Motorsports Legacy Keeps Kannapolis Revved Up

Things move fast in Kannapolis and Cabarrus County. It is, after all, birthplace of one of auto racing’s most fearsome competitors, Dale Earnhardt.

In addition, the area is home one of NASCAR’s most renowned tracks, the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 1.5-mile high-speed oval in Concord sees drivers top out at speeds better than 200 mph and hosts two premier NASCAR Sprint Cup events as well as other NASCAR division races. Nicknamed "The Beast of the Southeast," the 167,000-seat showcase speedway is considered home base for NASCAR, with 90 percent of NASCAR teams having racing shops within 50 miles.

Across from the speedway is the 14,500-seat Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which features a four-tenths-mile red clay oval. The track hosts a schedule of events featuring late model stockcars, World of Outlaws, sprint cars and car-crushing monster trucks.

On a 125-acre site adjacent to the speedway is the zMAX Dragway, a state-of-the-art facility featuring four, all-concrete racing lanes. Two NHRA national events are held there each year.

And Concord Motorsports Park offers a variety of racing events year round on its half-mile track. As for Earnhardt, one of NASCAR’s all-time winners, he remains one of Cabarrus County’s most famous native sons.

The Dale Trail in Kannapolis, the Intimidator’s hometown, includes a number of stops and landmarks that relate to the life and career of Earnhardt, who died at the Daytona 500 in 2001. The trail is billed as the first heritage trail in motorsports history. A signature stop is Dale Earnhardt Plaza in downtown Kannapolis, where a 9-foot bronze statue of the racing legend, clad in jeans and cowboy boots, stands. For more on Cabarrus County motorsports attractions, go to www.visitcabarrus.com.

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