Raleigh, NC (Vocus) April 12, 2007
North Carolina leads the pack with non-stop racing action this spring and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 is just part of what's available. Experience the thrill of a variety of activities in the fast lane throughout the state. From supersonic jets to extreme roller coasters, take your vacation full-throttle with these trip ideas.
WATCH ALL THE HEART-POUNDING ACTION
MCAS Cherry Point Air Show, May 4-6, Cherry Point (located halfway between Morehead City and New Bern)
Strap in for take off! Commemorating 60 years of hosting the state's largest air show, visitors will be in awe over the historic and supersonic flybys as well as the display of modern military force and the variety of aircraft on exhibit. The event features both day and night shows.
Pit Crew Challenge, May 16, Bobcats Arena, Charlotte
The competition is the only event of its kind officially sanctioned by NASCAR. The event matches the sport's favorite over-the-wall athletes -- tire changers, tire carriers, gas men, jack men and more -- against each other in timed competitions.
East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame Weekend, Oct. 19-21, Henderson
One of the Southeast's largest car shows showcasing hundreds of rods, muscle cars, antique vehicles and race cars for a crowd of more than 20,000 fans.
RELIVE RACING'S GREATEST MOMENTS
North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Mooresville
This is a race fan's dream come true. The museum, dedicated to all types of racing, features more than 35 cars on display.
Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord
Experience a close-up look at areas that are off-limits on race days. Visit the NEXTEL Cup garage, travel down pit road and take a picture in Victory Circle. Ride around the speedway and feel the full-tilt force of the 24-degree banking.
Race City USA Race Team Shops and Pit Pass Cabarrus, Mooresville and Cabarrus County
Spend the day touring the race shops, or experience the history of auto racing firsthand in one of many auto museums. Even the police cars in Mooresville have checkered flags on them. Pit Pass Cabarrus is a vacation package ticket that includes admission to several of the region's racing attractions and shops.
- Penske Racing South, Penskeracing.com
- Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Daleearnhardtinc.com
- Rousch Racing Tours, Roushracing.com
5 Off 5 On Pit Race Team Performance, Mooresville
Visitors can watch real-life demos as the pit crews "go over the wall" in a choreographed display of strength and agility. They can also test their skills inside the pit box. It's an unmatched experience for groups and team-building exercises.
Smoky Mountain Jet Boats, Bryson City
Nothing can prepare you for the thrill of this unique and exhilarating ride. These boats are extremely maneuverable and can spin within their own length. (Check out the video vignette at Visitnc.com/what_to_do_outdoor.asp?s=oa)
U.S. National Whitewater Center, Charlotte
Visit the world's premier outdoor recreation and environmental education center. Alongside mountain-biking and running trails, a climbing center and challenge course, the park's unique feature is a multiple-channel, customized whitewater river for rafting and canoe/kayak enthusiasts of all abilities. Olympic athletes from all over the world also train here.
Tsali Recreation Area, Robbinsville
Listed as an Epic Ride by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), Left and Right Trails of Tsali join a list of some of the world's most outstanding trails. Tsali offers 42 miles of trails on four loops rated "more difficult" and featuring everything from rugged paths to flat roads in the Nantahala National Forest.
GET IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT
The Tail of The Dragon, Graham County, Western North Carolina
Anyone looking for an exciting drive will enjoy this stretch of 318 curves in 11 miles. It's considered as one of the world's best motorcycling and sports car drives. Motorcyclists will enjoy the nearby Two Wheel Inn which features a motorcycle garage with each room.
Richard Petty Driving Experience, Concord
Feel the excitement by riding shotgun at speeds up to 165 MPH or take command of the wheel and experience the thrill firsthand by choosing the type of driving program that is right for you. Experience a real race from the passenger seat.
Land Rover Experience Driving School at Biltmore Estate, Asheville
The driving school offers guests the opportunity to improve off-road driving skills with one-on-one training provided by Land Rover certified driving instructors. Sessions are designed to introduce the concept of off-road driving techniques in a fun environment.
Off-Road Vehicle Trails at Uwharrie National Forest, Troy (60 miles east of Charlotte)
The park contains 16 miles of off-road trails ranging from easy to difficult with optional tough areas for the hard core off-roaders. Helmets are required on the trails.
SPEED SEEKING RIDES AND ADVENTURES
Extreme Park, Greenville
Greenville has been on the cutting edge of skate and BMX parks since the beginning of its popularity. The 10,000-square-foot park designed for in-line skating, skateboarding and biking features ramps, mini pipes, spines, grind rails and three jump boxes as well as a beginner's area. BMX and X-Games legend Dave Mirra lives in Greenville, which is known as "Pro Town" due to the number of BMX professionals that live in the area.
One of the most popular family entertainment attractions in the Southeast, the park offers more than 60 state-of-the-art rides, attractions and shows for all ages. Take a ride on the park's fastest roller coaster, Top Gun: The Jet Coaster, which peeks at 62 MPH and is distinguished by its inverted construction.
NASCAR SpeedPark, Concord Mills, Concord (I-85 Exit 49, same as Lowe's Motor Speedway)
This race-themed amusement park features five exciting tracks, NASCAR reactor simulators, lazer tag arena, indoor rock climbing wall, SpeedDome arcade and more.
RACING AND MORE AT VISITNC.COM
For a complete listing of race-related tours and stops, go to http://www.VisitNC.com and click on "GO" for the "Motorsports Experience." Visit the same site or call 1-800-VISIT NC for more events, accommodations, restaurant suggestions and great ways to relax or play on your next getaway to North Carolina.
Natural scenic beauty lends itself to adventure and exploration in North Carolina. Call 1-800-VISIT NC or go to http://www.VisitNC.com to plan your next getaway.
Jennifer Frings / Susan Dosier