Tag Archives: Charlotte Motor Speedway

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.

Concord/Charlotte, North Carolina

We arrived safely in Concord, North Carolina on Thursday (10/23), after traveling 330 miles from Fredericksburg, Virginia. For this part of the trip, we decided to stick with the interstates and we took I-95 South to I-85 South. The trip was relatively easy and, oddly enough, we found that we prefer interstate travel to back road travel.  Traveling the back roads is nice if we’re in a car, but I think for a motor coach, we definitely prefer interstate travel.

Concord is located about 30-miles away from Charlotte, on the north-east side of the city, and is home to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The campground that we’re staying at, Glenwood Acres RV Park, is kitty-corned from the speedway and is convenient to shopping and restaurants.  Although the speedway is on one side of us, country living is on the opposite side of us, making for an interesting camping experience.  We have not encountered any noise from the speedway, which is a plus for staying here.  There are four other campgrounds very close to the speedway, but a majority of the lots are gravel (meaning nosier) and more expensive (double of what we’re paying here).

Dave and I are becoming extremely proficient in regard to setting up/breaking down our site when it comes to prepping for travel. We pulled into our site around 4:30 p.m. in Concord on Thursday and we had everything hooked up (water, sewer, electric, satellite), the interior set-up, and dinner on the table in an hour.  Great team work!

Speaking of team work, Dave does 100% of the driving of the motor coach and I take care of the navigation of our trips regarding the actual routing, making sure that there are no bridges that may be an issue (our coach height is 12’ 7”, which is important to know if you’re not traveling interstates), finding gas stations that have diesel when we need it, calculating our time/mileage so that we get to our next destination at a decent hour and, most importantly, finding the next campground or resort that we’ll be staying at. All in all, Dave actually has the hard part as he has to trust my directions and he has to deal with driving a 60’ rig on tight/hilly country roads and 3-lane interstates.

On Friday, we decided to find a laundromat as the campground here does not have one and then went grocery shopping afterward to replenish our food supply.  We stayed at the campground to regroup after traveling as traveling can be quite stressful.

Saturday and Sunday were great days as we got to spend the days with my sister and brother-in-law. It has been over a year that I’ve seen either one of them, so it was great to spend time with them again, especially since last time I was here, I wound up in the hospital with pancreatitis.

On Saturday, the four of us went to the R&R Bar-B-Que restaurant, which offers “bend the rail” servings of true Eastern NC vinegar-based pork on the Engineer’s BBQ Plate or smaller portions on the Choo-Choo menu. I went for the Choo-Choo menu and I enjoyed a very delicious (and huge portion!) of barbequed chicken, complete with red-slaw, macaroni and cheese, and hushpuppies.  Dave enjoyed their beef stew.  The red-slaw is coleslaw which has a tangy-vinaigrette dressing with a tad bit of hot sauce thrown in, instead of the traditional creamy coleslaw made with mayonnaise. The atmosphere of the restaurant is really unique as well, as they have train tracks suspended above the dining areas with trains riding the tracks.  Really neat!

After a nice long lunch, we went to SEA LIFE, which is the aquarium for the Charlotte-Concord area. It’s not a huge aquarium as it’s located within the Concord Mills Mall, but it’s a good size if one is taking children.  They have over 20 display tanks and more than 5,000 sea creatures.  I would suggest buying tickets online (which one can do the day of visiting) as it will save the purchaser a considerable amount of money.  Tickets at the door cost $21 per adult and $17 per child.  If one purchases them online, then the price is $14 per adult and $14 per child, which is definitely a cost savings for a family of four if purchasing online.  Expect to spend at least two hours at the aquarium.

After our adventure at SEA LIFE, we then walked around the Concord Mill Mall, which is absolutely HUGE! The mall’s layout mimics the oval of the Charlotte Motor Speedway and is home to over 200 stores, including retailer outlets and anchor stores, such as The Disney Store, The Lego Store, Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet and, of course, Brass Pro Shops Outdoor World which is the size of four football fields.  The best part for me is that they have an AMC Theatre that boasts 24-screen theaters and an IMAX theater.  Movie theater, here I come!

On Sunday, the four of us drove to Columbia, South Carolina to visit my nephew. Ben made us an absolutely fantastic lunch consisting of Turkey Manhattan’s, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and a side salad with a vinaigrette dressing topped off with pine nuts and various desserts too!  Wow!  Thank you, Ben, it was delicious and company was even better! Dave also took possession of the Les Paul guitar that he and Ben trade back and forth over the years.