By admin | August 11, 2011
By Richard Allen
On Wednesday I had the opportunity to experience one of the great family experiences I have had in a long time. Three generations of the Allen men made a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. My dad, myself and my two sons had a great time taking in all the many displays and interactive exhibit offered by the sportâ€™s showplace.
There truly is something in the building to appeal to every age. My 69 year old father found a number of pieces that brought back treasured memories of the sport he has loved since its earliest days. For the history teacher in me, the museum seemed like a time capsule of my own life. I found a great many relics of my most memorable childhood experiences right up through the awe inspiring technology of today. And my eight and six year old sons found activities that not only kept their attention but spurred their imaginations.
For each of us, the visit to the Hall will be long remembered.
The HoF is laid out in four main levels, with the lowest level serving primarily as the entrance a spectacular theater.
After entering the lobby area, which is considered level two, the visitorâ€™s attention will immediately be drawn to the historic â€˜Glory Roadâ€™ of NASCAR. Twenty-two cars that have raced throughout all eras of the sport are displayed in a timeline that begins with a 1939 Ford Coupe of Raymond Parks all the way to a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson to five consecutive championships. Cars once raced by such legends as Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. are contained within the display which runs in such a way as to demonstrate the degree of banking on many of the tracks to have held races in the sportâ€™s history.
Level three was the favorite of my sons. On this level are a number of simulators and things to touch, see and hear in a way that a child best experiences the world. My oldest son enjoyed driving the qualifying simulators while my youngest made a number of trips through the hauler replica, complete with the #48 car sitting atop its elevator as if it were being raised or lowered at the track.
Also on level three is the Hall of Honor where the sportâ€™s legends are enshrined for posterity. My dad and I were moved by the plaques, cars and other memorabilia on display. Most moving to me was the case showing the medals from World War II earned by Bud Moore.
The Hallâ€™s top level includes displays that take the visitor through some of NASCARâ€™s earliest beginnings. A moonshine demonstration as well as statues of Bill France, Sr. and other early pioneers as they would have appeared at the very founding of the sport adorn the space. This level provides an historic walk through the sport from its beginnings to the present.
This was my first visit to the Hall. I have never been to any of the other sports shrines so I have nothing to compare it to, but I was very much impressed with what I saw in Charlotte. The Hall offers a fine tribute to the sportâ€™s history as well as a powerful glimpse into the modern day look of stock car racing.
Without question, our time as a family was well spent at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It was a day of great memories for three generations of the Allen men.
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