NASCAR Hall of Fame, Checker Flag or 5 Car Wreck

The NASCAR Hall of Fame was not on our original game plan when we visited Charlotte. Our goal was to tackle the Intimidator at Carowinds, but we were unaware that they would be closed during the weekdays in late August. So we quickly needed an alternative fun place to visit to make the 4 hour trip worthwhile. The NASCAR Hall of Fame caught our eye. Not because we are die-hard race fans (We are only average fans) but due to the “over 50” interactive stations at the Hall. So we decided to head to the NASCAR Hall of Fame . Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing boys!

The admission for the Hall was $19.95 which was a fair price for the two hours we were wondering around the place. They will give you a “Hard Card” at the admission counter which you take it to the first station to create a profile for the interactive experience throughout the Hall. Be mindful and pick a nickname that would be proper for the general public because it may show up on the big screen for all to see. Make use of the “Hard Card” throughout the Hall to get most out of the experience and you will receive a final score at the very end of the Hall. A very cool idea.

The very first area we discovered was the Great Hall with Sunoco Glory Road leading up to the third level. They have a number of historic cars on display in this area. They did an amazing job showcasing these cars and very creative way to get people to the upper level. Way better than an escalator or elevator.

One of the many historic cars located in the Great Hall

One of the cars on display on Sunoco Glory Road

The third level has the Hall of Honor. NASCAR did a terrific job honoring their legendary drivers. The lighting, displays and video screen around the upper dome, they all come together to set the appropriate mood. If you’re a die-hard racing fan this area is a “Must” visit.

Hall of Honor

The rest of the third and fourth levels hold the majority of the interactive stations of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They help people get a better understanding what happens on “Race Day” and the progression of racing through the years. The two stations that were the most fun were the Kobalt Pit Challenge and iRacing Simulator. The Kobalt Pit Challenge allows two people to simulate a timed pit stop in NASCAR. None of us wanted to show our pitiful attempt at changing a tire, but we did capture two guys that put on a clinic on how it should be done. (Video Clip) The iRacing Simulator was an extra 5 dollars, but it was worth every penny. Jerry and Shawn both jumped in a car to race on the Bristol Track against other visitors which consisted of 2 pace laps and about 12 laps of racing. Jerry did very well, but Shawn managed to get the 3rd fastest lap time overall for the day and still only finished 7 of 8. The controls take some practice so make sure to visit the practice area first.

iRacing Simulator: Each car holds two racers. The race is broadcast on the big screen along with the fastest times of the day.

Josh: What I liked about the Hall of Fame?
The history behind NASCAR, the memorabilia in the glass cases, the interaction activities.
It was an all around good time.

Jerry: What I enjoyed the most from my visit at the Hall was how it brought you every aspect of NASCAR and how it all started from the moonshiners to the 1st race at Daytona Beach to the Super Speedways of Talladega! Its great how the Hall allows you to test your skills with the simulator and pit crew tests. I would recommend a visit to anyone who loves NASCAR like me!

Shawn: During iRacing, I was going with Ricky Bobby ideology of racing “Only one speed ~ Fast” which in return I shared some rubbing time with the wall.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame was a surprise hit for us. We do not think you have to be a NASCAR fan to appreciate this place. They did a terrific job creating an environment that appeals to a broader crowd thus potentially gaining new fans. Well played NASCAR Hall, you received the checker flag from the Wanna See It All Guys.

Video:
Link to Video on Youtube

We have many more great photos posted in our Facebook Album worthy of a check out.

Patriots Point, We Salute You

Patriot Point is probable the best naval museum in the United States. Patriot Point is located just north of Charleston, SC. It took us about a 2 hour drive from Myrtle Beach to get there. The cost of parking was $5 for the day. Side Note: Ever notice when you drive up to one of these parking booths that your passengers are always looking out the opposite side window. The cost of admission for an adult was $18 which we feel is a pretty good deal for the amount of time you will spend there. You can explore the USS Clagmore (submarine), USS Laffey, USS Yorktown (aircraft carrier) and Vietnam Naval Support Base. Doing all of these would take up a good portion of the day. We will break down each section of Patriots Point.

USS Clagmore

Currently the USS Clagmore is having maintenance work done so we were unable to explore this time around. They posted that the repairs would be done in Mid-July.  But during a prior visit we had the opportunity to check out the inside of the Clagmore. I could only imagine my 6’1″ frame would be a hinder if I was a sailor back in the sub’s active day. The corridors were very tight and cramp. If you have a phobia of tight places this would not be on your high level of fun.

USS Laffey

The USS Laffey was nicknamed “The Ship That Would Not Die” because the ship held off so many kamikaze attacks. The USS Laffey took about 30 minutes to walk through the entire ship. The highlight for us was the ability to check out the area where the crew worked the cannons. Manning the cannons had to be the worse job on the ship, to sit basically in a hot box for hours with no air circulation.

USS Yorktown

The USS Yorktown is the best part of the Patriot Point experience. The ship is broken down into 6 different tours with each taking about 30 to 45 minutes to walk through. We had a lucky opportunity stand in on a tour given by one of the volunteers. Most of the volunteers were in the Navy during World War 2 so the stories they have to share carry that much more weight and interest. If you have the chance to follow a guide around the ship do so, it takes the experience to a much higher level.

When taking these 6 tours, you will be going up and down stairs at a constant rate. You will get enough exercise and no need to hit the gym later. This place is a perfect father/son outing, guarantee no boy would  turn down this adventure. Our favorite spots (kinda obvious) flight deck, hangar bay and torpedo workshop. The added aircraft (over 20) on the deck and hangar was a very nice collection.  Please make sure to check out the Medal of Honor Museum near the entrance of the USS Yorktown. It was done very well and the tunnel caught me off guard in a good way. Some added photos below with 2 videos.

Photo from the flight deck of Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge leading into Charleston

Torpedo workshop aboard the USS Yorktown

Where pilots go over flight missions

The HD Video

The SD Video (different from HD)