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Motorsports Mania: The Ultimate Cabarrus County Itinerary for Race Fans

November 9, 2021

Race fans, start your engines. It’s time to speed into a long weekend filled with NASCAR race shops, speedway tours, motorsports museums and unforgettable eats.*

Remember, there are always lots of races and motorsports-related seasonal events throughout NASCAR country, including the Coca-Cola 600 and Bank of America ROVAL 400. Check out our Events Calendar for activities to add to your itinerary.

Thursday

Morning

Spend the morning touring local race shops. The region is home to Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart-Haas RacingRoush Fenway Racing, JR Motorsports and more. Each offers a unique perspective on NASCAR racing and the drivers who get behind the wheel. Call ahead before visiting each shop to make sure they’re open.

Roush Fenway Racing features an interactive museum where race cars, trophies and driver memorabilia are on display. Stop in the 100-seat theater to watch a film of the great moments in Roush Fenway history.

Fan favorite and former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. owns JR Motorsports, one of the most popular race shops in the region, which also hosts guided tours on Fridays (advanced reservations required). Before you leave, make sure to stop at the gift shop and stock up on branded merchandise in the JR Nation store.

Afternoon

Make a pit stop at Morrison Motor Car Museum to check out exhibits featuring awesome rides including the stock car from the film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. The museum also houses rare and antique street cars, a Moonshine display and so much more.

Then cruise next door to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Nicknamed “America’s Home for Racing,” the Speedway is the pulse of racing action in the region! The Fast Pass Tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the track, NASCAR style. You’ll drive around the 1.5-mile quad oval track where drivers like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart have navigated the 24-degree banking turns and competed for the checkered flag. Tour guides share information about the history of the racetrack via your car radio and you can even snap a photo in Victory Lane.

Evening

Make a reservation for dinner at The Speedway Club restaurant, located on the 6th floor of Smith Tower at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The menu features southern favorites like chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits, but the real draw is the view of the racetrack from your table.


 

Friday

Morning

Start your engines and spend the day exploring The Dale Trail. Hailed as the first Motorsports Heritage Trail in the world, the self-guided driving tour celebrates the life and career of racing legend Dale Earnhardt. You’ll travel along Dale Earnhardt Boulevard in Kannapolis and visit important landmarks like the Car Town neighborhood where Earnhardt grew up and the bronze statue in the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza. Maps of The Dale Trail are available at the Cabarrus County Visitor Information Center.

Afternoon

Stop for a bite at Punchy’s Diner. The retro-themed diner is known for serving up Dale Earnhardt’s favorite sandwich: a tomato sandwich slathered with Miracle Whip on white bread. Then set your GPS for another stop along The Dale Trail, Curb Museum for Music and Motorsports. Discover the intersection of harmony and horsepower at this one-of-a-kind museum, which sits alongside the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

Evening

Spend the evening exploring what’s new in Earnhardt’s hometown. In the heart of revitalized Downtown Kannapolis, you’ll find local restaurants, sweet shops, boutiques, a veteran-owned brewery and more alongside the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza. Enjoy a casual dinner at Sabor Latin Street Grill or an upscale meal at Chophouse 101. Visiting during baseball season? Cheer on the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers during a home game and snap a photo with the team mascot, Boomer, who bears a resemblance to our hometown hero.


 

Saturday

Morning

Jumpstart your Saturday with a helping of horsepower at K1 Speed, Concord’s indoor go-kart racing center. With its all-electric karts and professionally designed track, this driving experience will satisfy even a veteran racer’s need for speed.

Afternoon

Craving some faster-paced action? Register for the NASCAR Racing Experience. Meet with your crew chief, suit up, slip into the driver’s seat and put the pedal to the metal. A spotter will provide one-on-one radio instruction to help you pass the other cars as you race around the track.

Evening

Indulge in another North Carolina tradition — barbecue! Dinner from The Smoke Pit is a must when craving perfectly cooked pork, chicken or brisket. Complete with Southern-style sides like deviled egg potato salad, this meal’s unforgettable flavors and sizable portions are sure to satisfy any appetite.

After dinner, grab a drink at Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Company. This local craft brewery created a beer inspired by their very close racing neighbor, NASCAR. “Four Left Turns” is a crisp, clean beer that lends itself well to sunny days at the speedway.


Sunday

Morning

Located just minutes from Charlotte Motor Speedway in Harrisburg, Vortex Bottle Shop is a local favorite for brunch. Try an open-faced biscuit or flatbread along with a mimosa. It’s the perfect morning pit stop to fuel up for the finale of your motorsports weekend.

Afternoon

Head to the heart of Charlotte to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Built as a tribute to the history of NASCAR and the drivers, crew members and team owners who popularized the fast-paced sport, the Hall of Fame is part museum, part interactive racing experience. One of the most popular exhibits is “Glory Road,” a banked ramp leading to the second floor that highlights racetracks around the U.S. and showcases historic race cars. The Pit Stop Café inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame is the perfect spot to refuel.

Evening

Hop in the driver’s seat, head back home and start planning your next visit to Cabarrus County.

Book Your High-Speed Getaway

Get the scoop on even more motorsports action offered in Cabarrus County and book a place to stay now!

* COVID-19 has changed the hours for several attractions. Call ahead to make sure destinations are open to the public and ask about mask requirements and social distancing guidelines.

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