Winners Circle Charlotte Motor Speedway
My wife and I recently attended an AACA (Antique Auto Club of America) event in Charlotte, NC. Of course we wanted to take in some of the race shops in the area but because of COVID-19 none of them were open. We then visited the Charlotte Motor Speedway with the same result. It was all closed up. However, I spotted a line of cars and a couple of tour vans in the parking lot just outside of the entrance to the museum. It looked like a tour to me so I ran over to see if they were doing track tours and yes; they were!
The guide said they were just leaving and the only way we could join is if we had cash. The cost was $30 per vehicle. I peeled off $30 in cash and we were now part of it. I didn’t ask what we were going to see or where we were going. All I knew is we hadn’t been able to do anything all day and now we were! As it turned out, we struck gold and our wasted day was suddenly a good day.
The tour lasted an hour and took us on the big banked oval, the road course, pit row and inside every building in the infield! Everyone toured in their own cars. They instructed us to tune our FM radio to the required frequency for a live tour guide’s description of what we were seeing. We even got to stop on the finish line for a photo opportunity and again at the bottom of a high banked turn where we could walk up the “hill” to the outside wall.
It was an excellent tour. Katrina and I have been on the Bristol Speedway with the highest banked turns on the NASCAR circuit and we were up against the wall, both stopped and at speed. It was cool. We have likewise been on Talladega and Daytona, but it took Charlotte to scare us. Why? Because this time we were not in a car. We were in our Ford F350 Dually that sits way up in the air. Being on the Charlotte Motor Speedway banking and sitting way above the track in that truck exaggerated the experience. We both felt very uncomfortable. It was like if one of us leaned the least amount to our left, the truck would tip over and roll down the banking!
At the conclusion of the tour I asked the guide if she knew of any race shops that might be open and she stated the obvious, no. But then she asked where we planned to eat that night? I replied that we had no plans and would likely just eat at the hotel. She asked if we would like to eat at the Charlotte Speedway Club? Is a Ford faster than a Chevy? Of course we would. She said it is for Members only, but she could give us a guest card and all we had to do was make a reservation.
I quickly made a reservation. We went back to our hotel, cleaned up and headed for the Speedway Club! The entry was very impressive, and we took the elevator to the correct floor. Stepping out of the elevator was even more impressive. The dinning room is a class walled, tiered, exquisite restaurant located above the spectator stands on the finish line. It provides a view that would make watching any race at the track a life-changing event. We likely never watch a race from a private speedway suite or from the Speedway Club, but we can now imagine what it must be like.
If you ever have the opportunity to tour the track or visit the Club make sure you do, you will not be disappointed.