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NASCAR Hall of Fame enters Turn 1

Source: Charlotte Observer  

January 25, 2007

After months of intense negotiations, planning, the inking of contracts and suggestions from just about everyone, the first tangible evidence of the NASCAR Hall of Fame will appear today.

The city of Charlotte, NASCAR, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and the hall's main developer will host a 3 p.m. groundbreaking at the site, bordered by Stonewall, Caldwell and Brevard streets and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The public is invited.

For that matter, the public is actively courted. Organizers, while releasing few details, said they plan an event to accompany the usual officials-with-shovels photo opportunity that will honor NASCAR's storied past.

Such notables as Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison and NASCAR President Mike Helton are expected, along with N.C. Gov. Mike Easley and Mayor Pat McCrory. Current stars Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were invited, but are preparing for this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona race, said CRVA spokeswoman Molly Hedrick.

"The one message we're trying to send with this is that this is about the history of the sport ...and the ceremony will honor that," Hedrick said. "We're trying not to give too much away, though."

The hall is scheduled to open in early 2010.

Want to Go? What: Groundbreaking for the NASCAR Hall of Fame and NASCAR Plaza. When: 3 p.m. today. Where: The site bordered by Brevard, Caldwell and Stonewall streets and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in uptown.
Directions: See www.charlotteconventionctr.com/directions.asp or call the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority at 704-339-6040. Parking: Visitors can park in pay lots uptown, in metered spaces or at the Westin Charlotte hotel next to the Charlotte Convention Center.

Greg Lacour: 704-358-5067 or glacour@charlotteobserver.com