Charlotte Motor Speedway Brings NASCAR to the Queen City
Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the busiest sports venues in the country, hosting more than 380 events in a single year. Located in Concord, North Carolina, just minutes away from the Queen City, this 2,000-acre racing complex features a Quad-oval track that is 1.5 miles long and hosts a variety of NASCAR racing events, including the Coca-Cola 600 and the Sprint All-Star Race. In addition, the complex also features the only all-concrete, four-lane drag racing strip in the United States – the 0.25 mile long ZMAX Dragway. Alongside the strip, there is also a clay oval dirt-racing track that hosts events such as the renowned World of Outlaws finals. This stadium-style complex seats nearly 14,000 people.
In addition to racing events, the Charlotte Motor Speedway is also home to the Food Lion Auto Fair, one the largest car shows in the nation. It has also been the site of several commercials and films, including Days of Thunder starring Tom Cruise. The speedway also hosts several driving schools year round, including the Richard Petty Driving Experience where visitors can get behind the wheel of a racecar and experience the speedway firsthand.
Besides being the site of some of the biggest NASCAR races and events in the country, Charlotte Motor Speedway also happens to be the home of one of the biggest disasters in NASCAR history – a disaster, which ironically involved pedestrian race fans, rather than race car drivers, as most would expect. On May 20,2000, race fans were crossing a walkway from the track to a nearby parking lot, following an all-star race. An 80-foot section of the walkway dropped 17 feet onto a highway in Concord, injuring 107 fans, and resulting in nearly 50 lawsuits, many of which were settled out of court. Investigators found that Tindall Corporation, the builder of the walkway, used an additive containing corrosive calcium chloride in its construction, to help the concrete filler in the center of the bridge dry faster. This additive apparently corroded the steel cables and led to the bridge’s collapse.
Of course the bridge was fixed, and Charlotte Motor Speedway never ceased to be one of the most popular tourist spots in all of Charlotte, NC. Every year, Concord residents can expect to put up with the horrible traffic that results from commuting race fans who travel from all over the country to experience NASCAR racing events right here in the Queen City. Restaurants and shopping centers in the Concord area are sure to be packed every day that the race is in town. If it is your first visit to Charlotte, NC, be sure to stop by the Charlotte Motor Speedway and see for yourself what all the hype is about.