I spent a few days in the Charlotte, NC area last summer and one of the places I visited was the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I really was impressed with this museum, thought NASCAR really did a very nice job on this one. Unfortunately, this was my first hall of fame museum so I can't say how it stacks up against the ones for the NFL, NBA, and MLB. I allotted only four hours for this but you could very easily spend the whole day there.
The tickets were about $20 per person which I felt was pretty reasonable. I also rented a audio tour which I really recommend, especially for those that aren't very knowledgeable about the sport. Then you're shown into a large theater that shows a film briefly explaining the history of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing as well as some of the current day to race day opperations. The theater empties out into a large room that has full scale recreations of some of the race cars from different eras from the start of the sport to the present day. They're mounted on a racing surface that starts at 0 degrees and goes all the way to 33 degrees of banking. There are also different marks as the banking increases to show you how steeply each track on the NASCAR circut is banked.
Next I'm going to show some of the cars in that room. The first one is of the Hudson Hornet which was driven by Tim Flock.
You'll recognize that car from the Cars movies. That car along with it's driver Tim won many races. The Hornet was also a revolution itself as it was the first car to be built around the frame, instead of on top of the frame.
This car was driven by none other than Jaws himself, Darrell Waltrip, he was the voice for Darrell Cartrip on Cars.
That 1970 Dodge Daytona (I believe) was driven by Bobby Isaac. That car went on to win several races as well and was one of the first aerodynamic race cars ever built. NASCAR's rule is that the car has to be a production street legal model. So Dodge produced only a limited amount of these cars so they could enter these cars in the races. This car style was in the Cars movie but it was painted Petty Blue and the character Mr The King was voiced by the King himself, Richard Petty.
There are a total of four floors to this museum so I do appologize if I do get things out of order from here on out. After all, I'm doing this from memory six months later.
There as a display called the "Half and Half car" which describes what the drivers would do to a fifties era car after they took it off the showroom floor to make it into a race car and why they did it.
They also had two full scale mock ups of Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison's car after that legendary 1979 Daytona 500 last lap dual and resulting crash that ended up in a fist fight on NASCAR's first nationally broadcast "live flag to flag" race.
Then there are lots of historical displays like this one which is the actual MRN broadcasters "spotter balls" from turn three at Daytona.
Just immagine you're calling the race for you section of track from inside that unairconditioned fiberglass ball in the middle of summer.
Then there's the full sized hauler.
As well as quite a few displays on how each component is inspected by the NASCAR officials. This is just one of the many inspections that the car must go through in order to qualify and to race. The cars must also pass post race inspection as well.
All these exhibits are hands on throughout the museum and you're given a hard card at the beginning which you can customize as you can go through each exhibit. Then there's the Hall of Fame room.
Each one of these exhibits are interactive as well. Unfortunately, my driver, Rusty Wallace, wasn't in that room yet. But I'm not worried, he'll be in there soon.
I hope you've enjoyed my trip report and better luck next year if you NASCAR driver didn't win the 2012 Sprint Cup. My current driver, Brad Keseloswski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, is the current champion.