT with a one-hour grand opening ceremony that will feature the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus (Created in 1967) performing the National Anthem. As a retired U.S. Army veteran; just the thought of this performance brings tears to my eyes. Other events will include a free community celebration directly outside the museum that will feature entertainment by gangsta rappers (Just kidding); it will include country music artists, NASCAR celebrities, Q and A sessions, strolling entertainment, and food vendors. The memorable day will be capped by a Love and Theft concert at 7 PM also directly outside the venue.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum is a high-tech venue that was designed to educate as well as entertain race and non-race fans. The facility includes racing artifacts, interactive exhibits, and a 275-person state-of-the-art theater, the Hall of honor, a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, souvenir shop, and even a broadcast studio. Attached to the museum and included on the five-acre site are a 19-story office tower, and a 102,000 square-foot expansion to the Charlotte Convention Center that features a 40,000 square-foot (5,000 people) ballroom. The outdoor plaza features a large video screen and green space. Parking for 1,000 vehicles is also provided. The City of Charlotte owns the facility and has been licensed by NASCAR to operate it via the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
The 2010 inaugural class of hall-of-famers includes: Robert Glenn “Junior” Johnson—a former bootlegger and owner who won the 2nd annual Daytona 500 in 1960, and actually help set up the moonshine still that is on display in the museum. Richard “King” Petty – Former driver – and now owner -- who has won more races (200), championships (7), wins in a season (27), Daytona 500 wins (7), consecutive wins (10), and starts (1,185) than any other driver in NASCAR history. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. a.k.a. “The Intimidator” – Former driver who co-holds the record (With Richard Petty) for most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships (7), and is the all time leader in race victories at the Daytona International Speedway with 34 total. Mr. Earnhardt was killed doing what he loved – racing – in 1998 at the Daytona Speedway. Bill France, Sr., a.k.a. “Big Bill” – Former driver, President, and the driving force behind the founding of NASCAR in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1947. Mr. France died in 1992. Bill France, Jr. – Second President of NASCAR and son of Bill France, Sr.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum is located ironically at 400 East Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Uptown/Downtown/Center City Charlotte. Their phone number is 704-654-4400.
Tickets are on sale now at www.nascarhall.com or by calling 877-231-2010. Tickets are $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors and military, $12.95 for children 5-12, and free for children younger than 5. Memberships provide unlimited entry for one year and start at $25 for children and $50 for adults annually. Group discounts and facility rentals are available by calling 704-654-4400.
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