Charlotte Motor Speedway
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Ultimate Charlotte Motor Speedway Guide: Everything You Need to Know for Race Day Fun!

Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval track of Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of the most impressive facilities on the NASCAR tour. The track is located in Concord, North Carolina, just a few miles away from Charlotte. In 1960, it became the first track to run a 600-mile NASCAR race. Scott Cooper, Vice President of Communications, will tell us what’s so special about the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

We’ve got tremendous car shows. The track is actually in use with driving schools, TV commercial shoots, and special events about 300 out of 365 days per year. So let’s get on the bus and enjoy the tour off the racetrack.

Charlotte Motor Speedway History

Charlotte Motor Speedway is in the heartland of NASCAR, located in Concord, North Carolina. It hosts one of NASCAR’s crown jewel races, the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on our schedule.  Let’s dive into the basics of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Charlotte was built in 1960 with a grandstand capacity of 95,000 people. It’s a one-and-a-half-mile quad-oval with a 2.2-mile roval configuration as well and has seen 56 different winners in its time.

Charlotte Motor Speedway was designed and built by Bruton Smith and Hall of Fame driver Curtis Turner. Bruton is well known for being the founder of SMI, or Speedway Motorsports Inc. SMI owns and operates many tracks on the NASCAR schedule today.

The project broke ground in 1959, with the completion of the track happening on June 19, 1960. That was the day of the track’s first race, and it would be the sport’s first look at their 600-mile crown jewel. At the time, it would hold the World 600 name, later being changed to the Coca-Cola 600. The track would be built with a one-and-a-quarter-million-dollar budget, which adjusted for inflation, is $13.1 million today.

These guys got steals back in the day! If we look at Chicagoland, which was built in 1999, it had a $130 million budget. Man, how times have changed! The track hasn’t seen a reconfiguration of the layout and has only ever seen repaves in regards to the surface.

In 1992, permanent lighting was installed at the track, making it the largest lit speedway in America until 1998 when lights were installed at Daytona, a track that went by a completely different name from 1999 to 2009 where Lowe’s would purchase the naming rights for 10 years.

This resulted in the track being known as Lowe’s Motor Speedway, making it the first track with a corporate sponsor holding naming rights. Lowe’s chose not to renew that contract at the end of 2009, so the name would revert back to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Now let’s move to configurations, and there are only two of them for this one, so it should be fairly simple. The primary configuration of Charlotte Motor Speedway was previously mentioned. It’s a one-and-a-half-mile quad-oval, and this has stayed the same since the track opened in 1960. It has 24 degrees of banking in the turns and five degrees in the straight. This layout has not seen any changes other than repaves over the years.

Many other tracks like Atlanta and Texas Motor Speedway would follow in the track’s footsteps for their layout. The roval came about in 2018 and has only seen one change to its layout.

In the inaugural race at the roval in 2018, the backstretch chicane caused many problems. So much so that they even removed the tire barrier due to many cars slamming into it.

In 2018, the chicane measured 32 feet wide at its widest point. For 2019, they expanded that to 54 feet and added additional runoff areas for drivers. The length and number of turns have stayed the same, being 2.28 miles in length and featuring 17 turns. And here’s the fun fact: Ryan Blaney is the only driver currently to have won on both configurations. He would win the inaugural roval race in 2018 and at the time of this recording is the most recent winner on the one-and-a-half-mile quad-oval with his win in the 2023 Coca-Cola 600. At 28, the main roval race is extremely painful for me to talk about as a Jimmy fan.

And then we move on to drivers who got their first win at the track. Charlotte Motor Speedway has been the site of nine drivers’ first wins, and they have all come on the one-and-a-half-mile quad-oval.

You would think that the roval would present itself as a place to grab a surprise win, but we’re still waiting for that. Here are the nine to grab their first career wins at the Concord quad-oval. First on this list is a Hall of Famer, the son of Legend Buck Baker, Buddy Baker. Buddy would grab the first of 19 career wins in 1967 at the track. But he was named to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2020. And then the next driver to grab their first career win here would come the very next season in 1968.

Charlie Glotzbach would grab his first of four wins here. Charlie was known as the “Charging Comet,” and he also holds the record for the fastest race run at Bristol Motor Speedway. And then here’s a massive one, a true Rushmore driver, Jeff Gordon, would grab his and the number 24’s first-ever win at Charlotte in 1994 at the Coke 600. Win number 193 for Gordon. This was the start of one of the greatest careers in NASCAR history.

Jeff was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2019 and now holds a significant role at Hendrick Motorsports as their Vice Chairman. And then another Hall of Famer would get their first career win the very next Coca-Cola 600.

Bobby Labonte would grab the first of 21 wins at Charlotte in 1995’s Coca-Cola 600. The 2000 Series Champion was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2020. And then how about three Hall of Famers in a row?

Matt Kenseth would be the next to grab their first career win at Charlotte. Kenseth would win 39 times in his Hall of Fame career, and win number one would come in 2000 at the Coca-Cola 600. The 2003 series champ would be inducted into the NASCAR Hall in 2023. Then, all right, the Hall of Fame streak is over, but the next driver to grab their first win at Charlotte would do something pretty special as well. Jamie

Charlotte Motor Speedway About

Now, in 1959, Bruton Smith, a car dealer from Oakboro, North Carolina, and Curtis Turner, who was in the lumber industry up in Virginia, teamed up and decided to build Charlotte Motor Speedway. Now, this facility sits on 2,100 acres of land. The track is a 1.5-mile oval with 24-degree banking and a 5-degree straightaway.

The facility holds 140,000 people in the seats, and 20,000 on the infield for a total of 160,000. That’s a muscular light system. The light is in their great box that shows up onto reflectors, and reflected light then goes out on track. All the light going on our track is reflective lighting.

We have no direct lighting on the track; therefore, we have less glare and less shadowing on the track. Now, look right over there; you see four towers. That big tower we rebuilt in 1999, has 22,000 seats, and fifteen VIP suites.

Now, Ford donated $14 million to get that built. It’s 192 feet off the infield. We call the nosebleed seats Diamond Tower and Diamond Terrace on the end over there were built 1997-1998, 36,000 seats, and forty-three VIP suites. Those are the on-site condos. That first long building was built in 1984.

There are 40 units in there, 1200 square foot two-bedroom units. Original cost $35,000. The second building was built in 1991, there are 12 units in there, 1600 square foot units. We’re going to take you up on 24 degrees now. I’ll show you what it feels like. Keep in mind, that Daytona is 31, Bristol 36, Talladega 33. This is only 24 degrees, but to give you an idea of what the rest of those tracks must feel like.”

Things to Know Before You Go Charlotte Motor Speedway

  • Coolers are allowed in the grandstand, though there are size limitations. Glass containers are not permitted.
  • Alcohol and smoking are not permitted within family seating sections.
  • It’s possible to stay overnight near the Speedway at a variety of campgrounds.
  • The speedway is accessible to those with limited mobility.

When to Get Charlotte Motor Speedway

The best time to visit Charlotte Motor Speedway would depend on your personal interests and the specific events or experiences you’re looking for. The speedway holds numerous races and events all year round. Make sure to visit the website for the most recent schedule. Larger races often feature pre-race concerts and various activities. Many attendees also relish tailgating in the parking lots before the race begins. You can check the latest events from the official Charlotte Motor Speedway website.

How to Reach Charlotte Motor Speedway

To reach Charlotte Motor Speedway, you can use several transportation options:

1. By Car: Charlotte Motor Speedway is easily accessible by car. It is located at 5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord, NC 28027, just off Interstate 85. Simply use a GPS navigation system or follow the signs along the highway.

2. By Public Transportation: While public transportation options are limited, some bus services might have routes that pass near the speedway. You can check with local transit authorities for any available options.

3. By Shuttle Service: During major events, some hotels and event organizers offer shuttle services to and from the speedway. Check with your accommodation provider or event organizer to see if this option is available.

4. By Taxi or Ride-Sharing: Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are available in the area and can drop you off directly at the speedway.

5. By Air: If you’re flying into the area, the nearest major airport is Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), located about 25 miles southwest of the speedway. From there, you can rent a car or take a taxi/ride-sharing service to reach Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Regardless of the mode of transportation you choose, it’s a good idea to plan your route in advance, especially during major events when traffic can be heavy.

FAQ: Charlotte Motor Speedway

How do I purchase tickets for events at Charlotte Motor Speedway?

Tickets for events at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online through the official website or at the speedway’s ticket office. You can also check with authorized ticket vendors or resellers for availability.

Can I bring outside food and drinks into the speedway?

Outside food and beverages are generally not permitted inside the speedway during events. However, there are various food and beverage options available for purchase inside the venue.

Are there accommodations available for guests with disabilities?

Yes, Charlotte Motor Speedway offers accommodations for guests with disabilities, including accessible seating, parking, and restrooms. It’s recommended to contact the speedway in advance to make arrangements and inquire about specific needs.

  1. Is tailgating allowed at Charlotte Motor Speedway? Yes, tailgating is allowed in designated areas of the parking lots before events. However, it’s important to follow the speedway’s tailgating guidelines and policies regarding alcohol consumption, trash disposal, and vehicle parking.
  2. What happens in case of inclement weather during an event? In the event of inclement weather, Charlotte Motor Speedway may postpone or reschedule the event. Updates and announcements regarding weather-related changes will be communicated through the speedway’s official channels, including their website and social media platforms.
  3. Are there guided tours available at Charlotte Motor Speedway? Yes, Charlotte Motor Speedway offers guided tours of the facility, providing visitors with behind-the-scenes access to areas such as the track, garages, and Victory Lane. Tour schedules and pricing can be found on the speedway’s website or by contacting their tour department.
  4. Can I bring my RV or camper to stay overnight at the speedway? Yes, Charlotte Motor Speedway offers RV camping options for guests who wish to stay overnight during events. Advance reservations are typically required, and fees may apply depending on the location and amenities provided.
  5. Are there any restrictions on what items I can bring into the speedway? Yes, there are restrictions on certain items that are not allowed inside Charlotte Motor Speedway, such as weapons, drones, fireworks, and large coolers. It’s recommended to review the speedway’s list of prohibited items before attending an event.