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Daytona 500 Experience closing for a while, crowds off; same attendance problems with NASCAR's new Charlotte Hall of Fame

  Dale Earnhardt stands guard outside the Daytona 500 Experience at Daytona International Speedway (Photo: Daytona)

   By Mike Mulhern


   NASCAR's Charlotte Hall of Fame is in the red, and not drawing nearly as many fans as anticipated.
   And now Daytona executives have decided to shut down the Daytona 500 'Experience' interactive museum at   NASCAR's 'world center of speed,' because of sluggish attendance.  The Daytona Experience will simply be put into mothballs, effectively, because track execs say the attraction, which opened in 1996, costs too much to keep going full-time.

   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?
   Good question.
   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)

Daytona 500 Experience

Being a NASCAR fan for many years was the reason that I retired to Daytona. I have been attending the Daytona races for many years and it just seemed natural to relocate here. Like all other things that NASCAR/ISC have ownership of, they wanted to squeeze the last dollar out of anyone attending this attraction; at first the "attraction" was costly; then they decided they could squeeze more money out of the ticket by adding the shuttle around the track, and quite honestly they have priced themselves out of business. I guess they never heard the old saying of "half a loaf is better than none". When NASCAR was on top they decided that they could package the "tower" seats and force us to buy either a 2 or 4 day ticket depending on where you sit. We all know that NASCAR only cares about the almighty $$$; when Harvick won the 500 a few years back a old friend from up North asked if I could get a picture of the car as it was put into the "experience" I went their before the place opened the Monday after the race and asked if I could get in to take a few pictures of the car, and I was told only if I paid the admission price, well all I can say is that the greed is biting them in the butt now

Just maybe if it was combined

Just maybe if it was combined with the 500 EXPERIENCE at the begining, they both could have stayed afloat. The Hall by itself is DOOMED.
What were they thinking?

no surprise, the admission

no surprise, the admission prices for the hall of fame are insane. $22.45 for an adult after the ticket master service charge? no thanks. . .

Daytona 500 Experience was a

Daytona 500 Experience was a "minor league" operation. It outlived it's usefulness and only drew a semi crowd in February. It was initially built for Lesa France to run. The admission fee was $23.95 which was absurd. They now want $15.00 just for a tram tour - THEY DON'T GET IT !

As far as the NASCAR HOF in Charlotte - the downtown location is a huge issue. The HOF should have been built either in Daytona (yes it would have done better in a tourist town) or near Charlotte Motor Speedway and the shopping mall. Much easier access and parking.

As it is, the HOF is run by the city of Charlotte and taxpayers. The future looks very grim for this ill thought operation and the location.

the Experience does need a

the Experience does need a redo. not enough space where it is, for one. i figure the sponsors just decided not renew their deals down there, and without a lot of fans, not enough money to keep the lights on. and i agree on the $$$. fans have just been turned off by the whole 'pay me' thing. I'd charge $1 a head to get in, and hit 'em up for $20 teeshirts and souvenirs on the way out the door.....
not sure what to make of the Charlotte HOF; i've been so miffed by the five-a-year induction process that i haven't stopped to consider the location thing. of course i just figured the whole deal was some corporate game to get some prime downtown charlotte land on the cheap for a big HQ building that could be leased out for more more money.....but i'm still surprised the taxpayers of charlotte bought into this whole deal so easily.

They apparently still don't

They apparently still don't get it. Admission fee for the tram tour only is $15.00

Solution to Brian France's problems

TV ratings are down and the Hall of Fame is suffering as well. I've got the ideal answer.

Have Junior retire and take Darrell's place in the broadcast booth. Once he's no longer driving and thus eligible for entry, Brian France can enact a special rule and increase HOF nominees to 12 a year until Junior is inducted.

TV ratings will go up, Hall attendance will go up, people get to see Junior in Victory Lane (interviewing the winner). Sponsors will still be able to splash his face across every unpainted surface. Danica's already been prepped to step into his seat at Hendricks to keep up the win streak. It's all good.

One caveat. FoxTV will have to replace the play-by-play announcer every year due to poor performance.

Now that's the spirit: a

Now that's the spirit: a little more humor in this thing might be just what this sport needs. everyone takes everything too seriously. Junior....oh, i thought you meant Junior Johnson......i once suggested to bill france jr that he hire JJ to be president of nascar, seriously i was thinking. and billy jr just looked at me like i'd landed from mars. cant print what he followed that look with. lol

Too Bad So Sad

It is called what comes around goes around, karma, payback, whatever you want to call it. NA$CAR decided to forget the people that made the sport what it was and now those same folks have turned their backs on NA$CAR. You got to hand it to Brian, that guy is the model of consistancy, every single decision he has made has completely back fired and made all of NA$CAR management look like fools.

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Imagine if the HOF was built

Imagine if the HOF was built in Kansas (a proposed HOF site) ....Talk about hearing nuthin' but crickets now!...lol

Hall of Fame

I am excited to go...see the retired HOF drivers like DW, Rusty, Cale, AK,etc.....forgot THEY ARE NOT IN THE NASCAR HOF!!!!!!!!!!!! What a joke-and the reason NO ONE will want to go visit.

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