Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway was constructed in 1959 and opened a year later. It is the site of major Nascar racing events each year, along with smaller events held at the track throughout the course of the year. The track is a mile and half of oval asphalt that is owned by Speedway Motor Sports Inc. The capacity of the track has changed many times over the years do to expansion and improvement but now seats around 89,000.
Backstory and Context
For over five decades the Charlotte Motor Speedway has consistently set the standard for entertainment across the motor sporting industry. It is well known as “The Greatest Place to See the Race” mainly because of it’s overwhelmingly vast quality and production value. Generating nearly $451 million annually in economic impact it shows that the “proof is in the pudding.” Not only does the stadium host three premier NASCAR events each year, the NASCAR All-Star Race, the Coca-Cola 600, and the Bank of America 500, but it is widely known to also produce almost three dozen other events of automotive and motorsport events for all ages. Charlotte Motor Speedway coined the phrase “Always put the Fans First” and they never undermine that key philosophy.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway was actually designed and built by current chairmen and NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee O. Bruton Smith. He hired H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler as the General Manager and the two executed improvements and expansions over the years. In 1984, Charlotte became the only sports facility in America to allow year-round living modifications to their 40 condos above turn one of the racetrack. If this is not already a substantial outlier from the rest of racetracks in America to top it off twelve more condos were built in 1991.
Not only did the two innovate modern racing but they put their best foot forward every step of the way. With a $1.7 million purchase they received 1,200-fixtures of permanent lighting systems that allowed the track to simulate daylight without glare, shadows, or obtrusive light poles. Installed in 1992, this is what allowed the track to become the first to host night racing in modern day.
In addition to the already state of the art track that commonly hosted major events, the Charlotte Motor Speedway includes a 2.25-mile road course and a six-tenths-mile karting layout in the infield of the track. An oval, quarter-mile asphalt track utilizes part of the front stretch and pit road as well as a one-fifth-mile oval track positioned outside turn 3 can also be utilized for other race types and venues.
In 2011, the speedway set a Guinness World Record for the largest HDTV at a sports venue. The TV’s covered almost 16,000 square feet.
The track received a new garage for the NASCAR XFINITY Series, a media center, and additional restrooms and showers for use by those experiencing the action from the speedway's infield. In 2012, the speedway opened, a corporate hospitality in the infield. Six elevated Pit Road Suites, located directly behind pit road, allow fans to have arguably the best view in motorsports, bringing them closer to the action than ever before.
The area around Charlotte Motor Speedway was once the site of a working plantation during the Civil War.
The first president of the United States, George Washington, often ate lunch in the house that functioned as the speedway’s offices.
Speedway Facts. charlottemotorspeedway.com. 2016. 4/27/17. http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/fans/speedway_facts/.