Charlotte celebrates 60 years of Charlotte Motor Speedway events with the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend. With all the NASCAR events, museums and opportunities to rub shoulders with racing greats, you won't want to miss this adrenaline-charged extravaganza.
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Race fans rejoice: Charlotte in May means, yes, gorgeous azalea blooms, but also the Coca-Cola 600. One of NASCAR’s most highly anticipated events, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s annual highlight celebrates 60 years over Memorial Day weekend. The event kicks off with a patriotic salute and includes a concert, this year featuring Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick.
HIT THE GIFT SHOP AT THE COCA COLA 600
While at the race, check out the Charlotte Motor Speedway Gift Shop, a haven for all things NASCAR, from decorative speed-limit signs and hats to ladies’ tanks, T-shirts and more. Gift shop hours are M-Sa, 9 am-5 pm; Su, 1-5 pm; it opens at 8 am on race days.
NASCAR HALL OF FAME
Even the crosswalks in front of the NASCAR Hall of Fame resemble checkered flags, and the hype around the sport only accelerates inside. This year, Richard Childress Racing and the Hall partner on a new exhibit, “RCR 50: Only in America,” that takes a look back at the 50 years of one of the sport’s elite teams. Celebrate the 2017 Hall of Famer while getting a close-up experience with the race cars and artifacts, and family and team members who helped build the Childress empire. Afterwards, stop by the Hall of Honor where the Hall’s inductees are enshrined, then make a pit stop at the Hall’s Gear Shop, where you’ll find collectibles such as pennants, jackets, stickers, driving gloves and more.
THE PETTY MUSEUM
Richard Petty Motorsports is the winningest NASCAR Cup team in history with 273 wins. Today, the organization fields the famed No. 43 for Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., but the story of stock car racing and Richard Petty’s own go hand-in-hand. Established in 1988, The Petty Museum celebrates and preserves Petty’s legacy as one of the most respected and winningest drivers in history in his home of Randleman, NC. Explore memorabilia and view vintage original Winston Cup and Grand National Championship race cars. Stop by the Museum Store for everything from T-shirts, books, magazines and collectible diecast cars to Petty’s signature Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hats.
Fun fact: Richard Petty will autograph merchandise purchased in the Museum Store.
NASCAR TEAM GEAR
A premier destination in motorsports, the Queen City and her neighboring counties are home to 90 percent of all NASCAR race shops. From Roush Fenway Racing, sporting drivers Ryan Newman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Richard Childress Racing, operated by former driver Richard Childress, to Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing, team shops gives you high-octane, behind-the-scenes access to how they prepare for race days.
Fan of Kurt Busch or Kyle Larson? Hit up the Team Store at Chip Ganassi Racing, in Concord. And with many more team shops, including Joe Gibbs Racing, featuring racers Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, in Huntersville, there’s no shortage of shopping options to hunt your favorite souvenirs.