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05 December 2008

Lowes Motor Speedway

Lowes Motor Speedway Seating Chart

Lowes Motor Speedway History
Address: Charlotte, NC

Lowe’s Motor Speedway

It is perhaps fitting that the original construction of Lowe’s Motor Speedway was delayed because so much rock had to be blasted out of the way, because the track has grown into NASCAR’s bedrock racing facility.

Lowe’s Motor Speedway is stock-car racing’s home track.

More than 75 percent of Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck series teams have their headquarters within a 50-mile radius of the speedway located about 15 miles from downtown Charlotte, N.C.

What makes Lowe’s Motor Speedway, known formerly as Charlotte Motor Speedway, so unique is that it so many things that have become common throughout the sport began as innovations here.

The perfect example stands over Turn 1 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. When the idea of building condominiums was first proposed in 1984, it became the subject of jokes nationwide. But the 40 condos sold quickly, and over the years their value has soared.

In late 1991, track president H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler was looking for a way to convince R.J. Reynolds Tobacco to keep its annual all-star race at his facility. So he proposed the race called The Winston be run at night. It wasn’t until after that point that Wheeler set out to determine if it were possible for a 1.5-mile track to be properly lit.

Today, of course, an increasing number of tracks have lights. And most of the lighting projects at those tracks use technology invented to make night racing possible at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

The very first race in what is now the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series was run in Charlotte in 1949, on a small dirt track near the airport west of downtown. Racing continued in Charlotte throughout the 50s, but by the end of the decade several entrepreneurs had designs on building a superspeedway there.

Two of those men, long-time racing promoter and auto dealer Bruton Smith and star driver and lumber tycoon Curtis Turner, became partners in getting the track built. The speedway’s racing surface came apart badly during the first World 600, designed to be NASCAR’s ultimate endurance test, with Joe Lee Johnson surviving to win.

Smith and Turner eventually lost control of the track, and it took Smith until 1975 to regain control as its majority stockholder. Soon after that, he hired Wheeler to help him run it and Lowe’s Motor Speedway began to flourish.

The track’s grandstands have grown steadily throughout the past three decades. Today, more than 167,000 fans can buy tickets to see three events featuring Nextel Cup drivers, two Busch Series races and a Truck Series race in NASCAR competition each year. The track also includes an extensive array of luxury suites and, another innovation being copied at other tracks, a first-quality restaurant called the Speedway Club that is not only open for racing events, but draws patrons all year round.

Lowe’s Motor Speedway also plays host to driving schools, go-kart racing, dirt-track events at a stand-alone facility on the track’s property as well as various auto shows and other events. There’s something going on at Lowe’s Motor Speedway nearly 300 days each year.

But the foundation is NASCAR racing, and Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip top the all-time list with six career Cup points race wins at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Jimmie Johnson is closing in quickly, however. He’s won three straight Coca-Cola 600s and now already has four points-race wins at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

In addition to the 600 each May, Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been the host of the sport’s all-star race, now called the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, for 20 of its 21 years of existence. Lowe’s Motor Speedway also has an October race weekend that includes one of the 10 races in the annual Chase for the Nextel Cup.

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