Get Hands-On At The NASCAR Hall of Fame
The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown Charlotte powers racing past its spectator sport label and pulls you from your grandstand seat.
The shrine to NASCAR racing past, present and future inducts five pillars of the sport each year, locking their legacies into the uniquely oval shaped building of steel and concrete. But that’s only half of its story. With four levels of interactive exhibits that bring racing into the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, the fans are the real winners.
Upon entering the hall, you’ll be issued a Hard Card, just as crew members and drivers are each issued a pit pass at the track. The Hard Card activates different displays and records your day at the Hall so memories can be accessed later from your home computer via the Hall’s website.
Starting on Level 2 and racing toward Level 3, Glory Road lays out the progression of race cars from coupes to today’s high-tech machines. Along the way, the display begins to bank, all the way to Talladega Superspeedway’s towering 33 degrees. At different points, you can step up from the level walkway to experience the feel of the banking – just remember to hang on.
In the NASCAR Performance Race Shop, hit the switch and grab the throttle at a dynamometer as you bring a racing engine to life, just as engine builders do when searching for more power. Next, walk through a real transporter, entering under the lift with one of four-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson’s rides parked above, and visit a team’s shop on wheels and command control on race weekends.
Around the corner it’s time to go over the wall and experience life on the pit crew. Lift an 80-pound plus refueling can and feel the dead weight of a steel racing wheel and wide racing tire. Fight the snap of an impact wrench at another exhibit as you spin off actual lug nuts. You can put it all together in a simulated pit stop as you pump the jack handle, change tires and add fuel to a race car all under the pressure of the stopwatch.
Throughout the Hall, friendly staff keeps you headed in the right direction and makes sure nothing is missed. And one thing on Level 3 not to miss is the Racing Simulator. Sit down in one of the race cars and try your hand at steering a virtual race car against other fans.
Think you call races from your recliner better than the guys in the booth? The Hall gives you a chance to step up to the microphone and try it for yourself at an exhibit dedicated to the reporters and analysts who cover the sport on TV, radio and in print.
The museum honors the legacy of generations current and past with a vast collection of memorabilia and first-hand accounts – through written passages and video and audio clips. You can even leave your own NASCAR memory in the Tell a Tale exhibit on Level 4. The Kobalt Kid’s Zone offers interactive displays for the youngest fans, building excitement for the sport in the next generation.
And before you leave, step up to the flag stand, perched high above the cars of the Racing Simulator, and wave the checkered flag on your day.
added: July 22, 2010
updated: July 22, 2010