5 Ways to Fuel Your Need for Speed in Charlotte

Charlotte is the perfect place to get in on the fast-paced action at some of the greatest NASCAR attractions in the nation.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame - photo by Kyo H Nam Photography.

In the Queen City, NASCAR is king. Home to an outstanding mix of racing-related shops, tracks and attractions, Charlotte is the perfect place to get in on the fast-paced action at some of the greatest NASCAR attractions in the nation. Here’s a quick guide to help you plot your course.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

The NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. More than 50 interactive exhibits, like the realistic racing simulators and pit crew challenge, invite guests to engage with the sights and sounds of the sport, while unexpected memorabilia and stock cars, like those that fill Glory Road, chronicle NASCAR’s beginnings to present day. If you’ve got a day to devote to the Hall, it’s worth it. Check out the Racing Insiders Tour, an all-access, in-depth tour that hits every nook and cranny of Charlotte’s racing community. Choose from two different itineraries—the Interstate 77 or the Interstate 85.

Champ the Cheetah

Insider tip: Champ the Cheetah is the NASCAR Hall of Fame mascot. You can book him for an appearance at your next party or attend the NASCAR Hall’s Easter Egg 400 or Not-Too-Spooky Haunted Hall to get a photo with the fastest cheetah on the track.

Victory Lane Karting

The 1/3-mile indoor road course at Victory Lane Indoor Karting is reported to be the fastest in the Carolinas and one of the fastest in the nation. Sodi Honda top-of-the-line racing karts challenge any driver with top speeds of 45 mph at 2 inches off of the ground. While you’re there, be sure to stop by Pit Road Bar & Grill, which has been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” for its famous MoonPie burger—an 8-ounce seasoned burger patty topped with RC Cola-candied bacon and sandwiched between a MoonPie.

Insider tip: Victory Lane Karting is also a unique place to host your next party, corporate team build, car club or reunion. The venue has 100,000 square feet of space to give your guests experience the thrill of real racing.

The Dale Trail

Blaze your own trail through “The Intimidator’s” hometown of Kannapolis, North Carolina, on the country’s first motorsports heritage trail. The Dale Trail is a self-guided tour that begins at Dale Earnhardt Boulevard and winds through landmarks related to the life of the legendary NASCAR driver.

Insider tip: While you’re in Cabarrus County, stay a while to explore other landmarks like the historic Reed Gold Mine, the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame and Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium.

Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Just a short drive south of Kannapolis or north of Uptown Charlotte, Charlotte Motor Speedway draws fans and non-fans alike to major motorsports events and behind-the-scenes tours year-round. Book a speedway tour for an up-close look at the restricted areas of the 1.5-mile superspeedway, The Dirt Track and zMax Dragway, along with a glimpse of one of the world’s largest HDTV screens and a ride on the 24-degree banking of the track, will leave everyone feeling the need for speed.

Insider tip: If you’d prefer to go through the track at your own pace, the Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts many car shows and various 5K runs throughout the year too. A holiday favorite is the Speedway Christmas, which includes a full light display and drive-in movies.

Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Race Shops

Approximately 85 percent of NASCAR’s race shops are located in Charlotte, including Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Penske Racing and more. Dozens of them offer behind-the-scenes views of their teams working on cars and practicing for pit stops as well as stores to purchase race gear.

Insider tip: If you’re only in town for a short time, you can also pick up a NASCAR souvenir from the newly renovated NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop. There’s a section of Charlotte merchandise too.