Not a speed demon? No problem. North Carolina offers countless ways to experience the thrill without putting yourself in the driver’s seat.
If you favor hogs, you’ll want to drop by the Ray Price Legends of Harley Drag Racing Museum in Raleigh. The museum, a part of Ray Price Harley-Davidson/Buell dealership, showcases some of the great drag racers of the day.
In Concord, racing fans can get up close and personal with some of the racing memorabilia of Jack Roush at the Roush Fenway Racing Museum, as well as vehicles (including one that was in a spectacular crash) and racing displays.
Kids will enjoy a lap around one of the tracks at the NASCAR SpeedPark in Concord. There’s also an indoor climbing wall, kiddie rides and miniature golf.
Car fans also flock by the thousands to the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame in Henderson the third weekend in October. The three-day event packs nearly 50,000 spectators into historic downtown Henderson for one of the Southeast’s largest car shows, featuring Southern-style barbecue, shag dance contests, live bands and DJs, and vendors galore. ESPN-2 has covered the event for the past three years.
“It looks like Mardi Gras – there’s so many people, you can hardly walk down Main Street,” says Nancy Wilson, executive director of the Vance County Tourism Department in Henderson.
“About 75 percent of the people come from out of state,” she continues. “We have a huge number of participants from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, D.C. and Virginia because there were a lot of drag strips in those areas from the 1950s to the 1970s – the era we celebrate.”
Prefer airplanes over cars? Then check out the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Air Show in June. It reigns as eastern North Carolina’s largest air show and attracts more than 150,000 people for dazzling pyrotechnic acts, aircraft displays, civilian and military demonstrations, and the latest in Marine Corps aviation and technology.
added: December 23, 2008
updated: December 26, 2008