NASCAR race shops are worth a pit stop

The children’s simulator lets visitors see how fast they can change a tire.

LYRA SOLOCHEK | Times

The children’s simulator lets visitors see how fast they can change a tire.

Pit stops

If you're a NASCAR fan visiting Charlotte, N.C., checking out some of the race shops is a must. Most have viewing areas where you can see crew members prepping cars in pristine garages. If you're lucky, you'll catch the attention of a driver for an autograph. (Tip: Be nice to staffers and receptionists, especially if you have a young child. You never know what kind of strings they can pull.) Here are a few shops worth making the trip for. Call ahead to check hours, especially on race and holiday weeks.

Lyra Solochek, Times staff writer

Joe Gibbs Racing

13415 Reese Blvd. W, Huntersville, N.C.

(704) 944-5000

joegibbsracing.com

What's here: Viewing area overlooking the race shop, exhibits and race cars in the lobby, gift shop.

Drivers: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Admission: Free

Michael Waltrip Racing and JTC-Daugherty Racing

20310 Chartwell Center Drive, Cornelius, N.C.

(704) 897-5555

michaelwaltrip.com

What's here: RaceWorld USA museum, which includes exhibits showing the steps to get a race car ready; a platform overlooking the race shop; gift shop.

Drivers: David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr., Marcos Ambrose

Viewing hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Admission: Free for lobby exhibits and gift shop. Guided tours and museum: $10, $5 ages 3-5, $8 ages 55 and older, free for 2 and younger

Roush-Fenway Racing Museum

4600 Roush Place NW, Concord, N.C.

(704) 720-4600

roushfenway.com

Roush-Fenway Sprint Cup series race shop: 4202 Roush Place, Concord, N.C.

Roush-Fenway Nationwide Series race shop: 122 Knob Hill Road, Mooresville, N.C.

What's here: Jack Roush museum and gift shop. The Sprint Cup race shop is just a block away. If you're lucky, you can watch the pit crew practices outside.

Drivers: Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, David Ragan

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Admission: Free

Stewart-Haas Racing

6001 Haas Way, Kannapolis, N.C.

(704) 652-4227

stewarthaasracing.com

What's here: A viewing window overlooking the shop with a few race cars on display in the lobby.

Drivers: Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Admission: Free

Hendrick Motorsports

4400 Papa Joe Hendrick Blvd., Charlotte, N.C.

(704) 455-3400

hendrickmotorsports.com

What's here: Museum with cars and memorabilia on display, race shops with viewing areas, gift shop.

Drivers: Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Admission: Free

Dale Earnhardt Inc.

1675 Coddle Creek Highway, Mooresville, N.C.

(704) 662-8000 or toll-free 1-877-334-9663

daleearnhardtinc.com

What's here: The Garage Mahal is now a memorial to the late Dale Earnhardt. But if you're a Dale Jr. fan, you won't find much here. Go to Hendrick Motorsports or JR Motorsports (349 Cayuga Drive, Mooresville) instead.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Admission: Free

Penske Racing

200 Penske Way, Mooresville, N.C.

(704) 664-2300

penskeracing.com

What's here: A gift shop and a 330-foot walkway overlooking the vast work area.

Drivers: Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Sam Hornish, Justin Allgaier

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Admission: Free

Richard Childress Racing

425 Industrial Drive, Welcome, N.C.

(336) 731-3334 or toll-free 1-800- 476-3389

rcrracing.com

What's here: Museum with dozens of cars on display, including 22 cars driven by Dale Earnhardt.

Drivers: Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, till 3 p.m. Saturday

Admission: $12 adults, $8 age 55 and older, $5 ages 7-18, free for 6 and younger.

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Take a half-hour tour of the speedway on nonrace days. Take a ride in a van into the garage area and victory circle, and a drive around the track to feel the 24-degree banking. Some tours (11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.) will also jettison you down the adjacent zMax Dragway. The tours, offered throughout the day beginning at 9:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday, are $5 a person. Sign up at the gift shop at the main entrance to the speedway. 5555 Concord Parkway S, Concord. Call (704) 455-3204 or go to www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/fans/tours.

Lancaster's BBQ & Wings

Stop by this NASCAR-themed restaurant midday during the week and you might see some drivers and crew members. But be courteous, and don't bother them when they're eating. 515 Rinehardt Road, Mooresville, N.C. (704) 663-5807 or go to www.lancastersbbq.com.

NASCAR race shops are worth a pit stop 07/03/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 3, 2010 5:30am]

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