“Where Racing Lives” is the ideal destination for an adrenaline fix. Every town has its own must-see, and here, it’s motorsports. While high-octane adventures top the list, read on for other one-of-a-kind experiences you’ll find only in Cabarrus County, North Carolina.
Take this list, and run with it!
- “Feel the Thrill” on a Speedway tour
Catch a daily tour at Charlotte Motor Speedway to learn the track’s history while enjoying a comfortable ride around the Superspeedway. Feel the full-tilt force of the 24-degree banking, visit the NASCAR Cup Series garage area, and take a ride through two infield race tracks. Then, make your way down Pit Road and stop in Winner’s Circle for a photo opportunity. Plus, visit zMAX Dragway and The Dirt Track!
- Drive a real stock car
Don’t miss your chance to get behind the wheel. Whip through the banked corners of legendary Charlotte Motor Speedway from the driver’s seat. If you prefer to be a passenger, the NASCAR Racing Experience also offers several options to ride along. Just like a NASCAR driver, you can experience the driver’s meeting with crew chief, in-car radio communications and a personal spotter during your laps around the track.
- See race shops behind the scenes
Step inside NASCAR race shops! Observe teams at work and witness live pit crew practice in fan viewing areas. Then, explore history and pick up souvenirs inside Museums & Teams Stores. Chip Ganassi Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing are located within minutes of Charlotte Motor Speedway and are free of charge.
- Take a dragster thrill ride
zMAX Dragway is the only four-lane all-concrete dragstrip in the world. Here, dragsters race four-wide hitting speeds of 330mph. With the help of Roy Hills Drag Racing School and Pure Speed Drag Racing Experience, you too can feel the split-second adrenaline rush of a dragster. Grab a friend, strap in side-by-side, and hang on for the ride of your life.
- Challenge your friends on the track
Karting is the key to fast fun. K1 Speed is the spot for all-electric indoor racing and Go-Pro Motorplex is home to an outdoor, 0.7-mile, 11-turn track featuring karts that reach up to 55mph. What to start at a slower pace? Outside mega shopping hub Concord Mills, The Speedpark features four tracks. Enjoy side-by-side racing with everything from Kiddie Karts to the quarter-mile oval.
- Explore underground mine tunnels
America’s first documented discovery of gold happened here in 1799 when 12-year-old Conrad Reed found a 17-pound gold nugget. Today at Reed Gold Mine, you can tour the museum, see the ore-crushing stamp mill, walk through several hundred feet of mine tunnels, pan for gold (April to October), and keep what you find!
- Paddle the Rocky
Minutes from Reed Gold Mine, take in the Carolina countryside on The Carolina Thread Trail, a regional network of greenways, trails and blueways. Hike, bike, paddle and walk the Riverbend Farm Trail for gentle slopes and a canoe and kayak launch providing access to the Rocky River. Also nearby, the Pharr Family Preserve Trail runs through a protected alluvial forest along the scenic Rocky River and features includes a launch for canoes/kayaks to enter the Rocky River.
- Taste what’s brewing
Craft beverages tell the story of this destination. From Reed’s Gold Ale at Cabarrus Brewing Company—Concord’s first full-scale craft brewery—to the Corban Ave Honey Blonde at Twenty-Six Acres Brewing, these brews provide a taste of local flavor and history. Find an ever-changing tap list at artisanal nano-brewery, High Branch Brewing. In Downtown Concord, Red Hill Brewing is serving up more local beer with a story, and downstairs, Lil Robert’s Place is a favorite for live music and food trucks.
- Tour a prison turned distillery
In addition to ales, Cabarrus County is the home of Southern Grace Distilleries, the first fully licensed distillery in America to operate in a former prison. Tours and tastings offered inside the 1929 Cabarrus Correctional Facility give visitors a one-of-a-kind atmosphere to enjoy their award-winning small batch whiskey. For many of their products, a donation is made to various causes for every bottle sold.
- Discover the life of a legend
Dive deeper into high-speed history in Kannapolis—hometown of NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. The Dale Trail is a self-guided tour featuring points of interest from The Intimidator’s childhood and racing legacy. Free #DaleTrail maps are available at the Cabarrus County Visitor Center and in all Cabarrus County hotels.
FIND PLACES TO EAT
Every good adventure sparks an appetite. Fill up on NC barbecue or try something fresh-baked, deep fried or locally grown.