Race fans, get your tickets.
To the NASCAR Hall of Fame Grand Opening, that is. Tickets for the May 11 event in Charlotte, NC go on sale Saturday, April 24 at a cost of $75.
The 2010 inaugural inductees to the Hall of Fame are Bill France, Sr. (1909-1992), Richard Petty, Bill France, Jr. (1933-2007) , Dale Earnhardt (1951-2001) and Junior Johnson. The inductees were chosen from a list of 25 candidates and was announced in October 2009.
The opening ceremony, from 9 to 10 am, is free. At 10 am the NASCAR Hall of Fame opens and tickets are required to enter. General admission for adults are $19.95, seniors and military members are $17.95 and children are $12.95.
But if you’re not ready to pay, don’t worry, there are still plenty of things to do for free. From 10 am to 8 pm the Community Celebration will take place on the Ceremonial Plaza, with driver appearances, concerts and autograph sessions. This includes several concerts throughout the day, with the band Love and Theft playing at 7 pm.
Located in uptown Charlotte at 400 East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the venue, covering 150,000 square feet, honors the history and heritage of NASCAR with artifacts and high-tech interactive entertainment. It seeks to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike.
Also included is a multi-dimensional theatre, Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant and a NASCAR gear shop retail outlet, a NASCAR Media Group -operated TV and radio broadcast studio, a 19-story office tower and a 102,000-square-foot expansion to the Charlotte Convention Center, including a 40,000 -square-foot ballroom.
If you can’t make it to the opening ceremony, or just want to go inside another day, the venue will be open seven days a week, 362 days per year, closing only on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Charter memberships are available as well as group sales and facility rentals. The NASCAR Hall of Fame strives to provide accessibility for all, and has accessible seating, courtesy wheelchairs on a first-come first-serve basis, sign language interpretation (call ahead of time) and open-captioning on videos.
If you go, check out the Glory Road exhibit, a banked ramp featuring 18 historic cars and 46 current and historic tracks. Activities include a Racing Simulator, which provides a driver’s experience for visitors, and Race Week Experience, which gives a first-hand look at what a race car team goes through from week to week. The Hall of Honor, where inductees will be enshrined and honored, is on the second floor.
So who decides who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame? A nominating committee of 20 members and a voting committee of 47 members, plus one fan vote, will select five nominees from no more than 25 candidates each year. NASCAR accomplishments and contributions to the sport are the main criteria for nominations, and drivers with 10 years of experience under their belts, and who have been retired at least three years, are eligible for nomination. Non-drivers who have worked in the sport for at least ten years can also be nominated.