Have you ever experienced a NASCAR race live? We got that very opportunity this past weekend with the Coca-Cola 600 race, and to say it was awesome is an understatement. While with some other sporting events you get there maybe about 30 minutes or so before the game to get your seats, food, etc., that isn’t the case when NASCAR comes to town. It’s an entire weekend of family-friendly festivities to keep you entertained. While we, unfortunately, weren’t able to attend the other events, we did spend the entire race day with the NASCAR team.
ONE37pm Attends NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600
Taking place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the festivities started with what can only be described as one big tailgating party complete with a Ferris wheel, shops, and plenty of food stands. We kicked off the day walking around different areas of the track, taking in the sights.
Then around 2:30 or so, we stopped to take in some of the driver interviews which was a cool experience. About an hour later, Lynyrd Skynyrd took to the stage to perform some of their classics in a set that lasted about 45 minutes or so, and then we observed the fan experience firsthand.
I got on the ferris wheel (which you’ll see in our TikTok coming out a little later), picked up some cool merch, and got some pizza before the red carpet driver introductions. After the driver intros, we hung out near Bubba Wallace’s car for a little while, and then made our way to one of the pit spots for the beginning of the race where we actually got to watch the opening laps (which you’ll also see on the TikTok).
ONE37pm: Greg, this is a special day here in Charlotte. Can you talk more about the fan experience?
Walter: We’ve got fans here from all 50 states and 12 countries, so you try to map out the day for them like Disney World so they can catch everything. We’ve planned out things at the fan zones, we’ve got activities, and all of these experiential pieces. We also have this juxtaposition of music. So when you put those two together it’s incredible. You are hearing the music, seeing all of these different things, and we hope that by the time you get back home you’re like “I want to do that again!”
ONE37pm: Just seeing this ourselves for the first time is what we would describe as an immersive experience. There isn’t any other sport where you can get as close to the athletes as you can here.
Walter: I don’t think so! Accessibility is one of the unique things about our sport. You can get right up to the drivers. The NFL doesn’t let you do that, the MLB doesn’t let you do that, etc. You can literally go around and see everything. I always say that if you give me 30 minutes with someone who has never been to a race before, they will leave a fan because it’s that accessible.
In addition to the race, we also checked out another cool experience earlier this week. On May 23rd, there was an exclusive private media event in Charlotte with NASCAR, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Stratasys, a leader in 3D printing solutions, to announce the first-ever 3D printed production parts that will be used on every NASCAR NextGen racing car.
A private media tour of the Joe Gibbs Racing facility was provided, and we caught up with Stratasys Pat Carey after the event to talk more.
The new 3D printed parts provide NASCAR with enhanced performance, flexibility, cost savings, and improved aerodynamics, and are being used by every team that competes in the NASCAR Cup Series. The parts are a culmination of nearly three years of planning, design, and development, as the Next Gen car underwent more than 37,000 miles of testing before its introduction at The Busch Light Clash in February. Stratasys has partnered with NASCAR teams for almost 20 years to support their endeavors to create highly competitive race cars, using 3D printing technology to support tooling, drill guides, and now production parts.
You can check out more via NASCAR.