Charlotte, North Carolina is known as one of the south’s top racing destinations. The city is home to some of the greatest drivers in racing history, and Charlotte and some of the surrounding communities contain iconic racing venues and race shops, as well as racing-themed restaurants, stores, and car-themed activities such as driving experiences for adults and kids. When racing fans visit Charlotte, they come for more than the main event. Visiting Charlotte, North Carolina gives fans a weekend full of motorsports as well as unforgettable racing experiences.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway, the city’s main motorsport complex, is home to a variety of racing events. The NHRA Carolina Nationals is a drag-racing spectacular leading up to the series’ championships. The four-lane drag strip facility, zMax Dragway, caters to the drag-racing experience and provides a venue that is not only built for racing but also built for fans.
Racing and RVing go hand-in-hand because fans get to be a part of a bigger community while supporting their favorite driver and racing team. Charlotte Motor Speedway supports the racing community and offers RVers campsites with racetrack views as well as on-site camping where RVers will find comfort after a long day of cheering on their favorite driver. The accommodations at and near Charlotte Motor Speedway are just what RVing race fans desire.
The NHRA Carolina Nationals has ticket options for every type of race fan from single-day tickets to multi-day passes complete with parking. There are even group ticketing options available. If you want a ticket with upgrades, ask about upgraded seating with enhanced services such as suite-level seats in one of the exclusive clubs on the premises. Single-day tickets start around $25, and multi-day tickets can reach $150 or more.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) strives to keep Charlotte’s roads in top condition year-round. During the race weekend, NCDOT is the best place to get up-to-date information on construction and other road hazards that may impact driving. Visit the NCDOT website or follow NCDOT on Twitter for race day for traffic conditions. Drivers can also call 511 for traffic updates. Charlotte Motor Speedway sits just northeast of the city and outside of I-485 along US-29.
On race weekends, traffic patterns change to reflect the heavy concentration of inbound or outbound traffic. The speedway has VIP parking lots, pay-to-park venue parking, free parking, parking lots for the campgrounds, and handicap accessible parking lots that offer ADA van and golf cart shuttle service. Detailed maps including traffic patterns, parking lot locations, and shuttle information are available on the Fan Info section of the speedway’s website. If you are staying in one of the campgrounds onsite, some camping areas offer complimentary shuttles to the race track.
Charlotte has an excellent public transportation system. There is a light rail system, a cable car route, buses, rideshares, taxis, and city-wide bike rentals. If you prefer a private ride service, there are numerous private taxi companies to choose from in the city center that extend to the suburbs outside of Charlotte. On the race weekend, some nearby locations may offer shuttle service to and from the speedway. Riders may purchase one-way or round-trip tickets.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway offers onsite camping options for RVers during the weekend of the NHRA Carolina Nationals. For up-close views of the racing action, race fans bringing RVs may stay at the trackside camping area. Sites accommodate RV and trailers up to 60 feet in length and have either 30 or 50 amp electrical hookups.
The Racing Resort Campground is an upgraded facility located minutes from the drag strip. The campground offers pull-through and back-in spaces with 20 to 50 amp electrical service, and all of the sites accommodate RVs and trailers up to 50 feet in length. The campground has full hookups, restrooms, showers, a laundromat, trash cans and, a dump station, and there are shuttles available for guests who want transportation to and from the speedway on racing days.
The Turn 4 Campground is a large camping area on the grounds of Charlotte Motor Speedway. This campground permits tent camping as well as RV camping, and the sites accommodate RVs and trailers up to 45 feet in length. The sites in this campground are standard without hookups, but there are modern restrooms and showers on-site as well as a water-filling station and a dump station. RVers staying at this campground have access to free shuttles and trams leading to and from the zMax Dragway on racing days.
If camping where the racing action takes place isn't your kind of camping, there are numerous campgrounds near the Charlotte Motor Speedway that offer basic camping and full-hooking options. Some of the campgrounds are within walking distance of the speedway, so it’s possible to camp and get to the races without having to deal with event traffic.
Depending on the type of camping you desire, there are RV camping options to suit almost any RVer’s needs. Some campgrounds allow tent and pop-up campers, while other campgrounds cater to class A and class C motor coaches. If you are pulling a fifth-wheel or small travel trailer, don’t worry about finding a place to stay as many campgrounds offer sites to accommodate the smallest and the biggest RVs.
The fall in North Carolina is beautiful with warm days and crisp, cool nights. The weather changes quickly after the sun goes down for the night, or if clouds move in and mask the sun. It’s best to wear light-colored clothing in layers, so it’s easy to remove or add layers as the weather changes. Most people will want light jackets for nighttime events.
Campers who like to spend time outside of the RV should bring chairs, awnings, and outdoor rugs to create the ideal tailgating setup. Some of the campgrounds permit grilling or fires, as long as the equipment adheres to the campground’s policies. If you plan on bringing coolers with you to the event, make sure your cooler meets the zMax Dragway requirements for size and content. Don't forget your headphones with a scanner set-up so you can catch the action as it unfolds on the track.
Spending time outside in the sun will tire even the most resilient of racing fans. Come prepared with plenty of bottled water, sunscreen, and lip balm with an SPF. If rain is in the forecast bring a light water-resistant coat with a hood or a hat. Umbrellas are not permitted inside the racing venue.
Don’t forget to pack your toiletries and medical needs. Campers who are staying in a campsite that doesn’t have electrical hookups won’t be able to use a hairdryer inside of the RV, so if you need to dry your hair, bring your dryer with you and get ready at the bathhouse.
One of the benefits of RV travel is the ability to cook at your camp. Before you plan what type of meals to make, prepare yourself by understanding what kind of hookups are available at your campground. Dry campsites with no hookups won’t have electricity, so you won’t be able to make your favorite slow cooker meal or use your microwave. Many RVs come with propane cooking options or grills so that you can cook your meals on the stove or the grill. Depending on what kind of refrigerator is in your RV and what kind of hookups are available at your site will determine if you need a cooler or not. Some refrigerators operate on propane, while others need electricity or battery power.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway is located in the heart of the city, so food choices range from fast food to sit-down restaurants. There are bars and grills as well as breakfast options nearby, as well as restaurants that are open 24-hours in case you get hungry in the middle of the night. Several restaurants nearby cater to racing fans and have racing memorabilia and racing-centered activities, so it’s possible to eat, sleep, and drink racing while staying near Charlotte Motor Speedway.
If you feel like eating while you are at the races, several concessionaires offer food and drinks. The concession stands generally have food choices like hamburgers, hot dogs, and nachos as well as soda, water, and beer. The raceway also permits independent vendors, so there are extra food choices like pizza, french fries, or ice cream available, depending on which vendor attends the event. Many of the vendors accept cash and charge cards, but if you need to get some money, there are ATMs near the zMax Dragway.
Guests may bring coolers no larger than 14 x 14 x 14 containing food and alcohol up to one hour after the start of the race. All bags and coolers brought into the speedway may be searched. Please refrain from bringing potentially hazardous materials, glass containers, or illegal substances with you. All bags and personal items are subject to search.
In October, North Carolina’s weather is comfortable during the day as well as at night. On days with full sun, the average highs of 72 ° may feel hot for some guests. As soon as the sun sets, the weather cools, and the temperature lowers to an average temperature of 50°. Rain is a possibility during the fall, but on average, it only rains for five days in October.
While everyone hopes to have a safe trip without any medical issues, sickness and injuries may happen on vacation. Prepare yourself for any medical event by carrying your insurance card with you, and keep emergency contacts on-hand. In the event of a medical emergency, while you are staying in Charlotte, several urgent care centers and hospitals are open 24-hours a day, and several medical centers are located near Charlotte Motor Speedway within a 20-minute drive.