A look inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame

The car and steering wheel shake as you make your way around the track.


by NewsChannel 36 Staff


Posted on May 4, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 2:35 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NewsChannel 36 got an inside look at the 150,000-square-foot NASCAR Hall of Fame one week before it opened to the public.

Some advice: If you plan to visit the Hall of Fame, set aside a few hours because there's a lot to see and do.

The Hall of Fame experience starts with a 12-minute film inside a 275-seat theatre.

"Then, of course, people are going to see Glory Road. That takes us through the history of NASCAR," said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The Glory Road display features 18 cars -- from a 1939 Ford that ran in NASCAR's first race in 1948 to Jimmie Johnson's 2008 Sprint Cup car.

Kelley says Glory Road also shows the different degrees of the turns of each track. Talladega is the steepest.

"This is actually what it's like to race at Talladega -- how steep it is, and it's generally four stories tall," Kelley said.

Glory Road appropriately leads to the Hall of Honor, where later this month the first five inductees will be enshrined.

If you need a break, sit in the skybox. 

"The first time I sat in here after all the cars were uncovered, it literally brought me to tears," Kelley said.

The goal of the Hall of Fame is to interact. One example is a display that visitors go inside a garage, join the pit crew and even get behind the wheel.

"Apparently, when I'm at Darlington, I have to hit the brakes in the curves," Kelley said, describing his experience in one of 15 racing simulators on site.

Molly Hedrick, with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, thinks the Hall of Fame will be a huge draw to the city.

"I remember when we got the bid, when it was announced the NASCAR Hall of Fame was coming to Charlotte. It was on CNN in London," Hedrick said.

The Hall of Fame has something for everyone.

"Whether you're 5 years old or 85 years old, whether you've grown up in the sport of NASCAR or whether you've never been around it, we've tried to focus on things that everybody would enjoy," Kelley said.

The grand opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame was Tuesday, May 11. General admission tickets are $19.95.