|Charlotte Motor Speedway|
|Location|| 5555 Concord Parkway South|
Concord, North Carolina 28027
|Owner||Speedway Motorsports, Inc.|
|Major events|| Sprint Cup Series|
NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
Bank of America 500
Dollar General 300
Camping World Truck Series
North Carolina Education Lottery 200
|Length||1.5 mi (2.4 km)|
|Banking|| Turns: 24°|
Charlotte Motor Speedway (formerly Lowe's Motor Speedway) is a superspeedway in Concord, North Carolina, a few miles north of Charlotte. It features a 1.5 mile long quad-oval track that seats 167,000 people, with room for 50,000 more spectators in the infield. Constructed in 1959, it was the first speedway to host nighttime racing (in 1992) and to offer year-round residences (in 1984) with 52 condominiums now available over turn one. It is presently owned by, and is the main facility of, Speedway Motorsports, Inc.]. The speedway is considered the center of NASCAR, with 90% of NASCAR teams being based within 50 miles.
In 1995, 26-year-old Russell Phillips was killed in what is remembered as one of the most gruesome crashes in motorsports history.
Along with the main oval, the speedway also has a 2.25 mile road course in the infield, an 0.6 mile kart course in the infield, a quarter-mile oval using part of the front stretch and pit road, and an 0.2 mile oval outside turn three. Also, across U.S. Highway 29] from the speedway is a 0.4 mile dirt track, opened in May 2000.
The surface of the circuit had started to wear from its last paving in mid-1994, resulting in the track's treatment in a diamond-grinding process to smooth out bumps in 2005 and caused major tire problems during both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events there, with a record 22 cautions at the showcase Coca-Cola 600, making it the first Sprint Cup Series event to go more than five hours (excluding red flags) in 25 years. Speed increases were also a result of the repaving. After the problem with the tires, speedway officials promptly announced that they plan to repave with a new generation asphalt.
The facility is considered one of the busiest sports venues in the country, with typically over 380 events a year. Along with many races, the speedway also hosts the Food Lion Auto Fair twice a year, one the nation's largest car shows. Movies and commercials are filmed there, like Days of Thunder], and it is a popular tourist stop and testing grounds.
Two Indy Racing League races were held at the circuit in 1997 and 1998, with Buddy Lazier and Kenny Brack winning the mid-summer Saturday night 500k (208 lap) races on the circuit. A third, which was held in 1999, moved to the Saturday before the start of the Indianapolis 500 meet, was aborted shortly before halfway when a crash led to a car losing a tire, which was then propelled into the stands by another car. Three spectators were killed and eight others were injured in the incident. It turned out the track had rules regarding seating at the IRL races, closing sections in the turns and points where the likelihood debris could clear fencing and sail over the track were high, but the overflow caused the track to open more sections and those sections in question were the points where the debris flew.
That incident, and a previous incident in July 1998 in a Champ Car race at Michigan International Speedway which also killed three spectators (but that race was run to its finish), led to new rules requiring cars to have tethers attached to wheel hubs in an effort to prevent such incidents from happening again, and also different types of catch fencing, curved so debris could not sail into the grandstands.
Following the accident, a short series of bombings took place in Lowe's home improvement stores in North Carolina, injuring three, and prompting some to think there may be a link with a relative of one of the victims. When George Rocha was arrested for the bombings, he claimed that he was angry about the crash at the speedway, but he later confessed that it was retribution for being caught shoplifting and an attempt at extortion.
In 2000, an episode of The Simpsons drew the ire of track management because it parodied the incident. On May 26 2006, the Pixar movie Template:WikipdiaCars_(film) Cars] premiered at the speedway, on several monster screens.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series races here, and for several years, an ARCA racer died in either a race or practice. The last person to die at Lowe's Motor Speedway was Eric Martin from Hixson, Tennessee], on October 9, 2002. Martin lost control of the car and Camping World Truck Series spotting in all practice sessions.
See also: List of NASCAR race tracks
- Sprint Cup Series - NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge (exhibition); Coca-Cola 600 (May); Bank of America 500 (October)
- Xfinity Series - History 300 (May); Dollar General 300 (October)
- Camping World Truck Series - North Carolina Education Lottery 200
- NASCAR Sprint Cup Race 600 Mile: Bobby Labonte, 151.952, May 29, 1995
- NASCAR Sprint Cup Race 500 Mile: Jeff Gordon, 160.306 mph, October 10, 1999
- NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying: Elliott Sadler, 193.216 mph, October 13, 2005
- NASCAR Nationwide Series Race: Mark Martin, 155.996 mph, May 25, 1996
- NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying: Kevin Harvick, 184.445 mph, 2003
- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Race: Ted Musgrave 114.768 mph May 16, 2003
- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Qualifying: Mike Skinner 183.051 mph 2005