I’m the first to admit that I have a wee bit of a lead foot. The older I get, the more cautious of a driver I’ve become, but there was a time when I dreamed of doing a race car driving experience. Of course, I also dreamed of owning a Corvette but that dream isn’t going to happen (although I did have a lot of fun driving one at the Chevy factory.) The race car dream came pretty close to coming true last month at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

I was in Cabarrus County, North Carolina (“Where Racing Lives”) for the Travel Media Showcase Conference and spent the afternoon out at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. I have never been a NASCAR fan, so I was really surprised to learn what a family-friendly sport it can be. Many families make a whole weekend of it, either staying at Embassy Suites where I stayed, the nearby Great Wolf Lodge, or the campsites and RV spots on property. The Charlotte Motor Speedway also keeps it affordable for families, with kid companion tickets for $10 for NASCAR Cup Races for ages 13 and under, and free for kids under 12 for other races.

Charlotte motor speedway driving experience

In addition to watching the qualifiers and races, there are many more experiences available for race fans.

Dining at the The Speedway Club

Even though club members get dining reservation priority, non-members can also dine at The Speedway Club. Friday nights are Kid’s Nights when kids six and under eating free and kids 7-13 eating for 50 percent off with a paying adult. The views are terrific and it is nice to get away from the noise for a bit.

Charlotte Motor Speedway track tour

Charlotte Motor Speedway Track Tours

Fans that have dreamed of being inside the ring of the track will enjoy a Track Tour. The typical track tour will include the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage, the zMAX Dragway, and the Dirt Track at Charlotte. Visitors can take a picture in Winner’s Circle and take a van ride around the Superspeedway. Seeing the Dragway was a fun surprise as I’ve heard that watching the drag races is a family favorite. You can also get up close to the giant television screen that looms over the track so large that if put in front of the White House, you wouldn’t even see the building.

Charlotte Motor Speedway race car experience

Charlotte winners circle

Charlotte Motor Speedway Driving Experience

There are a number of different race car driving experiences at the Charlotte Motor Speedway: the Richard Petty Driving Experience, the Mario Andretti Racing Experience, and the NASCAR Racing Experience. I did the NASCAR Racing Experience. There are many levels, from the ride along to full driving experiences. I did the ride along, which means that I got to ride shotgun in a real NASCAR vehicle at top speeds up to 170 mph. We went three times around the track, and after that I realized that was enough for me to fulfill my race car dreams.

Charlotte racing experience

The fast acceleration was a little nerve-wracking as you see that wall coming towards you mighty fast. You feel the pressure in your chest as you bank around the turns at speed, bits of rubber flying off the tires and landing in your lap through the open windows. After you settle in, the experience is quite a thrill and definitely worth putting on your bucket list as a once in a lifetime experience.

Racing experience

Visit a Race Shop

Real race fans will want to visit one of the many race shops within a couple of hours drive of Cabarrus County. We stopped into the Hendrick Motorsports shop, home to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Inside we saw the most famous stockcars and trophies, as well as took a peek into the garage on a brief tour.

Charlotte race team garage

The Charlotte Motor Speedway should certainly be on your family’s radar if you are race fans, but even if you aren’t, if may just turn you into one.

PIN THIS FOR LATER

Charlotte Motor Speedway racing experience

Note: My afternoon at the track was hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, all opinions are my own.

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