Big news in the world of NASCAR on Tuesday: The NASCAR Hall of Fame officially opened its doors to the public. By all accounts, this is a first-rate collection of artifacts and memorabilia that's a must-see for NASCAR fans.
The $195 million, 150,000-square-foot Hall took more than three years to complete, and includes everything from a fully functioning hauler to handwritten notes from NASCAR's history. The Hall's first class will be inducted on May 23.
Obviously, there are plenty of cars on display, including rides from everyone from Richard Petty to Jeff Gordon. The centerpiece of the exhibit is "Glory Road," a banked oval that displays 18 cars from NASCAR's earliest days through today. Beyond that, as Dustin Long notes, there are some fascinating little bits of NASCAR ephemera, like:
• A Petty family calendar from 1955 featuring Lee Petty's notes on when he raced and how much money he made;
• A paper plate with a crayon-drawing of a race car done by a young race fan by the name of Dale Earnhardt Jr.;
• The tuxedo Tony Stewart wore to his championship celebration in 2002. (Sweet heaven, I hope it was dry-cleaned first.)
• One of Junior Johnson's moonshine stills, a contraption so complicated the museum's curators needed to bring in Johnson himself to reassemble it.
For more info on the Hall, including hours, ticket info and further details, visit the Hall's website. And send us photos from your visit!