NASCAR Hall Slowly Making Positive Impact

Charlotte, NC (February 7, 2011) – Sometimes, it’s not about the money. While the press regarding the financial situation at the NASCAR Hall of Fame has been distressing, it was good to see a couple of positive stories emerge about the new ‘Uptown’ Charlotte attraction last week.

The first had city officials crowing that the Hall’s 40,000 square feet of exhibits and its direct indoor access to the Charlotte Convention Center’s 40,000 square foot ballroom were huge assets in Charlotte’s ability to secure the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

The fact that the NASCAR Tower at the Hall also incorporates the NASCAR Media Group full blown television production studios was a big bonus to the DNC as they normally have to build temporary media facilities at its conventions (more than 11,000 media people are expected to report the 2012 DNC event). Helping attract events of global impact and interest has value, don’t you think?

A second story about the Hall didn’t get anywhere near the fanfare of the convention announcement but may have been even more important in some ways. Last Saturday, the Hall opened its doors free of charge to all area Kindergarten through High School teachers. There, educators were shown how using NASCAR in their classroom lesson plans could make teaching – and learning – easier.

Teaching concepts in science, math and social studies were presented at the event, a concept the Hall successfully conducted for the first time last November and is sure to expand in the future. We can’t think of a better way to make a contribution to the local Charlotte community than in the classroom where the current slow economy and subsequent budget cuts are taking tolls on an already stressed school system.

Clearly, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is slowly trying and succeeding in making itself a valuable part of the Charlotte and national scenes. Slow growing and less than expected attendance numbers – along with a projected loss of $1.29 million for the current fiscal year – are not the only stories about the Hall. That’s why it was nice to see some others for a change.

In the movie Amadeus, the King tells a young Wolfgang Mozart that his latest opera has “too many notes.” Too bad the King wasn’t around before Christina Aguilera sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl Sunday. Aguilera was the latest ‘artist’ to butcher the patriotic song when she wailed badly off course with a rendition of the Anthem that could only be identified with the Francis Scott Key original by title. Worse, Aguilera forgot the words at one point in her attempt to create an ill-advised American Idol ‘make it your own’ moment.
Are you kidding me? It was disgusting.

We don’t know who will be performing the Anthem at the Daytona 500 in two weeks (couldn’t find any info anywhere on the Net this morning), but here’s a suggestion – honor your country and everyone who has ever had the good fortune to be a citizen of it with solid, dignified version of the Star Spangled Banner. It’s more than just a song and deserves respect for what it stands for. It’s not a forum to make self-serving artistic statements because as we saw again Sunday with Aguilera, those kinds of things have a tendency to go horribly wrong.

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