• Jun 15, 2010
NASCAR Hall of Fame – Click above for high-res image gallery

All things considered, it seems odd that it took until 2010 for NASCAR to open up a hall of fame. Now that NASCAR's best days may well be behind it, one might expect that fans would be thronging to a new museum dedicated to the drivers, crews and cars that spend every Sunday afternoon driving in circles and banging fenders.

However, now that the NASCAR Hall of Fame is finally open to the public, the crowds haven't been as big as originally projected. Supporters had hoped to lure 800,000 people to the facility in Charlotte, North Carolina during its first year of operation. However, based on the first month's attendance, the projections have now been ratcheted down to 600,000 or less.

Granted, most museums would kill to have 600,000 people come through in a year, but this is NASCAR where they do everything in a big way. The museum is still expected to to run a surplus of nearly $800,000 this year but waning interest in NASCAR and a continued weak economy could make things tough going forward.



[Source: That's Racin]


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  • 34 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I designed that "Session Results" screen!
      • 4 Years Ago
      "It's the economy stupid". People don't have money to go to races or museums. NASCAR may have peaked, but it's still very popular. When the economy improves attendance will go back up, but maybe not to the levels it used to be. Maybe we they can have more incidents like Harvick/Logano to get some excitement back.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That should have read - I should have had my "" signal on - The first time I posted it without the quotes and it took it as a real text tag and didn't display it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So NASCAR needs drivers to fight in order to get attention?

        I thought is was a sport about stock car racing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Went yesterday. As a long time fan, I was hoping that it would live up to the hype. I was not let down. The amount of old artifacts and cars that they were able to put in the place is staggering. Here's my high points and some that need to be addressed:
      Highs:
      A complete history of the sport.
      Very well designed.
      Everyone should be able to find something to enjoy.
      The hall of honor exhibit is breath taking. I got chills.
      Lows:
      The bottom floor has lots of space. Fill it up.
      There needs to be arrows on the floor as guides.
      The simulators should be for racing, not qualifying.
      Overall, worth the trip.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not much intrerest in looking at a bunch of different vinyl wraps on the same car body I suppose. "OOOH! This one says 'Tide' on it!"
        • 4 Years Ago
        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      WSJ recently detailed the questionable debt that many cities have incurred in the building of various projects including this one. Charlotte sold a lot of bonds whose retirement is based on attendance projections. As expected (details later) the attendance is not up to projections and if it doesn't improve the city residents will have to pony up the difference all for a project that only provides a 100 jobs and most of those in the Walmart range.

      The politicos who push big projects of any sort know that if the truth were known the voters wouldn't support it so they have to rig financial data.

      With respect to costs they get low ball estimates for construction and wave around "fixed price" contracts. The know from day one that the contracts have enough exceptions and omissions that they will quickly degenerate to a "labor and materials" contract which will allow an explosion in costs and a great opportunity for graft.

      On the revenue side they find experienced consultants who create tons of analysis and charts projecting cash flows far exceeding that needed to retire the debt. Often a look at the consultants "experience" reveals a history of gross and consistent overestimates. The facts are that to project public behavior towards a new attraction or public transportation is difficult at best and those who bet hard money on the most favorable numbers will likely be disappointed.

      Should this attraction's attendance continue to run low the cost to Charlotte will likely be far more than the payroll of the attraction. Spending $100,000/yr of the public's money to deliver a private $40,000/yr job only makes sense in Washington DC, not North Carolina. A favorite political response to a debacle such as this is to refinance. Stretch the debt period out to reduce the monthly debt payments and to sweeten the deal, negatively amortize the debt for a couple of years until the project is performing better. This sounds great to many but too often governments end up with projects whose outstanding debt 5 years down the road is more than the original cost. The Meadowlands NFL stadium was built with roughly 300 million dollars in debt. Many years pass with all sorts of political intrigue (this is NJ after all) and the stadium debt is now over 800 million dollars.

      If your municipality wants to build something expensive that sounds neat but isn't really necessary think twice as the execution will likely be far different than projected.
        • 4 Years Ago
        VERY well said.
        @ Weaksauce:
        It's a shame you didn't take the time.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Excellent summation of the problem with public projects. Good post.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sir.

        You drop a wall of text like that? You should include a

        tl;dr at the end.

        "Too Long. Didn't Read."
        • 4 Years Ago
        Great Info on how municipalities and federal government spend money sometimes. If States and Fed Government ran like private industries ( to a point ) the American people would be better off. (well all except investors that rely on government backed securities for low risk) My home town did the same but on a smaller scale. Time to reissue more debt instruments to back up the access spending. You win some you Lose some.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There is no way I can disagree with this. I live in Reno, and was laid off from the City because they were short about $15 Million. The problem is, they just built a minor league ball stadium that opened last year and cost them about $15 Million. They knew going in the economy was going down, but still went full steam ahead. This is exactly what will happen in Charlotte, and now it's too late to do anything about it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      nascar has just about as much popularity in this country as hockey. but it's not as exciting.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Amusing. Hardly unexpected.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Are there any right hand turns required to get into the parking lot? That could confuse a lot of NASCAR fans and could account for the low attendance...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Of course attendance is low. NO CRASHES!
        • 4 Years Ago
        see that's where they failed, they needed to add some type of ride, like a 200mph crash simulator that shakes ones soul. LOL. It then would be quickly named the barf machine. HAHAHAHA
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well that and who wants to go to a museum where they MAKE you see the exhibits in a counter-clockwise order? (aaaand off to the left is a 1968 Dodge, to the left of that is a...)
        • 4 Years Ago
        They do have a sort of ride... race simulators. iRacing.com software in a bunch of purpose built cars where you can drive the simulator around whatever track NASCAR is currently racing.

        I heard the place is very cool...
        • 4 Years Ago
        And beer or bourbon or something. Ge the fans hammered before they go in.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They get to the door see the No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service sign and turn around and go home.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We checked it out, It is a tribute to what Nascar once was, not what it has become, All about money. Hence the addition of Toyota, turned away a lot of fans, I for one. maybe next time, people will think twice before turning to the left!.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You have to consider NASCAR fans...They're too busy sitting in their Laz-E Boy recliners, beer bellies bulging thru stained tank tops and eating fried mayonnaise balls to be bothered to actually go to a museum....

      Hanging a McDonalds drive-thru off the back might help...
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