Source: Press Release
January 25, 2007
The NASCAR Hall of Fame took one step closer to opening its doors to the public as fans, VIPs and racing legends from NASCAR’s past and present gathered on the Hall’s site today to officially break ground and begin construction of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Mayor Pat McCrory and NASCAR President Mike Helton participated in the celebratory event that included members of the Charlotte City Council as Grand Marshals and Jennifer Roberts, representing the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Bank of America and Wachovia Corp.
“Today was a special day, ” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “We set out several years ago with a goal to create a NASCAR Hall of Fame to preserve and honor our past as well as give a glimpse into the future. Today, we took a very important step forward in making that goal become a reality. ”
As shovels - shaped like pit crew gas cans - were put into the ground, engines roared from historic stock cars driven by seven-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champions Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Fans cheered loudly for NASCAR legends in attendance including the sports all-time ‘winningest’ driver and still one of the sports all time favorites, Richard Petty. Rick Hendrick joined the groundbreaking team not only as a championship car owner in all three of NASCAR’s top touring series, but as the Honorary Grand Marshal of the bid to bring the NASCAR Hall of Fame to the Charlotte region. Video and audio showcasing the past eras of racing gave an exciting background to the photo opportunity of the year.
“We wanted to be sure we accomplished a couple of things with this groundbreaking: first, that it was like no other, just as unique as the future NASCAR Hall of Fame will be and second, that the history of NASCAR was front and center, ” said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame for the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. We believe our unique format modeled after a NASCAR pre-race ceremony and having more than 30 competitors and members of the NASCAR community representing all decades and touring divisions of NASCAR racing certainly achieved those goals. We are particularly grateful for the tremendous support from both the NASCAR and greater Charlotte community. ”
"When people think of NASCAR, we want them to think of Charlotte," Mayor Pat McCrory said. "Racing was built here. Most of today’s top teams call the Charlotte region home and as the site of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, we are establishing our place in the history and as the future of the sport."
Robert Lauth, chairman of Lauth Property Group, participated in the event by officially breaking ground on NASCAR Plaza, a 19-story, 390,000 square foot office tower. Approximately one-third of NASCAR Plaza will be leased by NASCAR Licensing and NASCAR Images. Lauth will lease the remaining office space to other tenants. “For the past 30-years Lauth has built a nationwide reputation for quality and trust, ” said Bob Lauth. “We are proud to begin construction of NASCAR Plaza, Charlotte’s most recognizable business address. ”
On March 6, 2006, NASCAR announced its decision to choose the Charlotte region as the site for this once-in-a-lifetime attraction. With the estimated completion date being the first quarter of 2010, this state-of-the-art facility will honor the NASCAR icons and create an enduring tribute to the drivers, crew members, team owners and others that have impacted the sport in the past, present and yet to come. The Hall will include:
- approximately 40,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space;
- numerous elements honoring the history and heritage of the sport;
- educational components and interactive exhibits highlighting current race week experiences from the competitors’ perspective;
- a state-of-the-art theatre;
- a hall honoring inductees;
- television and radio studios;
- a high tech, comprehensive media center;
- and a retail outlet and restaurant.
The complex also includes a 100,000 square foot convention center expansion that includes a new 40,000 square foot ballroom that can seat up to 2,500 people. ” For more information, visit www.belongshere.com.