Dale Earnhardt stands guard outside the Daytona 500 Experience at Daytona International Speedway (Photo: Daytona)
By Mike Mulhern
Track president Joie Chitwood says he hopes to reopen the Experience when things pick up. It will still be available for private showing during race weekends.
Meanwhile in downtown Charlotte attendance is way off at NASCAR's new Hall of Fame.
And it gives added emphasis to the old saw 'Under-promise, over-deliver.' That's an old saying that whoever is in charge of Charlotte's NASCAR Hall of Fame apparently ignored.
That the Hall, which just opened in the spring, is having problems is understatement.
Yes, it's a fantastic technological achievement, a super location, and great exhibits.
However nobody is coming.
Well, not exactly nobody, but those estimates of a first-year crowd total of 800,000 were clearly wildly off.
Heck, who believed those anyway? Who was supposed to buy those numbers, and why?
The Hall turnstiles for July and August combined – and this is the heart of vacation travel time – totaled just 55,000.
Little wonder the business reported a deficit of nearly $300,000 for August.
The Hall, run by the Charlotte visitors authority, was forecasting about 50,000 visitors a month this past summer.
During last week's Sprint Cup weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway the Hall attracted about 10,000 visitors.
The shortfall means the Hall is looking to cut as much as $3 million from its budget.
The baseball hall of fame draws about 300,000 a year; the NFL hall of fame draws about 200,000 a year.
Why did promoters of the new NASCAR Hall of Fame post an 800,000 figure?
The NASCAR Hall cost about $150 million to build, part of the funding coming from an extra two percent hotel tax.
NASCAR's new Charlotte Hall of Fame: crowds are way off. What's the problem? (Photo: NASCAR)