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Speedway Christmas: These tips will help avoid some traffic at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Speedway Christmas is one of the most popular holiday attractions in the Charlotte area. The traffic is gnarly but there are ways to avoid the long lines.

CONCORD, N.C. — Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway returns Friday, with one of the largest Christmas light displays in the southeast drawing large crowds. 

And with those large crowds, you can expect traffic. A lot of traffic, especially on weekends. Speedway Christmas has 4 million lights covering a 4-mile course, so it takes a while for thousands of cars to snake through the show.  

Last year, some people waited in line for hours only to be turned away because the show closed before they got onto the Speedway property. If you're in line when the show closes at 10 p.m. you will be allowed in, but only if you are on Speedway property. If you're on an adjacent road, you won't be allowed in. 

The last thing you need is a traffic jam to steal your holiday cheer. So here's some ways you can enjoy the attraction and avoid the potential headache.

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The first, and easiest option, is to buy an express pass. Only available on Thursday through Sunday, the express pass will set you back $70, but you get to drive in a special line that skips the general-purpose lanes. There is a maximum of 15 people allowed in express lane vehicles, so if you find another family to go with, you can help split the costs and come out ahead on time and money. 

A standard pass is $40, but if you go on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, the price is dropped to $30. NOTE: Express passes are NOT available Monday - Wednesday. Click here for more information about buying tickets online.


Have you ever heard the old saying "if you're on time, you're late?" That definitely applies to Speedway Christmas. The show runs from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. each night, but if you try to arrive right at 6 p.m. or a little after, you're probably going to wait in a long line unless you opt for an express pass. 

With sunset starting around 5:15 p.m., getting to the track a little early and waiting in line for the gates to open isn't a bad idea. The closer you are to the front, the fewer cars you'll wait behind seeing the lights and accessing the Christmas Village.


The weekends are the most popular days for people to go, with kids being out of school and many parents off work. But that means more traffic and long lines that can zap the fun out of the holiday spectacle. 

Charlotte Motor Speedway recommends families consider Sunday through Thursday nights for quicker entry. Arriving early is recommended every night, as well. The Christmas Village is open Thursdays through Sunday, including photos with Santa, vendors, s'mores and an indoor movie theater. 

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