In two of 2010’s big stories in NASCAR, downtown Charlotte welcomed stock car racing royalty, and Daytona International Speedway welcomed a new racing surface – albeit a tad late.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame opened May 11 in Charlotte, and the early reviews were almost universally positive. Charlotte was selected from a list of potential Hall hosts that included Daytona Beach, Fla.; Richmond, Va., Atlanta and Kansas City. Ground was broken for the facility Jan. 26, 2007.
The hall includes thousands of items related to the history of NASCAR and its drivers, teams, speedways and fans.
The main attraction, located near the hall’s entrance area, is Glory Road, which showcases a line of historic race cars on a “track” that becomes increasingly banked as visitors travel along its length.
The hall also has numerous interactive exhibits, displays honoring the Pettys, Allisons and other prominent racing families and the Hall of Honor, where the Hall of Fame inductees are spotlighted.
At Daytona, the 2010 season started under a dark cloud as an 18-inch long pothole opened in the second turn during the running of the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s marquee event.
The hole, which damaged at least a couple of cars before NASCAR parked the field, resulted in two red-flag delays while track workers attempted to patch it. The race, which saw phenomenal action, was stopped 122 laps in and again with 39 laps to go.
Track president Robin Braig, who would be replaced later in the year, and NASCAR chairman Brian France apologized to fans for the embarrassing delays. Thousands of spectators left DIS during the track work.
The problem prompted speedway officials to ditch a plan to repave the track surface in 2012 and move up the work to this year. Work began after the summer Sprint Cup race at the track, and it was completed in December.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.