April 7, 2012
By Donalde z Smith
The NASCAR Hall of Fame (HOF), licensed by NASCAR, is back in the headlines.
The facility is the recipient of the “2012 About.com Charlotte Readers' Choice Award*” for Best Museum in Charlotte. Other finalists in this category were: The Billy Graham Library, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte Museum of History, and the Mint Museum Uptown/Randolph.
Many fans do not realize that the NASCAR Hall of Fame** is owned by the City of Charlotte. It opened on May 11, 2010, and was designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike. It was the second highest attended sports Hall of Fame in America its opening year.
The HOF’s high-tech venue features high-octane fun with more than 50 hands-on stations, authentic NASCAR artifacts, and historic stock car exhibits. Visitors can actively get involved and practice a pit stop, walk through a full-size NASCAR Sprint Cup hauler, call a race, get behind the wheel in iRacing simulators, and more. Younger fans can get their hands-on experience in Kobalt Kids Zone and Race Week’s child-friendly pit stop challenge.
Photo Courtesy Paul Smith
Z. Mom Smith With Junior Johnson
"Being voted Best Museum in Charlotte is a huge honor for the NASCAR Hall of Fame," said Winston Kelley, executive director for the 150,000 square-foot facility. "We are genuinely honored to receive such a prestigious award especially considering the remarkable array of museums that we are fortunate to have in Charlotte. This also helps validate the incredible and collaborative work from the huge team involved in designing and building the NASCAR Hall of Fame along with the superb staff we have who embrace each and every guest who we are honored to have as our guests."
NASCAR Race Mom happily visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame during the first week of December 2011. The site is opened to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. -- seven days a week. My husband and I arrived right as it opened. The staff proved to be very knowledgeable and friendly.
I enjoyed the historical racing artifacts and hands-on exhibits the most. My favorite was the “banking exhibit.” It even allowed you to walk up a 33-degree bank. I learned that a car can go faster on a banked turn than a flat turn, in part because the driver does not have to slow down as much going into the turn. Steeper banking equals higher speeds. However, I found it impossible to walk up the 33-degree bank without the assist of the hand rail.
Last January, the third annual NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place in the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center. The third annual class of Inductees included Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Inman, Richie Evans, and Glen Wood.
Should you get the opportunity to visit Charlotte, North Carolina -- be sure to spend some time at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. There are a lot of things to see and enjoy. All the fans we interacted with during our trip appeared to be really blissful and in awe of all that NASCAR had to offer!
As a side note: Junior Johnson, aged 80, is dealing with health issues. Junior Johnson Racing’s General Manager, Keith Barnwell, stated that the medical complications are associated with Johnson’s 2009 back surgery (staph infection). It has also been reported that Johnson needs a pacemaker, but the procedure can't be completed until his infection clears.
Dubbed “The Last American Hero,” the former moonshiner won 50 races as a driver and 132 races and six Cup championships as a team owner. Junior Johnson was a member of the first class to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
NASCAR Race Mom had the honor of interviewing Mr. Johnson a couple years back. He is truly a gentleman and a NASCAR Legend. Please keep Junior Johnson in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.
*Now in its fifth year, the About.com Readers' Choice Awards honor the best products, features, and services across more than a dozen categories, ranging from technology to hobbies to parenting and more, as selected by its readers.
"This year's Readers' Choice Awards program had a record number of nominations submitted across dozens of categories and featured hundreds of finalists," said Margot Weiss, managing editor, About.com. "We are thankful to all our readers for their participation and congratulate the NASCAR Hall of Fame on their success."
** The NASCAR Hall of Fame is conveniently located in uptown Charlotte, N.C. at 400 East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. For more information about the NASCAR Hall of Fame, guests should call 704-654-4400 or visit NASCARHall.com.
If you would like to learn more about Donalde z Smith, please check out her web site at NASCAR Race Mom.
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.