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Find the best hotels for your first (or 15th) NASCAR race in Charlotte
MORE: Learn more about Hotels for Hope There's simply no replacement for experiencing a NASCAR race in person. There's nothing like watching dozens of big stars in race cars ripping around the speedway, daring to reach the 200 mph mark, that offers the noise, sights, smells and that unmistakable feeling deep in your bones you're witnessing something larger than life. This is the time to book your flights and hotels to make your NASCAR trip a reality. First stop: Charlotte, North Carolina. Long revered as the International Gateway to the South and nicknamed the Queen City, you may know Charlotte as the home of NASCAR. Even though the official headquarters are in Daytona Beach, Florida, North Carolina is where most of the stock car teams and drivers are based. With famous names like Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Rick Hendrick and Junior Johnson associated with this town, Charlotte is a sure bet to get your NASCAR fix and enjoy world-famous barbecue, endless craft beer, a lively nightlife and all-around fun for everyone. For seasoned fans or those just curious to check out their first event, the May 20 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, the May 28 Coca-Cola 600, or the Oct 7 Bank of America 500 offer plenty of opportunities to fully immerse yourself in this larger-than-life sport. For the full NASCAR experience, take a couple of extra days to explore the city like a true Charlottean. Here's our list of Charlotte's tried and true venues, plus trendy new favorites for your visit to CLT. UPTOWN First things first: in Charlotte, downtown is called "Uptown." The one place that no stock car fan should pass up here is the NASCAR Hall of Fame . Longtime race devotees and first-timers alike are invited to step in and share the rich history and heritage of this sport. You'll be taken behind the scenes through decades of champion race teams, can test your skills at the pit crew challenge , feel what it's like to climb up a banked oval track and bask in the glory of NASCAR's Hall of Honor. And, yes, there are plenty of souvenirs -- no excuses not to gear up for race weekend! You'll probably be thirsty after drooling over four floors of racing memorabilia, and the Hall of Fame's Uptown location is convenient to dozens of Charlotte's best bars and restaurants. Try a Stoke Fashioned cocktail at Stoke at the Charlotte Marriott Center City before trying a made-from-scratch meal burnished in their wood-fired oven. Local beer lovers know to visit The Cellar at Duckworth's , with its speakeasy vibe, over 300 unique brews and an excellent bourbon selection. See if you can score a tour of the vintage cellar, housing rare and coveted craft beers. If your kids are the ones who've worked up an appetite, grab a sandwich in the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Pit Stop Cafe , or head over to the RedEye Diner at the EpiCentre Mall, 7th Street Public Market, or Amélie's French Bakery -- home to a must-try salted caramel brownie and other treats featured in the first installment of "The Hunger Games." Where to stay: Hotels near the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Uptown Charlotte, NC: These hotels are walking distance from the Hall of Fame and close to Bank of America Stadium, Spectrum Center, the trendy 7th Street Public Market, EpiCentre, several museums, and so much more. The nearby LYNX Blue Line and and CityLYNX Gold Line make it easy to get around town. Courtyard by Marriott Charlotte City Center " $125/night " 12.4 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway aloft Charlotte Uptown at the Epicentre " $150/night " 12.3 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway The Westin Charlotte " $129/night " 12.7 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway See more race-day Hotels close to the NASCAR Hall of Fame at nascar.com/hotels CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY A legendary track in the heart of NASCAR country, this beacon draws thousands of race fans to immerse themselves in the soul of the sport. Charlotte Motor Speedway has plenty of food and drink options on site, like Bojangles' Famous Chicken and Biscuits -- some people swear they've dreamt about that Chicken Biscuit Sandwich. As always, you can bring your own food and beverages if you want -- just make sure your cooler is the correct size. Where to stay: Hotels near Charlotte Motor Speedway: Embassy Suites by Hilton Charlotte-Concord-Golf Resort & Spa " $254/night " 1.1 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway Great Wolf Lodge Concord Charlotte " $365/night " 1.8 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Charlotte-Concord-I-85 " $229/night " 1.7 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway Courtyard Marriott Concord " $209/night " 1.3 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway See more race-day Hotels close to Charlotte Motor Speedway at nascar.com/hotels SOUTH END, LOSO, AIRPORT Art galleries, breweries, and food trucks come together to blend old industrial Charlotte with a heaping dose of tastemakers' charm -- you'll find all of that, and more, just 3 miles south of Uptown and 7 miles from the airport. In South End , browse the creative works at local faves Ciel Gallery, Dilworth Artisan Station and the Charlotte Art League. Ready to skip right to the meat? Stop at Mac's Speed Shop for true Carolina barbecue. A lively mix of bikers, beer drinkers and brisket lovers head to Mac's for traditional barbecue and sides like mac 'n' cheese, baked beans, and cheddar grits, all washed down with local craft brews or southern sweet tea. Head two miles farther south and you'll find yourself in one of Charlotte's hottest "drinking districts:" Lower South End (but you can call it " LoSo" if you want to feel like an insider). First stop? The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery . Their traditional beer hall, classically-made German brews, live music and sprawling outdoor area makes it an easy option for groups and families. Some refer to it as a theme park for adults, but with better food -- order yourself a Currywürst, Short Rib Brisket Burger or a soft German pretzel. If you’re on the hunt for even more libations, you'll want to stop at LoSo's Sugar Creek Brewing Company, the Broken Spoke , and Good Road Cider Works . Charlotte's LYNX Blue Line light rail runs through South End and LoSo, making your journey to and from Uptown nearly as quick as a NASCAR pit stop. Where to stay: Hotels near Charlotte Douglas International Airport: Homewood Suites by Hilton Charlotte Airport " $110/night " 2.0 miles from CLT Fairfield Inn & Suites Charlotte Airport " $99/night " 2.1 miles from CLT Super 8 Charlotte Downtown Area " $70/night " 3.4 miles from CLT Search for more race-day Hotels near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport/South End/LoSo at nascar.com/hotels There you have it: your insider's guide to where to eat, drink and take in Charlotte like a local. This fast-growing city is changing all the time, so explore the area on your own and create new memories, NASCAR style. And, now you have a new tool to help you out. At Raceday Hotels by Hotels for Hope at nascar.com/hotels , you can search by price, location, landmark, and see reviews and photos of hotels close to Charlotte Motor Speedway. See you at the track! All rates were accurate at time of writing, based on a 5/26-29 stay. Prices subject to change, so book soon.
Truex on pit road penalty: 'We were going for it'
RELATED: Johnson jumps at Bristol victory " Race results No one at Bristol could run the bottom of the track better than Martin Truex Jr., who led 116 laps in Monday's rain-delayed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Truex lost some of his advantage when the potency of the VHT track sealer, which added grip to the bottom lane, began to fade as the race progressed. But the real whammy for Truex was a penalty for speeding on pit road incurred under the final caution on Lap 465. Truex had been battling race winner Jimmie Johnson for the lead before the infraction, but the No. 78 Toyota lost any chance for the victory after being sent to the back of the field for a restart on Lap 468. "We were going for it, you know?" Truex said. "Wish we could have had a shot there just to see if we could have won. This is the best run we've had here in a long time. It's bittersweet. I wish we could have seen if we could have beat the 48 (Johnson). We were close there before that last caution, but it is what it is, and you try to get what you can get, and sometimes you cross the line, and today we crossed the line. "All in all, it was an awesome day and a lot of fun. Had the VHT not worn out quite as bad, then we would have really killed them. The top lane came in, and some guys could run that better than I could, but overall it was a good day and a lot of fun all day." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Inside Access Miss Sprint Cup: #17 Pit Crew
Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon follows the No. 17 crew as they compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Pit Crew Challenge .
No. 21 crew chief Bullins on Blaney: 'I'm proud of him'
No. 21 crew chief Jeremy Bullins shares his thoughts with NASCAR.com on the growth of driver Ryan Blaney, the historic Wood Brothers Racing team
Bounce in Bowyer's step with second at Bristol
RELATED: Johnson prevails at Bristol " Race results BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Clint Bowyer's career revival was in full swing here Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway, with the Stewart-Haas Racing driver finishing second in the Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. It was Bowyer's best result since joining the four-car operation before the start of the 2017 season. In a race that was delayed one day by rain, Bowyer could see but could not catch eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson in the waning laps of 500-lap affair. The seven-time champion was a tick of the stopwatch ahead at the finish line, earning his 82nd career victory and further cementing his status as one of the series' greatest drivers of all time. Seventh when he brought his car to pit road for the final time during a caution on Lap 464, Bowyer restarted ninth for the final push. It wasn't long before he was battling with Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson for the lead. Then it was only Johnson out his front windshield. "It's Jimmie Johnson," Bowyer, 37, said. "You're just … you try everything you possibly can and I was starting to do some pretty desperate things with brakes and my line and stuff like that, and then you just realize -- your mindset quickly changes, and you're like, 'all right, let's put it in perspective here; we've come a long way, it was a long day, and second place is probably a good run for us, and we should be happy with that. We shouldn't hang our head about it.' " This was no finish created by smoke and mirrors -- Bowyer and the No. 14 team, led by crew chief Mike Buggarewicz, earned every position picked up on the high-banked half-mile oval. And there were plenty to be collected. Bowyer started ninth on the 39-car grid but quickly found himself the last car on the lead lap. "Way too loose," he said. "(We) just missed it." Then, after racing his way inside the top 10 and staying there, a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 326. "Mike made some great adjustments (and) the pit crew was on their game all day long … gained spots almost every time and then I lost them all back on pit road speeding," Bowyer said. "Went to the back again, and then drove back up through them." The decision to take four tires on the final stop was crucial. "I think the 48 (of Johnson) was the other one (to take four tires) and he won the race, so the right strategy was there," Bowyer said. "The team effort was there. You know, that's what a weekend is all about. It's just been this long since I've won a race and here is pretty special. It would have been pretty cool to be over there in Victory Lane." Bowyer has finished 13th or better in seven consecutive races and Monday's runner-up effort edged out a third-place run at Auto Club Speedway for "season's best" honors at this point. In 2016, driving for the now defunct HScott Motorsports, he had no top-five finishes and just three top 10s, numbers he has already exceeded. Pleased with a runner-up, but disappointed just the same. "Been that way my whole life," said Bowyer, who has eight career victories but none since 2012. "Since I was about 5 years old. "You struggle and struggle and struggle for a year and a half .. and hell, next thing you know you're being greedy about (finishing) second. "That's just the way racers are and the way it's always been. (But) having a ton of fun and working hard and seeing the results is gratifying for this race team." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Injured jackman posts video of being hit on pit road
Driver Chris Buescher, the No. 37 JTG Daugherty team and NASCAR fans were relieved Sunday when jackman Zack Young tweeted that he was OK after being hit amid a spin on pit road at Texas Motor Speedway. I'm ok. Hand/thumb is tore up, got some bruises. — Zack Young (@JackmanZack) April 9, 2017 While entering pit road during a competition caution on Lap 30 of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, Buescher's car was clipped by Erik Jones' No. 77 Toyota. That spun Buescher into his pit stall, and the rear tires flipped toward pit road and crashed into over-the-wall crew member Young. On Tuesday, Young tweeted the video, as taken from the front tire changer's helment camera. Well here it is. View from the front tire changer. #nascar #pitcrew #monsterenergycup pic.twitter.com/QtwWiDyZwP — Zack Young (@JackmanZack) April 11, 2017 Young told PitTalks.com that he "jumped but got hit by the right rear quarter panel, which threw me a good 10 feet in the air toward pit wall." Young told the website on Tuesday that he was treated immediately after the incident at the Texas Motor Speedway infield care center and was later seen by Charlotte orthopedic physicians. It appears nothing in his hand was broken, but he will receive a full report this week.
Part 3: Pit crew strengths and weaknesses for Chase
RELATED: Part 1 " Part 2 MORE: Meet the 16 Chase crew chiefs This is the third in a series of four pit crew analysis pieces NASCAR.com will roll out this week as we preview the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . For more pit crew news provided by PitTalks.com come back throughout the Chase. Team Penske No. 2 Ford for Brad Keselowski Pit Coach: Trent Cherry Front Changer: Hunter Masling Front Carrier: Jeremy Ogles Jackman: Braxton Brannon Rear Changer: Dwayne Ogles Rear Carrier: Tyler Mitchell Gas Man: Nick Hensley Strength: This is the same group that pitted BK last year in the Chase and it has lots of talent. The team was part of six wins last year and one so far this year. Pitting a winning car is something this crew is used to doing. Weakness: This team has shown both signs of greatness and struggle all year. If it can improve on consistency it can be a scary team to pit against. Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Chevrolet for Martin Truex Jr . Pit Crew : 78 Pit Coach: Walt Smith Front Changer: Dave Collins Front Carrier: Craig Curione Jackman: Carey Wimbish Rear Changer: Kyle Turner Rear Carrier: Adam Mosher Gas Man: Brian Dheel Strength: They have a cool nickname: "Box-spring bandits." On a more serious note, this team is loaded with veterans and has perhaps the most experience of any crew in the Chase. Weakness: This crew has been all over the place this year. It is a good crew when things are right but keeping it right is a challenge . Earlier in the year the team made a change at rear changer but that didn't last long. A few weeks later it was back to the original crew . There's enough veteran talent that if the team can keep up with its driver, it has a chance to run deep in the Chase. Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota for Denny Hamlin Pit Coach: Mike Lepp Front Changer: Dustin Necaise Front Carrier: Brandon Pegram Jackman: Nate Bolling Rear Changer: Mike Hicks Rear Carrier: Heath Cherry Gas Man: Caleb Hurd Strength: This crew is solid at every position and works great under pressure. There has been a lot of talk about this team over the year and rightfully so. The team was instrumental in JGR winning the All-Star race has put its driver in position to win multiple times this year. Look for this to be one of the crews to beat come Chase time. Weakness: As good as this group is there have been races where consistency has been an issue. This team gets up for the big stops better than any team out there but sometimes relies on the Money Stop. Keeping jack man Nate Bolling healthy is also a major concern. Nate is coming off a very bad injury in the offseason and is a major contributor to the success. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates No. 1 Chevrolet for Jamie McMurray Pit Coach: Shaun Peet Front Changer: Danny Kincaid Front Carrier: Ben Fetzer Jackman: Shane Wilson Rear Changer: Kenyatta Houston Rear Carrier: Art Simmons Gas Man: Mike Metcalf Strength: This crew has been one of the best surprises of the year. It has been very good as of late and the chemistry within this group is strong. It's a group of talent that was put together this year by first-year coach Shaun Peet, and it's working. Weakness: This team has zero wins this year and hasn't found itself pitting under winning pressure for most of the year. In order to compete in the Chase the team will have to thrive under pressure situations. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com
Clear skies, sailing for Johnson in Bristol victory
RELATED: Race results " Stage results " Full schedule for Richmond SHOP: Winner gear! MORE: Detailed race breakdown Jimmie Johnson surged to victory in the rain-delayed Food City 500 on Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson powered the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet to his second straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season, leading 81 of the 500 laps. His 82nd win of his career was his second on the .533-mile Tennessee track. The victory moved Johnson another step up NASCAR's all-time win list, putting him one triumph behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough and two back from fellow inductees Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. "That's just mind-blowing," said Johnson, who sits seventh on the all-time list. "I wouldn’t be here without Mr. Hendrick's support. Thanks to him and to Jeff Gordon for believing in me. For Hendrick Motorsports to make this job kind of a family environment for all of us to thrive in has been a perfect environment for me and ( crew chief) Chad Knaus, and for the consistent group of guys behind me through all these years has led to the environment to win 82 races, or whatever it is, which is just insane. I'm truly humbled." Clint Bowyer took second place in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Ford, 1.199 seconds behind the race winner in his best finish since running second at Richmond on April 27, 2013. His late-race boost secured his second top-five finish of the season, but wasn't enough to unseat Johnson from the top spot. "It is frustrating, you could see him out there," Bowyer said, "but dammit, you'd think he'd get tired of winning all these races." Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano completed the top five. Pole-starter Kyle Larson seemed poised for a top-five finish after leading the opening 202 laps and snagging a Stage 1 win, but a pit -road speeding penalty on Lap 423 knocked him back to 17th in the running order. He rallied to a sixth-place finish and maintained his lead in the season-long standings. "Yeah, disappointed in myself," said Larson, who emerged with a 27-point lead over Chase Elliott in the standings. "I think I speed on pit road every single time I come to Bristol. So, got to clean that up." Martin Truex Jr., the Stage 2 winner and leader of 116 laps, was also bitten by a speeding penalty on pit road with 34 laps remaining. The infraction shuffled him to 15th place for the final run to the finish. He wound up eighth. "I thought I was exactly where I was the time before, so the time before must have been close," Truex said of his pit road timing. "Typically we don't get many speeding penalties for this team, but today we were just pushing the issue trying to get a win and sometimes they'll get you." RELATED: Photo gallery of at-track sights at Bristol Several other big names finished well off the pace after a variety of pitfalls. Kyle Busch, a five-time Bristol winner, rallied from a brush with the wall into the top 10, but a second hit sidelined him after 383 laps. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran just 218 laps before his day was done, a Turn 1 wall crunch and a broken oil cooler ending his race. Brad Keselowski, a two-time winner this year, and Ryan Blaney also spent extended time behind the wall with steering issues. The event was delayed one day because of persistent rain Sunday. The series' next race is the Toyota Owners 400 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM) at Richmond International Raceway. Contributing: NASCAR Wire Service &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Chastain, Clements called to hauler after altercation
RELATED: Full race results BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Two NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers made a post-race visit to meet with officials following Saturday's Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Ross Chastain and Jeremy Clements, along with crew chiefs Evan Snider and Tony Clements, were called to the NASCAR hauler after the two drivers had an altercation on pit road during a red-flag delay. The incident occurred after the two drivers made contact on the race track. According to reports, Clements approached Chastain shortly after drivers had exited their cars to wait out the rain delay. Clements told reporters he placed his hand "on his back and turned (Chastain) around" when Chastain struck him. "I had no intention of fighting the guy," Clements told NBC Sports. Driver confrontation between Ross Chastain and Jeremy Clements during rain delay of the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 on Saturday @BMSupdates pic.twitter.com/CD3wpVPIiW — Earl Neikirk (@earlneikirk) April 22, 2017 "Hope he realizes now that he can talk, we can talk, but you can't grab someone by the shoulders," Chastain told FS1. "That happened before and I said right then I wouldn't let it happen again. What's done is done." Clements, who was struck in the eye, made a quick trip to the infield care center following the confrontation. Both drivers returned to their cars once the race, which had been halted due to rain, resumed. Clements finished 17th and Chastain 31st. According to Chastain, the two drivers talked out their differences after meeting with NASCAR officials and consider the matter closed. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
New date set for Team Penske's final appeal
RELATED: No. 2 team penalized after Phoenix infraction The date for Team Penske's final appeal of L1-level penalties issued last month has been pushed back one day due to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race postponement at Bristol. NASCAR officials said the hearing is now scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 26 at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. It previously had been scheduled for Tuesday. Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, will preside over the hearing. The session will determine the final outcome of penalties issued March 22 to the Roger Penske-owned No. 2 Ford team after the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway. Team Penske filed the paperwork for a final appeal April 13, one day after the three-member National Motorsports Appeal Panel upheld the original penalties. That punishment included a three-race suspension for crew chief Paul Wolfe and a 35-point deduction for Brad Keselowski in the drivers' standings and the same amount for Penske in the owners' standings. With the appeal pending, a Team Penske official indicated that Wolfe is scheduled to be atop the pit box for Monday's Food City 500 at Bristol. Wolfe already has served one race of his three-race suspension, handing over the helm to Brian Wilson for the March 26 race at Auto Club Speedway. Moss, the former president at Gulfstream Aerospace, has held the role of National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer since 2014. His ruling on April 26 will be final. The burden of proof will rest with Team Penske in the final appeal process. In the initial hearing, the burden of proof rested with NASCAR. &amp;amp;amp;amp;<span _rtetemp="spchk" style="background-color: #ffffaa;" _rtespchksugg="Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t">am</span>p;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;