Charlotte Motor Speedway – Concord, NC

Yesterday afternoon, Dave and I went to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and took a tour of the grounds. The Speedway offers two tours, Feel the Thrill Speedway and Over the Wall.  Feel the Thrill Speedway is a one hour tour that offers a close-up look that are off-limits on race days, such as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Garage, Pit Road, Victory Circle, and they also offer two infield tours of the race tracks.  The Over the Wall Tour is a two-hour tour and is basically designed for the hard-core NASCAR fan.  Although neither Dave nor I are NASCAR fans, we thought that while we’re here, we might as well see it all.  The tour itself, which consisted of two other couples, encompassed all of the details of the “Feel the Thrill Speedway” tour, but we also got to visit the zMAX Dragway, The Dirt Track, access to The Speedway Club, Performance Racing Network (PRN) studios, Media Center, and a breath-taking view of the Charlotte Motor Speedway from the top of the Ford Grandstand.  They also throw in a cruise down pit road and we were able to experience first-hand the feel of 24 degree banking along the race course.  Awesome!!  Oh and we also got to race down the zMAX Dragway as well!

Our tour guide, Arlene, has been with the Charlotte Motor Speedway since 1969 and she was a great guide. We were able to meet with a couple of radio announcers in the PRN studios and we also learned that PRN has been nominated for a CMA award this year.  Since the CMA’s will be on this evening, it will be exciting to hear if PRN won.

The cost for either one of the tours is very reasonable too. Feel the Thrill Speedway is $12 per person ($10 for seniors over age 55, military personnel, EMS/Fire/Police personnel and children ages 9 and younger), and Over the Wall” is $20 per person ($18 for seniors over age 55, military personnel, EMS/Fire/Police personnel and children ages 9 and younger).  I highly recommend spending the extra $8 and going for the Over the Wall tour.  You won’t regret it and you’ll get some great pictures from the Ford Grandstand and Club Suites as well as on the ground.

The Speedway is absolutely H-U-G-E! The stands themselves can seat 134,000 people and, if you want a special place to live, the Speedway houses condo’s overlooking the track for around $460,000 (give or take a few thousand).  Want to attend the races but don’t want to live at the track?  Not a problem.  They have Clubhouse suites that organizations can rent for $100,000 per year and the suites hold 60+ people; however, the organization has to rent the suite in 3-year blocks.  Still too pricey?  Then perhaps one of the indoor air-conditioned Speedway Club seats might be better for your wallet at $250 a seat.  The seats are quite comfy (personally attested to by yours truly).  Otherwise the outdoor-sitting-in-the-hot-sun seats in the stands can be had from $25 to $180, depending on race.  Personally, I’d shell out the $250 as it is close to the food/bar and bathrooms and, the bonus for me, one does not have to worry about weather.

We’ve had a really nice time here in North Carolina and an even better time visiting with my sister, Sally, and brother-in-law, Tom. Thank you both for a wonderful time here in NC!

Tomorrow we depart for South Carolina!  🙂

Outside of the Winners Circle Arena.
Outside of the Winners Circle Arena.
Inside the Winners Circle.
Inside the Winners Circle.
Inside the Winners Circle.
Inside the Winners Circle.
One of the interview rooms at PRN.
One of the interview rooms at PRN.
Media Center where press conferences are held.  Podium is at front.
Media Center where press conferences are held. Podium is at front.
Media Center.  Looking out at the media seats from the podium.
Media Center. Looking out at the media seats from the podium.
Media Center.  Looking from the back of the room toward the podium.
Media Center. Looking from the back of the room toward the podium.  There are 14-chairs per row and 12 rows.  Lots of room for media, plus there’s ANOTHER room for overflow.  Whew!
The restaurant at the Speedway.  Lunch is buffet and costs between $8 and $12.  Dinner is off the menu and a tad bit pricey, but nothing too outrageous.
The restaurant at the Speedway. Lunch is buffet and costs between $8 and $12. Dinner is off the menu and a tad bit pricey, but nothing too outrageous.
The announcer at PRN Studios.
The announcer at PRN Studios.
Sunoco Suite.
Sunoco Suite.
View from Sunoco Suite.
View from Sunoco Suite.
The bar and buffet area in the Sunoco Suite.
The bar and buffet area in the Sunoco Suite.
Team Penske Suite.
Team Penske Suite.
A birds eye view of the track.
A birds eye view of the track.
View from one of the Suites.
View from one of the suites.
These are the $250 seats.  Very comfortable.
These are the $250 seats. Very comfortable.
Another view of the $250 seats.
Another view of the $250 seats.
Some people "purchase" their seats and when they do, they get a gold plaque put on their seat to identify that it's theirs.
Some people “purchase” their seats and when they do, they get a gold plaque put on their seat to identify that it’s theirs.
Here are the condos that are for sale should you wish to live at the track.
Here are the condos that are for sale should you wish to live at the track.

 

The seats are colored so that if the stands are completely filled, on camera it looks as though someone is sitting in them.
The seats are colored so that if the stands are not completely filled, on camera it looks as though someone is sitting in them, making for a fuller appearance. 
The decline in the economy has hurt the attendance at all speedways.  Attendance at CMS was around 97,000 at last count.  The stands pictured here, with the motor flags on them, have not been used since attendance has dwindled.  These seats are covered up with an American flag during race days.
The decline in the economy has hurt the attendance at all speedways.  Attendance at CMS was around 97,000 at last count. The stands pictured here, with the motor flags on them, have not been used since attendance has dwindled. These seats are covered up with an American flag during race days.
Additional seating.
Additional seating.
Stands with the "scoreboard" in the right hand side of the picture.
Stands with the “scoreboard” in the right hand side of the picture.
The Fuel House
The Fuel House.
Gasoline Alley
Gasoline Alley.
Gasoline Alley near Pit Road.
Gasoline Alley near Pit Road.
Pit Road.  Pit crew has between 11 and 13 seconds to replace all four tires and fill the tank so that the driver can get back on the track.  Around 2,500 tires are used during each race at a cost of over $400 per tire.
Pit Road. Pit crew has between 11 and 13 seconds to replace all four tires and fill the tank so that the driver can get back on the track. Around 2,500 tires are used during each race at a cost of over $400 per tire.

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