A Day in the Racing Capital

(Tuesday’s recap)

We started the morning bright and early with a surprise at the camper…

Thank you, Aunt Lisa!

At this point they still only knew we were going to see race cars but didn’t really understand. It wasn’t until we were in the truck this morning that we explained how the Charlotte area is a popular place for all the NASCAR shops. Levi was ecstatic!

Our first stop was Hendricks Motorsports. The boys both have Chase Elliott (Napa) racing hats. He is part of the Hendricks team so it was a perfect day for them to wear those.

Inside the Hendricks’ shop we had the opportunity to look at several displays of past cars, a lot of trophies and look into the garage where the final assembly for the cars takes place.

The pit crews were practicing behind the museum so we watched them for a while and they gave the boys used lug nuts from the tires!!! Did you know each lug but can only be used once? However, engines are supposed to be used twice (unless wrecked) before being removed from service.

Below is a link to the pit crew practice. This was so cool!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lGH3LaLKoQ

In Hendricks museum we were able to sit in a NASCAR seat. It was a tight fit getting in and out! These seats take six days to make per car and are molded to fit each driver.

Ken Schrader’s wrecked car from 1995 at Talladega was on display along with several other cars.

We found several cars from Uncle Jason’s favorite driver. Jeff Gordon was actually on site at Hendricks when we were there but we didn’t get to see him.

We stopped at a great BBQ restaurant called Jim ‘n Nick’s BBQ before heading to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a tour. We were the only people on that particular tour which made it really neat! The tour began with a drive to their four-lane drag strip, dirt track and the main race track. We were able to make two laps around the track and experience the steep slopes.

We saw the areas where the press sits, where they interview drivers and where PRN – Professional Racing Network – is broadcast.

Don’t these two look like naturals?

We stood in the winner’s circle and heard cool stories about the confetti (and even M&M’s) that were sprayed after wins.

The view from winner’s circle looking into the grandstand was an interesting sight. The seats are painted different colors so the stands look full on TV, even if they are only about 80% full.

We even got a chance to tour the suites and the Press Box. The picture below is from the Coca-Cola suite. Levi was fairly quiet most of the tour and taking it all in, but afterwards he repeated many of the details and asked a lot of questions.

The Bojangles’ Summer Shootout is held at the Charlotte track every Tuesday night during June and July. So after our tour we stayed for the races. There were probably around 10 races (plus Heats) which included grassroots racing for Bandoleros and Legend Cars. Although we weren’t in town for an actual NASCAR race, it was pretty cool to watch a race on the Charlotte track.

This was the first race Nick, Levi and Emmitt had seen on a NASCAR track. (I have previously been to the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.)

Favorite things from today…

Watching the races and getting Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR – Emmitt

Seeing the NASCARs, watching the pit practice and going to the race – Levi

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