Completed in 1959, Charlotte Motor Speedway is a regular venue for NASCAR events and will be hosting the Bank of America 500 on 13 October. The Sprint Cup 600-Mile race record of 155.687 was set by Kasey Kahne on 27 May 2012, and the Sprint Cup qualifying record is held by Elliott Sadler at 193.216 set in 2005. Don’t miss the excitement of the upcoming race!
Date: 13 October 2012
Venue: Charlotte Motor Speedway
State: North Carolina
Country: United States
A group of math and science students recently gathered at Charlotte Motor Speedway to hear a panel of experts, including an astronaut, explain a number of similarities between auto racing and space travel. Both astronauts and NASCAR or Formula 1 drivers rely on a team of aerodynamic scientists to maximize their speed while complying with safety measures. Both are subject to G-forces and extreme heat, and both are familiar with, and reliant upon, materials such as carbon fiber and Kevlar – an incredibly strong composite para-aramid synthetic fiber used in various applications.
While astronauts travel around the earth at approximately 17,500 miles per hour, seeing an entire day and night pass by in around 45 minutes, following the initial launch astronauts are no longer under tremendous physical stress. Traveling at high-speed, racing drivers have corners, gradients and camber to deal with, all of which can put tremendous strain on the human body – and while this G-force effect is not constant and not as strong as an astronaut experiences during a launch, it is repeated many times during a three or four hour race. The effort of intense concentration also takes its toll on a driver, requiring physical and mental fitness.
Site manager of Windshear Inc. and panel member at the Charlotte event, Jeff Bordner, noted that the principle of aerodynamics for automobiles was a spin-off of the aerodynamics and technology developed for aerospace. Windshear runs a 180 mph rolling-road wind tunnel used for testing vehicles, with NASCAR providing up to 65 percent of the company’s business. NASA and NASCAR have long been connected, going back to the time when General Electric engineers established facilities along Volusia Avenue in Daytona Beach, Florida – a street which is now known as International Speedway Boulevard – where it assembled rocket parts to be used at Cape Canaveral. Early astronauts, such as Gus Grissom and Pete Conrad, were reportedly big auto racing fans, and this fascination with speed among astronauts has continued over the years. Captain of the Apollo 13 mission, Jim Lovell, has served as a NASCAR grand marshal, and astronaut Dominic Antonelli lists NASCAR as one of his interests in his NASA biography page. In 2008 the green flag for the Daytona 500 50th anniversary, flew on the shuttle Atlantis prior to the historic event.
Back in 1992, Charlotte Motor Speedway officials recognized that a need existed for an affordable race car that was easy to maintain. With increasing race car costs, car counts dropped, with an estimated 30% to 40% of North America’s cars not competing due to costs. Research revealed that tracks with lower cost cars saw far greater participation. Thus, US Legend Cars, Inc. was introduced in January 1992, with the aim of creating an affordable race car that could race on smaller tracks and had lower maintenance costs. The first Legends Car debuted in April 1992, and since then the sport has grown tremendously.
Legends Car racing falls under the “spec” class of racing as all the vehicles are mechanically alike. The cars must use the same parts, tires and engine, with regulated adjustments being permitted on gearing, camber and caster, tire pressure, ride height, spring rates and wheelbase. These specifications help to keep the cost of the cars down. A selection of body styles are available for Legends Car racing, including the following: 1934 Chevrolet Coupe, 1934 Ford Coupe, 1934 Ford Sedan, 1937 Chevrolet Sedan, 1937 Ford Sedan, 1937 Dodge Coupe, and 1937 Dodge Sedan.
Championships for Legends Car racing are held in the USA, Canada, England and Scotland, with the World finals taking place in the USA. In the USA, Legends Car drivers are placed in four divisions: Pro Division, Masters Division (40 years and older), Semi-Pro (novice) and Young Lions Division (12 to 16 years). Cars are the same no matter which division the driver participates in. Other countries where Legends Car racing has expanded to include France, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Estonia, Mexico and Australia.
Legends Car racing, which is sanctioned by INEX, Corp., is promoted as a family-oriented sport and is open to people of all sorts. If this form of racing interests you, take note of these helpful pointers for starting up (as offered by U.S. Legend Cars International):
1. Find a Legends Car dealer
2. Take a Legends Car for a test drive
3. Find a driving school and schedule lessons
4. Purchase a Legends Car if you decide it’s for you
5. Find out about Legends Car races at your local track
6. Ensure your Legends Car is up to spec and you are familiar with the rulebook
As of 2010 Lowe’s Motor Speedway became Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Stock car racing is extremely popular in South Concord, North Carolina. Designed and built in 1959 by O. Bruton Smith and the late Curtis Turner, Charlotte Motor Speedway (previously Lowe’s Motor Speedway) remains one of the premier racing locations in the United States.
Smith and Turner, together they built their dream of a 1.5-mile super-speedway on the outskirts of The Queen City and, on June 19, 1960, the first World 600 was run at this new facility. It took nearly 25 years for Lowe’s Motor Speedway to come of age. The Smith Tower – a 135,000-square-foot, seven-story facility connected to the speedway’s grandstands – was erected and opened in 1988. The building houses the speedway’s corporate offices, ticket office, souvenir gift shop, leased office space and The Speedway Club, an exclusive dining and entertainment facility.
Another innovation was a $1.7 million, 1,200-fixture permanent lighting system developed by MUSCO Lighting of Oskaloosa, Iowa. The revolutionary lighting process uses mirrors to simulate daylight without glare, shadows, or obtrusive light poles. The lighting system was installed in 1992, allowing Lowe’s Motor Speedway to be the first modern super-speedway to host night auto racing.
In addition to the 1.5-mile quad oval, the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex includes a 2.25-mile road course and a six-tenths-mile karting layout in the speedway’s infield; a quarter-mile asphalt oval utilizing part of the speedway’s front-stretch and pit road; and a one-fifth-mile oval located outside turn three of the super-speedway.
With those kinds of track conditions, it’s no wonder the schedule of racing events at Charlotte Motor Speedway reads like a Who’s Who of NASCAR: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events, two NASCAR Busch Series races and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event are among the major events held on the 1.5-mile super-speedway. The Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Fast Track High Performance Driving School also use the track extensively throughout the year.
Most recently, the track added a new garage area for the NASCAR Busch Series, a new state-of-the-art media facility and additional restrooms and showers for use by those enjoying the action from the speedway’s infield. These additions are all part of a long-term project calling for additional grandstand seating, infrastructure improvements, spectator amenities and the development of adjacent land for possible commercial real estate ventures.
Charlotte Motor Speedway: tradition only takes you so far. After that, it’s a matter of speed and innovation. Oh, and a seating capacity of nearly 170,000 doesn’t hurt either.