Explore Charlotte

When It's Race Time, Head for Speed Street

Buttress your race-time visit during the Coca-Cola 600 with a stop at Uptown's Speed Street and area race shops.

NASCAR fanatics, award-winning national music acts and, of course, the requisite turkey legs and corn dogs transform Tryon Street in Uptown into a race-lover’s paradise during this weekend-long devotion to the 56th running of the Coca-Cola 600, which takes place at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Speed Street festival, from May 21 to 23, expects to draw more than 400,000 people by showing off the best motor sports has to offer, including appearances by top Sprint Cup drivers, dynamic family/friendly exhibits, a kids zone, live entertainment and an assembly of NASCAR show cars and simulators. Performers on the entertainment stage during the three days will include Departure, a Journey tribute band; Corey Smith; Craig Wayne Boyd, winner of Season 7 of "The Voice," and Dennis DeYoung with the music of Styx. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Noon to midnight each day, Tryon Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Free admission. www.600festival.com

Other Area Stops

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who hails from nearby Mooresville, is among the drivers at the Hendrick Motorsports race shop. (©Logan Cyrus)

During track down time north of the Queen City, visit these nearby race shops:

Richard Childress Racing

Just an hour north of Charlotte is the vast headquarters of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, who purchased his first race car for $20. The 47,000-square-foot RCR Racing Museum displays nearly 50 cars, including 22 driven by Dale Earnhardt. The original No. 3 race shop is open to visitors; Childress Vineyards offers daily tours and tastings. www.rcrracing.com

Hendrick Motorsports

Fans can visit the race shops of renowned drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Stop at the Hendrick Team Store to gear up for your favorite driver and see a museum that chronicles many victory-lane trips. www.hendrickmotorsports.com

Roush Fenway Racing

Over the past 27 years, Jack Roush has won 32 championships and 400-plus races in drag racing, sports car and stock car racing, with five championships in NASCAR’s top three divisions. Enjoy extended museum hours for racing season. www.roushfenway.com


Penske made its NASCAR debut in 1972, when it also earned its first Indy 500 victory. Legends include Mario Andretti; today, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano still make a name for the team. www.penskeracing.com

Great Wolf Offers Play With Stay

Fort MacKenzie
Fort MacKenzie (Courtesy Great Wolf Lodge)

Staying on the north side of Charlotte, say near the speedway and such attractions as the the Concord Mills Mall and its Sea Life Aquarium? You might want to consider a stay at nearby Great Wolf Lodge, a sprawling, Northwoods-themed resort that is an attraction unto itself. Parents can get themed suites such as KidKamp, which sports a fancy tent in mid-room, or dispatch the younger ones to the resort’s water park, which offers a dozen-plus features, such as the Howlin’ Tornado with a six-story drop down giant tubes or the four-story-high Fort MacKenzie, which tips a 1,000-gallon bucket from its tree tops to any lingering souls below. 10175 Weddington Road, Concord, 704.549.8206. www.greatwolf.com