Saturday, May 22, 2010


May 23 – It’s Race Night – the NASCAR All Star Race!!! Our seats were in the Diamond Tower, across the highway from our camp site, but too far to walk. The Camp Host sent a golf cart to take us to Gate 16. We took the elevator to our level and had really good seats. We could see the entire track, except Pit Road.

Here is Ken enjoying the Race. He's having so much fun!! Notice his red Scanner Headphones. We found two pair of “collectible” headphones previously used by one of the Pit Crews for only $5 a pair at a Racers’ Yard Sale!! We already had a Scanner but had borrowed the Headphones from Ken’s son, Mike. Not any more!!!

We wanted to go to the All Star Race because it is a different format than the other races. It consisted of only 100 Laps. First there was a shoot out of 20 Laps where drivers who were not qualified for the Race battled it out to get into the Race. Only the first and second places went into the All Star Race. A third driver was voted in by the fans and within minutes after the Shoot Out, it was announced that Carl Edwards had been voted into the race by the fans!!
The Shoot Out was followed by the All Star Race. First, a race of 30 Laps. Then, two races of 20 Laps each. That’s 90 Laps. And Jimmy Johnson dominated most of them. The other drivers could not even threaten him!! There was a 10 minute Pit Stop before the final 10 Laps when Pit Crews were able to work on the cars but were not allowed to change tires. After that Pit Stop they ran two Laps and made another Required Pit Stop to change tires. Pit Crew skill and speed were important during this pit stop because the way the drivers left Pit Road was the way they lined up for the balance of the race. Jimmy Johnson went into the pits in the lead, BUT our two guys – Denny Hamlin and Kyle Bush -- came out first and second!!!
Here they are behind the Pace Car after the final Pit Stop. (The two blue cars.)

And here they are again after the race had begun. Still one and two!!!

Unfortunately, the two of them raced each other too hard and had a little mishap during at about the middle of the race. That opened the way for Kyle’s brother, Kurt Bush to streak to the front with Jimmy Johnson on his bumper!! A few laps later Kyle blew a tire and ran into the wall. He was out of the race! After two more cautions during the last Laps of the race, Kurt Bush was still in the lead, but everybody thought Jimmy Johnson would win. But low and behold, in the final lap of the Race Jimmy Johnson wrecked!!! Kurt Bush won the NASCAR All Star Race for 2010 and Denny Hamlin came in second. It was a great evening at the races!! We are so glad we went.

Friday, May 21, 2010


May 21 – Adjacent to the NASCAR Hall of Fame was the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant. We had to walk right through their patio to get to the HOF and decided right then that we would eat there when we had finished our tour.

The restaurant was noted for its WINGS, of course, so I ordered 6 wings as an appetizer. You can see the list available veracities available in order of hotness (mild at the top, hottest at the bottom). I chose the Mango Habanera sauce, third from the bottom of the list! They were sooooo good!!

We both had the Black and Blue Burger for lunch – burger with Blue Cheese dressing. UUUMMMMMM!!

We both really enjoyed eating at the Buffalo Wild Wings.

BUT – Look what greeted us as we went out to our car that we had left on the street, parked at a meter!! Ken just about died!! But, we were safe!!! They were only reserving parking for the weekend Festivities.


May 21 - We spent a great morning at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte!! It just opened so we were among the first thousands to visit!!

Entry was on the second level where we were immediately sent to the first level to view a NASCAR documentary (actually one we had not already seen it on DirecTV).

Then back to the second level where around the outer wall was a simulated race track filled with antique race cars and newer models. The track was laid out to demonstrate the banking at the various tracks.

Plaques showed the degree of banking around the track -- 31% at Daytona but only 14% at our home track, Richmond.

Ken and I tried to stand on the 31% banking. It was impossible!!! We could only stand up by holding on to the rail!!
Next we went to the third level where there was all sorts of NASCAR stuff.

Here is a simulation track with driver cars where those who paid the $10 charge could experience "driving" their favorite driver's car. We opted to pass.

I can't believe it takes ALL this STUFF to keep a race car running!!

Ken did some of the hands-on demonstrations.

This was interesting. This 76 Sphere was mounted on top of a really high pole. Spotters of yester-year would stand inside where they could observe the entire track. Really neat!!

I'm trying the fit of a NASCAR driver's seat!! Not very comfortable for driving hundreds of miles!!
The main function of the Hall of Fame is to honor leaders of NASCAR. On Sunday, May 23, the Inaugural Class of 2010 will be inducted. Here is Ken talking with the group of Inductees!!

The Inductees (NOT in the order they are standing): Bill France, NASCAR founder and promoter; Bill France Jr, succeeded his father and expanded the sport to national exposure; Dale Earnhardt, owner-driver and seven time drivers champion; Junior Johnson, owner-driver who won six championships as an owner; Richard Petty, owner-driver who also won seven championships and 200 races as a driver. [quoted for wikipedia]

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Thursday, May 20, 2010


May 19 – Weather pretty good today, so we drove to some of the area Race Shops.


Of course, Joe Gibbs Racing was the first stop. Ken has been following Joe Gibbs Racing and Bobby Labonte for years. Bobby used to race for Joe Gibbs – in fact he won the 2000 NASCAR Championship while with Gibbs Racing!!

Bobby is no longer with Joe Gibbs, but we now we follow Kyle Bush because he took over Bobby’s car No.. 18, and it turns out he is a heck of a driver!! Here I am with Kyle!!

Some of Kyle's trophies!
Kyle's No. 18 in the shop!

And in the lobby of the shop!

We also follow Denny Hamlin because he went to my high school (Manchester). He turned out to be a winning driver, too!! Ken with Denny's car No. 11!

Inside Denny's car.

Joey Lagano also races for Joe Gibbs, but we don’t know too much about him except that he took over Tony Stewart’s No. 20 car.
Looking through the window at the No. 20 in the shop.

Can you believe how clean the shop floor is??!!


Next we went to TRG Racing because Bobby Labonte now drives for LRG!! Ken beside Bobby's No. 71!

Inside Bobby's car!

Ken talking to Bobby!!! Wishing him Good Luck!!


The next stop was Red Bull.
We don't follow Red Bull Racing, but I like their name and logo!! Here's a couple of pictures of their shop.

Again -- the floor is spotless!!! Who says men don't know how to clean???


Our last stop was at the most impressive Penske Racing! Man. That set-up was huge!! This is the only shop we saw that the transporters were housed inside the shop!!!
Some cars in the shop. We don’t really follow any Penske drivers.

I did find one Penske driver that we like very much!!! Helio Castroneves!!! Does not drive for NASCAR but drives an Indy Car. We really enjoyed getting to know him when he was on Dancing WithThe Stars!!! Now when we hear he is racing, we actually watch a little of the race. He’s soooo cute!!! Watch for him in the Indy Race on Memorial Day!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


May 18 – 23 - We had planned to leave Raleigh on Monday, May 17 and get to the Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC that afternoon. However, as we left Raleigh, the bottom fell out of the clouds and it poured rain the for a couple of hours as we drove. We called the Speedway and were advised the campground paved or graveled. It was wet and sloppy. We decided to detour and stay overnight Thousand Trails Forest Lakes in Lexington, NC.

Tuesday morning, May 18, the rain had stopped so we drove the rest of the way to Charlotte. We are dry camping (no hook-ups) in Tim Flock campground right across the road from the race track. There were only about a dozen rigs in our campground when we arrived so we had our choice of sites, right on the front row, along the gravel road!! View of the racetrace from our RV.

This is where our seats are, Diamond Tower. We are row 44, seats 4 and 5, under the first Herr sign from the right!!

On Wednesday, there was not much going on so we decided to go to the movies in Concord. We read the Cinema was showing Ironman 2 for only $6.50 a person! When we bought our tickets, they were only $4.50 for Matinee!! What a deal!!

We were in the theatre, watching the PreFlix stuff for Ironman 2. It was so blurred we complained. It turned out we were in the wrong theatre and Ironman had already started in the proper theatre. We decided to see Robin Hood instead. Enjoyed it very much!!

On Thursday, we spent the morning visiting some of the nearby Race Shops and ended up going back to the Cinema on Thursday afternoon for the matinee. This time we did see Ironman 2. I liked it more than Ken did because I have always loved bad boy Mickey Rourke!! I could still see some of that sexy, wicked smile of his from years gone ago, but he certainly has changed a lot!!! I just think he should have had a bigger part in this movie!!!

After the movie, we went up the street to Golden Corral for early dinner!! Have not been to Golden Corral in ages!! Still a really good deal!!