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It was a busy weekend for NASCAR fans with plenty of racing action taking place down in Daytona Beach, Florida. Crazy crashes during Saturday’s race forced even the fans to the hospital—looks like everyone is at least stable—and Sunday brought Jimmie Johnson his second ever Daytona 500 victory. You could call it the Super Bowl of the series, so it’s understandable that this week might be a little disappointing after all that excitement. That’s why we suggest nursing your NASCAR hangover at their Hall of Fame over in Charlotte.
They’ve got pretty much everything and anything on display at the hall, and they’ve even found the space to cram in 31 full sized racecars as well. Over 50 digital displays help recreate history right in front of your eyes, and there are even plenty of buttons so you can choose exactly what you want to see, hear, and feel. There’s even a moonshine still on display to represent some of racing’s good ol’ days—ha.
The Olympics entertained us most of the afternoon, but there was also another pretty big sporting event going on yesterday. NASCAR lovers from around the world gathered on the coast of the Sunshine State to check out this year’s Daytona 500. Just like last year, there were some issues, but this year’s problems sounded a little more like stuff commuters experience on daily basis. There was a pothole that stopped the race a couple times, but Jamie McMurray was finally able to hold off everyone else—including Dale Earnhardt Jr.—to take the checkered flag.
If you’re still in town you can always check out the Daytona 500 experience, but if you’ve been in Florida for a few days you’ve probably already done it. You can always take your racecar obsession to the next level by shelling out some cash to actually hit the track at Daytona International Speedway. The Richard Petty Driving Experience will be glad to arrange a ride-along on the track for only $135. The three laps at about 165 mph will go by pretty quickly, so you better leave the credit card back at the hotel so you don’t start spending too much too quickly.
The Intimidator has already risen again. Just a few weeks after the announcement of a new record setting Dale Earnhardt themed coaster, another theme park in the south wants a piece of the NASCAR action. Carowinds, just outside of Charlotte, has revealed the details on their biggest and baddest roller coaster yet.
This new thriller is different than the initial Earnhardt ride, so coaster fans from across the country will have a couple new things to test out for the 2010 season. This ride will climb to 232 feet tall, and then pretty much drop you right back down, as the first drop is 211 feet towards the ground. Of course after that they’ll be plenty of twists, turns, and drops that will make anyone regret that corn dog that they had before boarding. Although not quite racecar speeds, the coaster will hit 75 MPH, which is not too shabby.
Over the last few weeks, little tidbits of information have been trickling in regarding a new coaster set to hit the scene at Kings Dominion, outside of Richmond, Virginia. Finally the cat is out of the bag, and the park is looking to cozy up to the NASCAR crowd with their brand new Dale Earnhardt-themed coaster. Park officials are hoping to give visitors a taste of racecar speed as the new ride will hit 92 mph as it twists and turns along its steel track.
The Intimidator 305, as it will be known, is already being promoted as the tallest and fastest gravity-driven coaster on the country’s east coast (even though they're wrong, that title will stay with the 456-foot, 128-mph Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ). With a height of 305 feet and almost a mile of track, this is definitely going to be on the must-do list in 2010 for coaster crazies. We just need to get over the fact that the first drop sends riders barreling towards the earth at an 85-degree angle.
Did you make it to this year’s Daytona 500? We didn’t either, but tens of thousands of fans attended “The Great American Race” yesterday. Those in attendance saw Matt Kenseth hold onto victory over fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the weather-shortened race. The rain started to fall a little over half way into the 500-mile race, and it was called with only 48 of the 200 laps left.
For those who were less than interested in the action on the track, there was action elsewhere on race day. Keith Urban was on hand to perform before the gentlemen started their engines. Tom Cruise served as this year’s pace car driver, Gene Hackman was there just hanging out, and Gavin DeGraw started things off with the National Anthem.
If you’re still in Daytona Beach today, definitely go check out the Daytona 500 Experience—it will help get over your post race depression.
Are Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson back on? The two are reportedly headed to Fontana, CA (we're not sure where it is, either) for Labor Day weekend to try and mend things up.
Plans in Fontana include watching NASCAR races at the California Speedway, where the Sony HD 500 race is taking place on Sunday. Perhaps Chris Robinson is a closet Kelly Clarkson fan? She's headed there as well, to act as Grand Marshall of the race. Guess we'll have to see if the ex-lovers show.
Hudson and Robinson Back On? [SF Gate]