Katrina and I recently attended an AACA (Antique Auto Club of America) event in Charlotte, NC. Of course we wanted to take in some of the race shops in the area but because of COVID-19 none of them were open. We then decided to visit the Speedway with the same result. It was all closed up. However, I spotted a line of cars and a couple of tour vans. It looked like a tour to me so I ran over to see if they were doing track tours and yes they were!
I peeled off $30 in cash and we were now part of it. I didn’t know what we were going to see, but we were going to see something. As it turned out, we struck gold and our wasted day was suddenly a good day.
The tour was to last an hour and take us on the big oval, the road course, pit row and every building in the infield! We each stayed in our own cars and tuned the radio to the required frequency for a live tour guide’s description of what we were seeing. We even got to stop on the finish line and at the bottom of the high banked turns where we were permitted to walk up the “hill” to the outside wall.
It was an excellent tour. Katrina and I have been on the Bristol Speedway with the highest banked turns on the NASCAR circuit. We have been up against that wall, both stopped and at speed. It was cool. We have likewise been on Talladega and Daytona, but it took Charlotte to scare us. Why? Because this time we were not in a car. We were in a Ford F350 Dually that sits way up in the air. Being on that banking and then sitting way above the track exaggerates the experience. We both felt very uncomfortable. It was like if I leaned against the driver’s door, the truck would tip over and roll down the banking!
At the conclusion of the tour I asked the guide if there were any race shops open and she stated the obvious, no. But then she asked where we were eating that night? I stated we had no plans and would likely just eat at the hotel. She asked if we would like to eat at the Speedway Club? Is a Ford faster than a Chevy? Of course we would. She said it is for Members only, but she could give us a guest card and we just had to make a reservation.
It is a classed walled, tiered, exquisite restaurant above the stands on the finish line. It provides a view that would make watching the Coke 600 (or whatever they call it now) a life-changing event. The lobby and elevator ride up to the Speedway Club was an equally exciting experience. We will never be able to watch a race from a private suite or the Speedway Club, but we can now imagine what it must be like.