As the date of my tour of the NASCR Hall of Fame approached, I thought back to my childhood. There were many days I spent watching my father and brother working on cars in the garage. It was all about the speed and not so much about safety. They would always take a car disguised as ordinary on the exterior and turn it into extraordinary when the hood was lifted.
Those memories remind me of what NASCAR was in the early years. You'd see a car on the raceway on Sunday and purchase from your local car dealership on Monday. Even though you hear less and less about the race cars with each evolution of the Car of Tomorrow, much of NASCAR's current allure is tied to the romance of good ol' boys in genuine stock cars with big engines. Most had even bigger personalities that came out when they were gunning around dirt tracks for the win, and they never contained what they really thought during a race. Those pioneers of the sport have finally been honored with the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As with the speedway, the interior of the new NASCAR Hall of Fame is a full stock car experience. For me, I felt like I had entered a time machine and gone back to the early years of racing. “Glory Road,” seen from the outside when purchasing your admission ticket is the grand welcoming ambassador of what your day will be like inside the hall.
The view from outside looking into the building:
Glory Road…you can hear the roar of the engines!
Beyond Glory Road lies a comprehensive set of exhibits on the second and third levels. This is the point where the Hall of Fame becomes a museum. You will find a lot of creative and dynamic interactive displays. From the Racing Simulator where you see the race from the driver’s perspective to the Pit Crew Challenge, each display captures your attention and makes you want more racing!
Here are a few photos of the various areas on these floors:
Racing Simulator where you can try your skills as a driver:
Pit Crew Challenge…watching on television is nothing compared to experiencing it yourself!
The NASCAR Hall of Fame building tells the story of NASCAR’s growth. From the founders of racing who were shade tree mechanics and moonshine running, to the NASCAR of today that has been shaped by corporate interests and commercial opportunities, the track has come to town!
Historic artifacts, interactive features, a cascade of visual images and a sound system so cutting edge you feel like you are in Pit Row during a race - nothing has been left out. About the only sense left unattended is smell. There is no stink of gasoline or burning rubber…..yet!
On level 4, your adventure continues with “the Spotter Ball”, a lot of history lessons and a little color from the help of the M&M racing team.
The Spotter Ball: It just didn’t seem to be this big on the track!
Inside “The Spotter Ball”: As you stand inside the ball, you will hear recordings of real races!
Find out who the most colorful fan is with a little help from Red.My favorite area!
Journey back through over 60 years of exciting NASCAR history!
Overall I felt everyone involved in the birth of the NASCAR Hall of Fame captured the essence of racing. The building offers a sense of movement and speed, with a ribbon made of more than 3,000 stainless steel shingles that partially loops the exterior of the huge building. When lit at night with colored lights, it twists and leaps over the entrance, a bit of drama reproduced on the Hall of Fame logo. The designers used circular movement to organize the interior spaces and curves to make them dynamic.
As my adventure ended and I crossed the finish line, I knew I would go back again. I have been told by a reliable source that the displays will periodically change out, new artifacts given to the museum on loan will be displayed and most of all, you never known who will drop by on any given day!