The Verizon IndyCar Series has the original “month of May” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but Charlotte, North Carolina, is quickly making its own traditions in May, as the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex hosts NASCAR’s top three series as well as the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series over the course of 12 days beginning Thursday, May 15.
NC Governor Pat McCrory recently proclaimed May as “Motorsports Month” in the state, and he knows first-hand what racing brings to the Charlotte region – the May events bring an estimated economic impact of $230 million to the area, just part of the $6 billion impact the sport has each year. This May, the highlighted events are the 30th running of the Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night, May 17 and the 55th running of the Coca Cola 600 on Sunday night, May 25, but there is plenty more going on at and away from the track.
On Thursday, May 15 at 6 p.m. ET, more than 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series haulers will head to the track as part of Haulers on Union, making their way down Union St. in Concord; following the parade, The Tams take the stage as part of the weekly Union Street Live concert program. On Friday, May 16, action hits the track as the Camping World Truck Series NC Education Lottery goes green after the Sprint Showdown, the non-qualifiers race for the Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night.
On Saturday, May 17, concerts from Jake Owen (4:25 p.m. ET) and Train (6:10 and 8:30 p.m. ET) are just a part of the festivities surrounding the 30th annual Sprint All-Star Race, as qualifying for the non-points Saturday night shootout gets underway at 7:10 p.m. ET, with race going green at approximately 9 p.m. ET; this year’s format for the All-Star Race: four 20-lap segments and a 10-lap showdown.
The track goes quiet for a few days before Memorial Day weekend, but in the Charlotte area and in Cabarrus County, home of the speedway, there’s plenty to keep race fans busy, including track tours of Charlotte Motor Speedway, a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and stops at the various race shops in the area. Fans can also spend a day in Kannapolis, the home of the late Dale Earnhardt, and check out “The Dale Trail,” a self-guided tour of landmarks relating to the life of “The Intimidator,” including the Curb Motorsports Museum, Dale Earnhardt Inc., The Kannapolis Intimidators stadium and Dale Earnhardt Plaza, home of the 900-lb, 9-foot-tall bronze statue of Earnhardt.
Fans head back to the speedway on Thursday, May 22 for Sprint Cup Series practice and qualifying for the Coca Cola 600, then head to The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, CMS’s nearby sister track, for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Outlaw Showdown on Friday, May 23. The “winged warriors,” including teams owned by Sprint Cup drivers Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne, hit the track for dirt racing action Friday night.
The Nationwide Series qualifies and races on Saturday, May 24, taking the track for the History 300. On Sunday, May 25, Brantley Gilbert takes the stage at 4 p.m. ET, prior to the green flag for the longest race of the Sprint Cup Series season, the Coca Cola 600, wrapping up a dozen days of racing action in the capital of stock car racing, Charlotte, North Carolina.