NASCAR Track Notes: Charlotte Motor Speedway's New Videoboard A Sight To See
In Charlotte, Scott Fowler noted Charlotte Motor Speedway, after four months of construction, “unveiled the world's largest high-definition television Tuesday.” At 200 feet by 80 feet, the Panasonic HDTV's screen size is "more than 30 percent bigger than the much-lauded video boards" at Cowboys Stadium. The screen, which runs across the backstretch between Turns 2 and 3, “is truly enormous” and “incredibly clear.” Fowler: “They won't say what it cost. But whatever it was, it was worth it. This will improve the fan experience dramatically, so much so that the speedway should guarantee at least a 20 percent refund to all fans if the big screen is ever non-operational for a race” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/11).
OLD KENTUCKY HOME: In Cincinnati, Kevin Kelly noted a “new club in the Kentucky Speedway infield will offer a hospitality area and an elevated view of NASCAR's top drivers as they compete in the inaugural” Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 on July 9. The two-story "Pit Road Club" will be a “temporary structure erected behind the pit road wall near the exit of Turn 4 and accommodate as many as 2,000 people.” The club's “ground floor will be enclosed and air-conditioned,” and the “upper level will be an observation deck.” Access to the Pit Road Club “will cost $395 per person,” which includes “a buffet, non-alcoholic beverages, vouchers for two alcoholic beverages, a pit road tour” before the race, a Fan Zone pass and a grandstand ticket to the Nationwide Series race on July 8 (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/11).
SAFETY FIRST: The AP's Pete Iacobelli noted NASCAR is “evaluating whether to install an energy-absorbing soft wall where Jeff Gordon hit at Richmond International Raceway.” NASCAR President Mike Helton last Saturday said, "It's not because Jeff says there should be (a SAFER barrier) there that we need to look at it. We know that there's an area that's uncovered where a bad hit occurred, and that's what we're looking at." RIR President Doug Fritz said that a SAFER barrier “would be installed if NASCAR and its consultants at the University of Nebraska recommends that area be upgraded” (AP, 5/8).
HEADED OFF TRACK: In Virginia, Dustin Long reported Speedway Associates Inc., the group leasing North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina, on Monday announced that the track “was closing.” SAI “put some blame on the business climate and some on corporate or local business for not supporting the track as ‘promised.’” SAI President Alton McBride “wouldn’t reveal exact figures but acknowledged that if his group could raise about $250,000, it could continue operating the track and host races later this summer” (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 5/10).