On October 13th, NASCAR comes back home for one of its three races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. With nearly all of the big teams located within a thirty-minute drive of the track, this race is as much about home field bragging rights as it is about the championship.
One of the tight high-banked turns of CMS — Photo courtesy of Parker Anderson
Built in 1960, Charlotte Motor Speedway was part of the first wave of tracks that became known as intermediate speedways: tracks over one mile, but not exceeding two miles in length. Charlotte may sound like the typical cookie-cutter speedway, but upon closer inspection. one can see a litany of details that make this track not only unique, but very challenging for drivers and exciting to watch as the race unfolds.
The front stretch is wider than the turns, which forces drivers to bottleneck into the first turn and causes accidents and “I-can’t-believe-he-just-did-that” moments. Also, the front stretch is not parallel to the back straight, making the racers constantly adjust and stay on their wit’s end. This speedway isn’t just physically demanding; it’s mentally exhausting.
The track sits less than two miles off of exit 49 on Interstate 85 directly down the four-lane Bruton Smith Boulevard. Hotels and shops litter the road leading to the speedway, so finding a place to stay for the night or just trying to buy snacks for the race is as easy as can be. Unlike other tracks that tend to be isolated in the countryside, Charlotte Motor Speedway has developed a town around itself, giving its fans a plethora of lodging, dining and shopping to partake in. One can also choose to camp out at the dozens of campgrounds located close by and inside the track itself, and take the free shuttle buses to locations around the track.
With so much riding on the line in NASCAR’s backyard, drivers and teams double their efforts and do whatever it takes to win at the Mecca of stock car racing. Don’t let the time of the year fool you; it’s going to be one hot night in Charlotte.