Charlotte race weeks are quickly approaching and that means teams are opening their doors for fan appreciation days and drivers are signing autographs throughout the region.
We here at TNI wanted to get all Charlotte bound fans prepared for the next two weeks, so we have compiled a list of events and things to do.
If you know of any racing related events going on during the next two weeks and they aren’t included below please feel free to add them in the comment section and I will update the post.
Wednesday, May 13 - Mahle Clevite is hosting its annual Engine Builder Showdown. This year the event will take place during NASCAR Rev’d Up in Uptown Charlotte and will be hosted by Larry McReynolds. Rock band O.A.R will also host a free concert during NASCAR Rev’d Up. More info here.
Thursday, May 14 – Check out my favorite event, the 2009 Pit Crew Challenge held at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Uptown Charlotte. Watch 19 of the sport’s best pit crews go at to win bragging rights as best crew. Tickets are still available. More info here.
Friday, May 15 – Head up to Randleman for breakfast and a tour of the Victory Junction Gang Camp to benefit the NASCAR Foundation. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. More info here.
Friday, May 15 – Dale Earnhardt Inc. Fan Celebration. Head out to DEI in Mooresville to meet and get autographs from all of the Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing drivers and get lunch at DEI’s famed Trophy room. Wristbands are required. More info here and here.
Friday, May 15 – Jack Roush, RFR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and various local dignitaries will help open Roush Fenway’s new team store in Concord. More info here.
Saturday, May 16 – Looking for a little local color? The town of Mooresville will be holding their annual Race City Festival. There will be over 200 vendors and live entertainment. It is free of charge. More info here.
Tuesday, May 19 – Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports is hosting their annual fundraiser event at the NASCAR Speedpark in the Concord Mills Mall. This event gives fans a chance to race against some of their favorite drivers and get their autographs. More info here.
Tuesday, May 19 – Join Richard Petty, AJ Allmendinger and Reed Sorenson at The PIT Indoor Kart Racing in Mooresville to benefit the Paralyzed Veterans of America. More info here.
Wednesday, May 20 – The town of Mooresville will hold a ceremonial unveiling of their North Carolina Auto Racing Walk of Fame in downtown Mooresville. Richard Petty, David Pearson, and Kelley Earnhardt are scheduled to be on-hand to greet fans. More info here.
Wednesday, May 20 – Roush Fenway Racing driver David Ragan will be making an appearance at the NASCAR Speed Park. He will sign autographs and take part in a live MRN radio broadcast. More info here.
Wednesday, May 20 – Michael Waltrip Racing will hold their second annual fan appreciation day. All MWR and JTG-Daugherty Racing drivers will be on hand to sign autographs. Wristbands are required. More info here.
Thursday, May 21 – Roush Fenway Racing drivers will be signing autographs throughout the day. Tickets are required to get autographs and will be distributed at 8 a.m. that morning. More info here.
Thursday, May 21 to Saturday May, 23 – Looking for live music, food, and fun for free? Check out the 15th annual Food Lion Speedstreet located in Uptown Charlotte. Among others, country stars Jason Aldean, Clint Black and Rodney Atkins will perform free concerts. Also, don’t miss your chance to be on Trackside Live on SPEED. More info and a schedule of events here.
Friday, May 22 – Check out the Roush Fenway Racing Sprint Cup pit crews in action. They will have exhibitions for two separate hours on Friday. More info here.
Friday, May 22 – Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. will be signing autographs at the Outdoor World/Bass Pro Shops at Concord Mills Mall near the speedway. Wristbands are strongly encouraged. More info here.
Friday, May 22 – Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing driver Juan Pablo Montoya will be signing autographs at the Afton Ridge Target Store in Concord, NC. The first 200 fans will get an autograph. More info here.
Friday, May 22 – Richard Petty Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, AJ Allmendinger and Reed Sorenson as well as team co-owner Richard Petty will be on hand to sign autographs. Tickets are required. More info here.
Friday, May 22 – If you can’t wait until Sunday for racing the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Showdown will be at the Dirt Track at Lowes Motor Speedway. More info here.
Friday, May 22 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be the guest on QVC’s For Race Fans Only at his Whiskey River bar in Uptown Charlotte. Tickets are $20 and attendees must be 21 or older. More info here.
Throughout the next two weeks the race shops will also be open for fans to check out. Raceshops.com has a good list of team addresses and so does Jayski.com. Don’t forget about the Truck Series and Nationwide Series teams too.
There are several companies that give tours for a fee, but I encourage you to get a map and explore for yourself. I have never been on one of these tours, but I can promise they are not worth the money unless you are very opposed to driving.
Lowes Motor Speedway is also offering tours to DEI and Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and to Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing. The tour to EGR and DEI includes a behind the scenes tour and merchandise discounts. That tour is a little pricey at $25/adults and $8/kids, but you also get a ticket to Pole Night. The tour to Hendrick and RFR is $20/adults and $5/kids and also includes a ticket to Pole Night.
Another good day trip is up to Hillsborough, North Carolina to see the Occoneechee Speedway (formerly the Orange Speedway). It is the only remaining dirt track from the 1949 season. It is heavily overgrown, but the Historic Speedway Group has converted the track into a walking trail and reconstructed some of the out buildings. It is free and definitely worth the trip if you enjoy NASCAR history.
UPDATE: I forgot to include a couple of other places. If you are interested in museums there are two great ones in Mooresville. Memory Lane Museum has a lot of cool cars, there is a $10 entry fee though. Also the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame located across the street from Roush Fenway’s Mooresville shop has interesting cars and artifacts chronicling North Carolina’s motorsports history. They have a $6 entry fee.
If you are looking for a place to eat with a racing theme and some good barbecue hit up Lancaster’s in Mooresville. They have a ton of racing memorabilia on the walls; you can even eat in a converted school bus painted like Dale Earnhardt’s Wrangler ride.
*If you know if any other events during the next two weeks please use the comment box below and I will re-post this. If I come across other events I will also update and re-post this. If you have any questions, as always feel free to e-mail me.