When it comes to bucket list trips for my now 15-year-old son, he’s going to pick Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC every single time. It was top of his list and after we surprised him with a trip of a lifetime earlier this month, I think he’s hooked and it’s going to be a yearly request!
Disclosure: I partnered with Visit Cabarrus on this trip!
Let me start by saying, I know this trip sounds crazy expensive and way over the top for a 15-year-olds birthday but in all reality, it’s really not. If you’re within driving distance, I would add this to your list of must-do trips for sure and if you need to fly in – I would watch for flight deals and try to make it happen.
We have direct flights from Iowa to Charlotte that can be bought for less than $300 a ticket, and in my opinion, that’s not bad! I use something called Skyscanner to help me watch for flight prices and when they go up or down.
If you’re going to make the trip to Concord there are a couple things that are a MUST do if you have any race fans in your home! Here’s our list!
Five Things You Must do when You Visit Cabarrus
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway is located in Concord, NC just a short drive from the Charlotte airport. Charlotte Motor Speedway is known for many different types of races but we fly down for the Bank of America 500. It happened to also be the last home race for Dale Ernhart Jr before he retires from NASCAR. It was kind of a big deal race!
My son had been talking about this race constantly for about a month before we surprised him with a trip as his birthday gift this year. He had a blast going as well as my Dad who went with us! To quote my Dad, “it’s a trip that everyone needs to do at least once in their life”.
For more than 50 years, Charlotte Motor Speedway has set the standard for motorsports entertainment and evolved into “The Greatest Place to See the Race.” Nestled in the heart of NASCAR country, the Mecca of Motorsports is the only race vacation destination where fans can immerse themselves in the sport by taking in an event at the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway and visit race team shops and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the same weekend.
FUN FACT: During a typical race weekend, fans consume more than 34,000 slices of pizza, 9,500 gallons of soda and water, 13,500 feet of hot dogs and 309,000 pounds of ice!
It’s conveniently located near many different hotels and restaurants making it simple to get to the track. I’m not someone who likes to rent a car to get around, I’d rather have a shuttle or taxi take me to where I want to go but this was simple to get around.
Something new that’s headed to Charlotte Motor Speedway next year is the ROVAL 2018 Bank of America 500. The Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL is a daunting, new 13-turn, 2.4-mile road course incorporating part of the infield and all but 400 feet of Charlotte’s iconic 1.5-mile oval on which drivers will race 500 kilometers over 130 laps. We may have to go back just to see this for the first time!
Race Shop Tours
It’s hard to say that this was our favorite part of the trip when we actually saw the Bank of America 500 but it really was a fabulous morning stopping at all the different race shops including Hendrick Motorsport. We were able to see into the shop itself and have a peek at the mechanics in action.
You can find more about the different track tours and options available at Charlotte Motor Speedway over HERE. If you’re headed to a race, I think this is a MUST add on to your trip. It gives you so much history and the whole pictures of what’s happening in Concord and NASCAR.
K1 Speed Indoor Gokarts
K1 Speed is the premier karting company in America. With kart racing centers nationwide, K1 Speed brings the thrill and excitement of indoor karting to a large audience. Offering highly-advanced and environmentally-friendly electric go karts as well as large indoor entertainment venues that feature authentic racing memorabilia, pit cafes, meeting rooms and pool tables.
This was something my son and Dad LOVED, we actually went twice while we were in Concord because they’re super competitive and Dad was not going to lose to his Grandson. The track that’s intended for older racers has karts that are a little faster, they told us that speeds could get up to 45 mph! That’s crazy fast for an indoor go kart track, it’s no wonder people love the thrill!
Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza
If you know anything about NASCAR, you’ve probably heard of Dale Earnhardt and the Earnhardt family. He was from Kannapolis which is just a short jaunt from Concord and it’s the primary reason why Cabarrus County is known as “Where Racing Lives”.
There is a self-guided tour, The Dale Trail which includes 19 stops significant to Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s life. You can read more about it at www.DaleTrail.com or stop in the Visitor Center or any hotel in Cabarrus County to pick up a Dale Trail map.
Richard Petty Driving Experience
There’s one thing my son didn’t get to do when we were in Concord and that’s the NASCAR racing experience. I was lucky enough to do this when I visited in August, it was amazing! I got to ride along with a driver that got us up to 165 mph!
I can tell you, after that, I have an entirely different appreciation for those drivers. The car is hot and the ride is rough but boy was it fun!! Make sure that when you visit Concord you schedule a visit and ride along at the raceway! It’s so much fun and worth the money! I promise!
These are the top five things that I think are a MUST do when you Visit Cabarrus County. If you’re a NASCAR fan even a little, you’ll love every single one of these stops! If you have a Dad, husband, or son that loves racing – I think this would make a great gift that they will NEVER forget!
Thank you to Visit Cabarrus for helping me surprise my Dad & Son with this bucket list trip!