Charlotte Motor Speedway, located in Concord, North Carolina, is one of the most iconic and historic racetracks in the United States. It was built in 1959 by Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner as a response to the lack of a premier racing facility in the region.
The idea for the speedway came to Turner, a NASCAR driver, when he witnessed the construction of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the late 1950s. Inspired by the success and popularity of the Indy 500, Turner wanted to create a similar racing facility in the Charlotte area.
Construction of the speedway began in 1959 and was completed within four months. The original track consisted of a 1.5-mile oval with turns banked at 24 degrees, making it one of the steepest tracks in the world. The first race held at the speedway was the World 600 on June 19, 1960, which was won by Joe Lee Johnson.
Over the years, Charlotte Motor Speedway has undergone several renovations and expansions. In 1968, the track was resurfaced with a more durable asphalt, and additional grandstands were added to accommodate the growing crowds. In 1997, the famous “quad-oval” shape was introduced, adding extra turns to the track and increasing the overall length to 1.5 miles. One of the most significant changes to the speedway came in 2000 when the infield area was completely redesigned. The infield was transformed into what is now called the “Speedway Club,” a luxurious facility that includes corporate suites, dining areas, and a ballroom. The new infield also added a road course, known as the ROVAL, which incorporates both the oval and infield sections of the track.
Throughout its history, Charlotte Motor Speedway has hosted numerous prestigious races, including the Coca-Cola 600, Bank of America Roval 400, and the NASCAR All-Star Race. It has also served as a venue for other motorsports events, such as the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and Monster Jam.
In addition to racing events, the speedway has been a venue for various non-racing events. It has hosted concerts by renowned artists, such as The Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Garth Brooks. The unique facility also includes a state-of-the-art dirt track, zMAX Dragway, and a track used for high-performance driving experiences.
Charlotte Motor Speedway continues to be a beloved and historic racing facility, attracting fans from all over the world. Its rich history, iconic races, and innovative facilities have solidified its place as one of the premier racetracks in the United States.