About Us

Welcome to our blog of our 2013 trip. We Have been camping since our honeymoon. Each summer we take a trip to a new part of our country. We try to stop at local fairs & festivals, take tours of manufacturing plants, do a little kayaking, and try to get an up close look at how people live! Join us! This Bog runs from our most recent post backwards. At the end of this year,I have left the past years blog. Double click on any picture to get a larger image. These are all low res versions. If you see one you really like, let me know and I'll send you a better image.

Liz & Bruce on the way to Minnesota, last year

Sunday, August 4, 2013

July 27-28

Welcome to Charlotte, HQ of, among other things, NASCAR. There are more NASCAR team shops in the ~25 radius of Charlotte Motor Speedway than any other place in the country. We started at the Speedway, staying on the grounds, and taking our first tour there. We opted for the 2 hr. long tour, and we were put into an Econoline van,and taken out to the track. Our guide went through some of the history of the track, the idea of Bruton Smith. Kind of like the Packers, there was this new thing called Nascar, being run in the south, and he thought there should be a track in Charlotte.
He sold stock in his company, and built the track, on the on eastern side of town. Today he owns 2100 acres, 3 tracks and a speedway that sits around 140,000 on race day. We rode around the 24 degree banked corers at about 80 MPH in the econoline!

Although that is less than half of racing speeds it was nothing compared to what the folks taking the Adretti driving school were doing. Enlarge the above image and look to the left side on pit row. It is the guys you see here ,lined up. These are average Joe's outfitted in NASCAR gear, complete with HANS device who will soon be speeding down the track in a race car. These folks hit 125MPH - as long as they don't blow a shift!
There are lots of great old photographs inside the media center, including one of a driver in khaki's getting out of his car smoking a cigarette, while a worker is pouring gas in the back.There are a wide variety of "seats" at this track, from a single seat, to condos that people live in 365. There is a spot on the hill at one end of the track where you can park your RV for the season, and over look all the events.
 The track was in the process of being set up for an "Electric Run" event that evening.
 This is a 5K run/walk in the dark with all sorts of  special lighting effects. As I said, we stayed on the track property in their campground, and watched as people walked in wearing a variety of fluorescent , and glow in the dark colors. The guy in the lego head here is a participant.

Next on our list of things to do was hitting the shops of some of the owners and their driver's cars. We started with JR Motorsports nearby. This is Dale Earnhardt Jr.s nationwide team. I didn't know much about NASCAR before, and learned there is a whole lot to learn to figure out the relationships between drivers, owners and sponsors. Dale Jr drives for Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup, but he has a team of drivers who compete on the Nationwide (Sprint Cup is tops, Nationwide lower) tour.
His drivers are Kasey Kahn (who competes in Nationwide and Sprint races) and Regan Smith. Since this was the first shop we visited, I felt it was a pretty good size, probably 50-75,000sqft. They gave us a personal tour, as we walked out among the cars, and let me photograph to my hearts content. They explained the weekly shop process of getting the cars (drivers car and backup) in from the race on Monday morning, washing all the dirt and oil from it, then sending the car to the work area. A driver might have 6 cars in circulation 2 at the track 2 getting prepped for next weeks race, and two being cleaned. etc. for the race in 2 weeks. The newly cleaned cars will be checked for body damage, which is cut out and repaired, and the colorful sponsors and race car colors stickers will be removed and replaced with that weeks sponsors.
The engines and trannys are removed and cleaned and rebuilt as needed. A cars frame is hand welded, and might cost $50,000. No one let me take any pictures of the frame area. Every shop has a car and a moment that almost sends chills up your spine. JR Motorsports has the #3 Wrangler car that Jr. drove to victory at Daytona, on the day his dad was inducted into the NASCAR hall of fame. He had to get permission from a lot of people, Richard Childress, his dads widow and others to field the #3 car. It was the last time he will drive the #3. For more about this car and driver go to
The car  is, like the other winning cars we saw this week, just as it was the day it came back - with the dirt, the champagne, and the grime from the track, still on. We left excited to see more shops, and we did!

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