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NASCAR Hall of Fame Announces Opening Date, Unveils Artifacts on Historic Race Date for Charlotte

Source: Press Release   

June 19, 2009

Facility Grand Opening Planned for May 11, 2010

The NASCAR® Hall of Fame today announced May 11, 2010 as the official grand opening date for the state-of-the-art facility under construction in Charlotte, N.C . 

“I am thrilled to announce that Charlotte will proudly welcome visitors to the NASCAR Hall of Fame with its grand opening on May 11, 2010,” said City of Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory at the NASCAR Hall of Fame announcement on June 19. “It is a testament to our strong history and an exciting glimpse into our region’s dynamic future to be able to announce this upcoming milestone date today, on our city’s 60th anniversary of its first NASCAR race.”

Charlotte hosted the first-ever NASCAR “Strictly Stock” race – later called the Grand National and now the Sprint Cup series – 60 years ago today, June 19, 1949, at the Charlotte Speedway, which was located a few miles east of the site of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

“This is a very exciting time in the development of the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” said Winston Kelley, Executive Director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “We’re less than a year away from opening the doors that will give visitors an unparalleled experience of the energy, excitement, technology and incredible history of NASCAR – a sport that is so closely tied to our city, our region and our rich heritage in racing.”

Charlottean David Allison, whose family owned Charlotte Speedway, was on site for the announcement along with Hickory, N.C. native Ned Jarrett, who was a teenage spectator at the historic 150-mile race and went on to become a two-time NASCAR Grand National Champion (1961, 1965) and later a broadcast race commentator.

As part of the announcement, the NASCAR Hall of Fame unveiled three new artifacts that will be featured in the facility when it opens next year. Included among a host of interactive displays, exhibits and artifacts will be the blazer that Ned Jarrett wore while he commentated the 1993 Daytona 500 in which his son, Dale, staved off Dale Earnhardt to claim his first Daytona 500 win.  The artifact represents the close family ties within NASCAR, a sport in which fathers, sons, brothers and cousins race with each other, for each other and against each other.

Artifacts in the NASCAR Hall of Fame also will celebrate the origins of NASCAR and racing. The Hall announced that it will feature a reproduction of a Charlotte Speedway track poster from 1924, which illustrates Charlotte’s deep roots in racing, and an original entry blank from the first-ever NASCAR Strictly Stock series event, held June 19, 1949, at Charlotte Speedway. These artifacts will be among the nearly 1,000 that will be on display when the Hall opens next May.

To date, the NASCAR Hall of Fame has announced two major artifacts for display in the Hall – the Plymouth Belvedere that Richard Petty drove to 27 wins in 1967, and an epic collection of NASCAR awards and memorabilia donated by Raymond Parks, including the first NASCAR trophy ever awarded a team. Exhibits that will showcase artifacts such as these at the NASCAR Hall of Fame are currently under development.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch a comprehensive sales campaign this fall, including ticket and membership sales, and will feature the marketing tagline “Where the race lives on.” The campaign is being developed by Charlotte marketing communications firm Wray Ward.

“On May 11, 2010, NASCAR Hall of Fame guests can immerse themselves in the history of NASCAR, see literally every aspect of the sport up close, and have personal, hands-on experiences of today’s competitors and those of yesteryear,” Kelley said.

“I am constantly amazed at the depth and breadth of the racing experience our exhibition team is developing – there is something for people of all ages and all levels of knowledge of NASCAR and the sport’s milestone moments,” he said. “The NASCAR Hall of Fame is the place where the stories live on. It’s where the excitement lives on. It’s where the race lives on.”

The NASCAR Hall of Fame broke ground in Charlotte on January 25, 2007 and will open May 11, 2010. The facility will honor the history and heritage of NASCAR and the many who have contributed to the success of NASCAR. The Hall of Fame will comprise 150,000 square feet, including exhibit space, state-of-the-art theater, a Hall of Honor that will house the commemorations of Hall of Fame inductees, numerous interactive entertainment experiences, a themed restaurant, retail outlet, and a modern media center for the industry. The Hall will be owned by the City of Charlotte and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

Media Contacts:
Molly Hedrick                    
Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority    
(704) 331-2737    

Heather Tamol
Wray Ward
(704) 661-0709

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