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The NASCAR Hall of Fame will honor drivers who have shown exceptional skill at NASCAR driving, all-time great crew chiefs and owners, and other major contributors to the sport. NASCAR has committed itself to building a Hall of Fame and on March 6, 2006, the city of Charlotte, North Carolina was selected as the location. Ground was broken for the $160 million facility on January 26, 2007 and is expected to open no later than the first quarter of 2010, with the inaugural class inducted during the week of Sprint All-Star Race XXVI. The new Hall of Fame is expected to bring hundreds of jobs and an increase in tourism to Charlotte. In addition to the Hall of Fame, the NASCAR Plaza, a 19-story office building, will open earlier and is expected to open in March, 2009. The 390,000-square foot structure being built will be the home of Hall of Fame-related offices, NASCAR Images, and NASCAR Licensing.

The City of Charlotte is responsible for the construction of the building and will own the NASCAR Hall of Fame. However, it will be operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. Winston Kelley is the NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director. Internationally renowned Pei, Cobb, Freed & Partners is leading the design effort. Little Diversified Architectural Consulting based in Charlotte, NC is the local architectural firm overseeing many aspects of design and construction of the project. Terracon Consultants, Inc. is providing geotechnical exploration, construction testing and Special Inspection services to the City of Charlotte for the project. Site excavation and grading services commenced on May 21, 2007.

How Charlotte won the Hall of FameEdit

Because of stock car racing's roots in and wealth of famous drivers from North Carolina, many NASCAR offices in the area and many teams in the three major series NASCAR competes in (Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series) totaling over 73% of motorsports employees in the United States working in what the committee called "NASCAR Valley", Charlotte was considered the favorite by many fans and commentators. The proposed site is in Uptown Charlotte, 30 minutes south of Lowe's Motor Speedway. Another factor that helped in the winning bid was the fact that over half of the total population of the USA was living within a 500-mile radius of the greater Charlotte region. The bid was led by NASCAR car owner Rick Hendrick, Mayor Pat McCrory, and business leaders in Charlotte. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners were enlisted for the complex's design, which will be located at the new Convention Center in the downtown area.

While most information on the Charlotte bid has been released voluntarily, the Charlotte Observer has asked the state attorney general for an opinion requiring full disclosure of the financial details.

The slogan used by Charlotte for the Hall of Fame is "Racing Was Built Here. Racing Belongs Here."

Other locationsEdit

The other two cities at the time of the announcement that were in the running were Atlanta, Georgia and Daytona Beach, Florida.

AtlantaEdit

NASCAR legend Bill Elliott had campaigned for Atlanta, Georgia to be the NASCAR HOF site, which would have been adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park. Atlanta's argument was that with the World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium and the Children's Museum of Atlanta nearby, more visitors would come to town to visit the city. However, legal issues with the state's attorney general kept the bid secret violated the Georgia Open Records Act after a request from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At least $25 million (US) in state money plus an extra $5 million from Atlanta and Fulton County taxpayers would have been committed to the project.

Daytona BeachEdit

Although Daytona Beach, Florida is home to NASCAR headquarters and is another city rich in racing history, the city had difficulty in procuring funds to support the endeavor. Florida's state legislature defeated a bill that would have given $30 million to Daytona's efforts to win the site, but subsequently approved a specialty license plate, proceeds from which would helped fund the attraction, but now will go instead toward the non-profit NASCAR Foundation and the Florida Sports Foundation. In addition, the Daytona 500 Experience (formerly called Daytona USA until 2007) and the Daytona International Speedway are already located there, and thus they lost.

Other candidatesEdit

The state of Alabama had also been mentioned as a potential candidate city, and was no longer seen as a contender, possibly because Talladega currently is home to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, which is not affiliated with NASCAR. The only northern area that considered bidding was in the state of Michigan. Detroit, Michigan prepared bids, but state officials decided not to submit the proposals. The cities of Richmond and Kansas City were actually among the five finalists, but on January 5, 2006, NASCAR announced they had been eliminated from the running, leaving just Daytona, Atlanta and Charlotte as the remaining cities. [1]

ReferencesEdit

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