If you happen to be blessed and attending Knoxville Raceway for the 360 Nations, 410 Nationals or any of the track’s weekly Sprint Car meetings, a visit to the National Sprint car Hall of Fame and Museum (NSCHoF&M) is an absolute “must see”.
Even if you have been before I recommend you go again as the displays are dynamic and change over time.
The four storey NSCHoF&M complex is located on turn 2 of the famed Knoxville Raceway. Executive Director Bob Baker , Museum Curator Tom Schmeh and the dozens of Team Members are responsible for this unique non-profit facility – undoubtedly the best of its type in the entire World. It’s all about showcasing history as well as the present and maintaining the Dream of Sprint Car Racing. The facility is run completely separate to the Knoxville Raceway and entry is only $4 for Adults. You can sign up as an annual member for $25 if you live in The States, or $40 for an International Membership. This allows you free entry at any time, discounts to the Merchandise Shop and other benefits including information mail-outs etc.
The lower level comprises a comprehensive museum of race cars, exhibits and artefacts, as well as a neat Merchandising Shop. The second level combines conference/presentation areas, VIP viewing, a motorsport movie theatre and of course the massive photographic display of all Hall of Fame Inductees. Levels 3 and 4 house impressive Corporate Suits that include outside balconies and seating.
Don’t expect to take everything in in an hour. There is so much to see and take in, my advice is to allow several hours, perhaps even a couple of morning or afternoon sessions before racing starts.
Last year’s feature attraction was the inaugural “Salute to Champion – Tony Stewart” – a magnificent display of six of Tony Stewart’s championship winning race cars – ranging from an open wheel Midget , to Sprint Car, USAC cars, IRL car, IROC stock car and NASCAR.
In keeping with this new tradition, the “Salute to Champion” is featured again. This year’s display features Jeff Gordon and six of his Championship winning racecars. It’s an awesome collection and a credit to the NSCHoF&M and all those involved in getting it together and setting it up. The cars are stunning and look like they are about to be pushed onto the track for their very first race. The Jeff Gordon Exhibit was unveiled only a few days ago (27th July) and will run right through until the end of December.
Torque Tube would like to thank Knoville regular photographer Dave Hill for the above images. Dave has some awesome car shots on his site and all can be ordered electronically. Visit : www.davehillsracingimages.com
“Little Joe” Saldana’s 1970’s Knoxville Nationals winning racecar has been painstakingly restored and will be on display for the very first time – it’s interesting to compare the design, geometries and key differences to a current Sprint Car 42 years on. The Team at the NSCHoF&M would like to offer a special thanks to John Layne and Mark Randol for their fabulous efforts in making this exhibit available during the Nationals.
Greeting visitors at the front will be a Brand New 2012 Don Ott 410 powered Eagle Sprint Car. The car is up for grabs in a raffle and could be yours for just $20 ! – make sure you buy at least one ticket. If you like, a special deal sees 6 tickets for just $100. How awesome would that be to win !
During the off season, the NSCHoF&M turned 20 years old. Bob Baker and the Team arranged an external freshening of the building that included a full power-wash, surface repairs and new paint job. Today she sits on Turn 2 as “Proud as Punch” and looking like the day she was unveiled back in 1992. Good work Guys and Girls !
The NSCHoF&M also have a program known as “Expand the Dream”. This is an ambitious three year fund raising campaign to accrue $US3.3 Million to provide a brand new staging and storage facility, as well as short term growth in the organization’s endowment funds.
The staging aspect involves a separate climate controlled building for preparing displays before they are rolled out into the museum proper. The “Expand the Dream” initiative is being championed by Donald F Lamberti, founder of Casey’s General Stores Inc. Donald brings to the table a wealth of business knowledge and has played pivotal roles in the facilities previous two fundraising efforts. Volunteers supporting Donald in this wonderful initiative include Parnelli Jones, Ken Schrader and current Casey’s General Stores CEO Bob Myers – a fantastic blend of business experience and racing know how. And then of course the staff at the NSCHoF&M will play a crucial support role as well. More than $540,000 has been given or committed to date. If you can help out with a donation, please contact Doug Lockin – Gift Planning Consultant at the NSCHoF&M – phone: 1-1800-874-4488.
For further information on “Expand the Dream”, use the Torque Tube Search function (RHS Top) and type in “Expand The Dream”. Similarly there is more information (older posts) on Torque Tube regarding the NSCHoF&M – simply use the search function and type “Hall of Fame”.
For more info on what is happening at the NSCHoF&M over the two Nationals Weekends, visit http://sprintcarhof.com/Pages/Home There are special presentations with Drivers, Autograph sessions in the Bob Trostle Garage, Fan Fair sessions, Forums, theatre presentations and a whole lot more ! Look for the schedule of events section under the “Special Events” tab.
Anyway, see you at the Racetrack and see you at the National Sprint car Hall of Fame and Museum – you won’t regret it !
Blue Skies and Green Lights !