The NASCAR Hall of Fame honors drivers who have shown exceptional skill at NASCAR driving, all-time great crew chiefs and owners, and other major contributors to competition within the sanctioning body.
NASCAR Hall of Fame entrance
|Location||400 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Charlotte, North Carolina
|Owner||City of Charlotte|
|Operator||Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority|
|Broke ground||January 2007|
|Opened||May 11, 2010|
|Construction cost||US $160 million|
|Architect||Pei Cobb Freed & Partners|
History and construction
NASCAR committed to building a Hall of Fame and on March 6, 2006, the city of Charlotte was selected as the location. Ground was broken for the $160 million facility on January 26, 2007, and it officially opened on May 11, 2010, with the inaugural class inducted the day following the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race XXVI. The new Hall of Fame brings hundreds of jobs and an increase in tourism to Charlotte. In addition to the Hall of Fame, the NASCAR Plaza, a 20-story office building, opened in May 2009. The 390,000-square-foot (36,000 m2) structure serves as the home of Hall of Fame-related offices, NASCAR Digital Media, NASCAR's licensing division, as well as NASCAR video game licensee Dusenberry Martin Racing. Other tenants include the Charlotte Regional Partnership and Lauth Property Group. Richard Petty and Dale Inman helped unveil the first artifact at the Hall of Fame — the Plymouth Belvedere that Petty drove to 27 wins in 1967.
The city of Charlotte was responsible for the construction of the building and is the owner of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. However, it is operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. Winston Kelley is the NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director. Internationally renowned Pei Cobb Freed & Partners led the design effort, and Leslie E. Robertson Associates were the structural engineers. Little Diversified Architectural Consulting based in Charlotte is the local architectural firm overseeing many aspects of design and construction of the project. Tobin Starr + Partners served as site architect, providing full-time representation for Pei Cobb Freed & Partners during construction. Engineering and Fabrication of the stainless steel möbius which wraps around the structure was completed by Zahner, of Kansas City. Exhibition design is by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, and exhibition lighting by Technical Artistry. Tobin Starr + Partners is architect-of-record for exhibit and auditorium spaces. Site excavation and grading services commenced on May 21, 2007.
Photo taken from the CATS Stonewall Station(May 2009)
Because of stock car racing's roots in and wealth of famous drivers from North Carolina, Charlotte was considered the favorite by many fans and commentators. There are many NASCAR offices in the area and many teams in the three major NASCAR series (Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series) totaling over 73% of motorsports employees in the United States, in what the committee called "NASCAR Valley." The Hall of Fame is in Uptown Charlotte, about 25 minutes south of Charlotte Motor Speedway. The bid was led by NASCAR car owner Rick Hendrick, then Mayor Pat McCrory, and business leaders in Charlotte. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners were enlisted for the complex's design, which will be near the Charlotte Convention Center.
Hall of Fame building
The building contains the following:
- First Floor:
- Belk High Octane Theater – A screening room below ground level which shows videos to guests, including a primer video for first-time visitors.
- Second Floor:
- Ceremonial Plaza – An outdoor "patio" with a video screen.
- Glory Road – A 33-degree banked ramp (matching that of Talladega Superspeedway) featuring 18 different cars and saluting 46 past and current tracks.
- The Great Hall – Dubbed as the Times Square of the hall, a 14 feet (4.3 m)-by-18 feet (5.5 m) video screen and rotating exhibits will be staged here.
- "Studio 43" – Named in honor of Richard Petty's car number – used for television production.
- Third Floor:
- Hall of Honor – A 360-degree wall with the honorees enshrined serves as the centerpiece of the building with each enshrinee with their own exhibit.
- Transporter and Racecar Simulators – Simulators provided by iRacing.com.
- Race Week Experience – Simulates an actual week in a NASCAR team, from race prep through inspection, practice, time trials and the race.
- Fourth Floor:
- Heritage Speedway – The six decade history of NASCAR is focused here, including a glass-enclosed section with historic artifacts from the history of stock car racing.
There is a gift shop, the Hall of Fame Café and a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant on site. An expansion, which includes a new ballroom, is part of the project.
While most information on the Charlotte bid has been released voluntarily, the Charlotte Observer has asked the state Attorney General for an opinion requiring full disclosure of the financial details.
The self-proclaimed slogan used by Charlotte for the Hall of Fame was "Racing Was Built Here. Racing Belongs Here."
Other final candidates
The other two cities at the time of the announcement that were in the running were the cities of Atlanta and Daytona Beach.
The state of Alabama had been mentioned as a potential candidate location, and was no longer seen as a contender, possibly because Lincoln, Alabama is home to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, which is not affiliated with NASCAR. The only northern area that considered bidding was in the state of Michigan. Detroit prepared bids, but state officials decided not to submit the proposals. The cities of Richmond, Virginia and Kansas City, Kansas, were among the five finalists, but on January 5, 2006, NASCAR announced they had been eliminated from the running, leaving just Atlanta, Charlotte and Daytona Beach as the remaining cities.
Eligibility and selection process
Former drivers must have been active in NASCAR for at least 10 years and retired for at least three. Starting with the 2015 Hall of Fame nominations that were voted in the 2014 nomination process, the three-year rule is waived for drivers who compete in 30 or more years in NASCAR-sanctioned competition or turn 55 years of age. The rule applies to all NASCAR-sanctioned competitions; some drivers in the Hall of Fame did not participate in what is now the Sprint Cup Series.
Non-drivers must have been involved in the industry at least ten years. Some candidates with shorter careers will be considered if there were special circumstances.
A 20-member nominating committee chooses nominees from those who are eligible. The committee consists of:
- Seven NASCAR representatives;
- NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley;
- NASCAR Hall of Fame Historian;
- Track owners (Two each from International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Inc.), a representative of Hulman & Company (Indianapolis Motor Speedway), a representative of Mattco Inc. (Pocono Raceway) and a representative of Dover Motorsports Inc. (Dover International Speedway)
- Four track owners from historic short tracks: Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Easley, S.C.; Riverhead Raceway in Riverhead, N.Y; and the Irwindale Event Center in Irwindale, CA (while Irwindale, then known as Toyota SPeedway opened in 1999, the track is in a market that has long has NASCAR tracks but many no longer exist). South Boston Speedway in Virginia is represented as the track is owned by Mattco Inc.
After the nomination committee selects the list of candidates, a total of 48 votes are cast by a voting committee consisting of the nominating committee and the following:
- 14 media representatives: Three each from the National Motorsports Press Association, the Associated Press Sports Editors and the Eastern Motorsports Press Association; one each from current media rights holders Fox Broadcasting Company, Comcast Corporation, Motor Racing Network, Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
- One representative each from the current manufacturers – Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota;
- Three retired drivers;
- Three retired owners;
- Three retired crew chiefs;
- The reigning Sprint Cup Series champion;
- One ballot which represents the results of a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com.
Main article: List of members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame
A total of 35 individuals have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Twenty-seven were inducted as drivers, 18 of whom were inducted solely as drivers. The other nine were inducted for their accomplishments as both drivers and owners or broadcasters. Three were inducted for their roles as owners in the sport. Three were inducted as promoters of the sport. Two members were inducted as crew chiefs.