NASCAR Stars Share Their Favorite Holiday Memories; Carolina Christmas Creates More Lasting Memories at Charlotte Motor Speedway

CONCORD, N.C. (Dec. 14, 2010) - Charlotte Motor Speedway has always been known for making memories that last a lifetime, from those created by families who witness their first race together to the NASCAR drivers who cherish their first win at the legendary superspeedway.

Known mostly for racing memories however, Charlotte Motor Speedway has branched-out to create some lasting holiday memories as well with Carolina Christmas. A spectacular 2.5-mile drive-through course, the Christmas light park and village, includes a section where fans can drive on the same 24-degree banking as the NASCAR drivers listed below.

As Christmas is fast approaching the speedway is sharing some favorite holiday memories from NASCAR stars, from their favorite gifts to their philosophies on holiday shopping, collected by the Performance Racing Network:

Jimmie Johnson
"I think I was five years old at Christmas, and walked out and under the tree there was a motorcycle sitting there for me. That's what started racing for me, so that would probably be the most memorable. It really started everything. We've got some footage that's absolutely hilarious of me riding that day. My parents took me out to an area to ride and I could ride a bicycle at the time, but my dad was holding the back fender and trying to show me how to twist the throttle and ride off. I can't believe I was on a bike that young, but it's pretty funny to see it."

Denny Hamlin
"Yeah, I was one of those kids that was trying to wake up my parents and say 'Alright it's Christmas now', 'No, no, no, go back to bed.' So, I definitely was antsy at times, but now they're the ones that have to wake me up on Christmas morning. I say, 'Alright' and I just kinda walk there with my cap on and I'm like, 'Alright, let's get this over with, I want to get to the food.'"

Kevin Harvick
"You know my sister and I, we'd wake up, 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning, go wake our parents up and go in and we'd open up all our presents and see what Santa Claus left. You know it was always a big event at our house and something that we always looked forward to."

Carl Edwards
"Christmas for us at the Edwards house was always a lot of fun. I wouldn't say my dad was a scrooge, but he kind of down played it. He and my mom really played off one another real well. My mom was super into Christmas. We would wake up on Christmas morning, and I woke up at 6 a.m. every morning when I was a kid anyways, I'd jump out of bed and go wake him up and my dad would take forever to get up. They'd be like, 'nah, we'll just wait a little bit, get some coffee, go take a shower,' and I'm like, 'Come on dad! Come on! Let's go open some presents!' So, it was always good, really neat. It was always a time where we could get together with the family and the neighbors and everybody would have a good time and every once in a while there'd be some snow. To me the biggest thing about Christmas when you're a kid is getting that bicycle or something you really want, you know what I mean? You don't think of it as a time to get together with everyone, but now it's just about family and friends."

Kyle Busch
"When I was a kid I always loved RC cars and stuff like that, and I had never gotten a new one before. I always got Kurt's 'hand-me-downs' and he'd always go out and buy himself new ones, so I finally got my dad talked into buying me a brand new RC car. I built it and did all the things that I needed to do to it and it was fun."

Jeff Gordon
"I remember getting a really cool bike one year for Christmas. You know a bike was a big thing. It's like you learn how to ride a bike on a piece of junk and then you get better at it and you hope for that really cool shiny bike. I remember my first bike and my first helmet. My first helmet, I think I was five or six. Well, when I got the cool bike, I was probably nine. Oh man, it was a BMX bike, but it was a name brand, like some kind of cool aluminum wheels, I mean it was awesome."

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
[Best gift] "This little machine that threw a football, from my grandma when I was about seven years old. It was like a rubber band and it would sling-shot this football at you. It'd throw it a good 15, 20, 30 yards. You could run patterns and set a timer on it and it was real cool. It sat outside and the rubber band eventually rotted and broke and I could never repair it, but it was probably the coolest thing that I ever had."

Tony Stewart
"I'm one of those shoppers that I'll go to one store and if I can buy for eight people and buy similar gifts, I'll do that to shorten it up. I always go about two or three days ahead of time and try to do it in one load. I don't make it a sporting event like most people do."

Marcus Ambrose
"I've got to stay away from that eggnog because that stuff has some calories in it and I could just drink it by the gallon. I've got a self ban on eggnog because I just drink too much of it! I'll drink it anytime, it doesn't need to be Christmas. If there's eggnog out, I'll drink it."

Open nightly, operating hours for Carolina Christmas are 6 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 2, 2011, rain or shine. Tickets are available online at www.visitcarolinachristmas.com or at the gate nightly during event hours for drive-up traffic. Admission is just $20 per passenger vehicle, with group and motorcoach packages available.

Coupons for a $4 discount off admission can be found on select packages of Coca-Cola products at your Charlotte area grocer or get a $3 off coupon on receipts with select purchases at area Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse stores. A $2 off coupon is available in the Concord Mills Mall coupon book.

Families may also take advantage of The Speedway Club's holiday dinners and Carolina Christmas packages, which include a speedway-provided ride through the Carolina Christmas display. Individual meals start at just $20 per adult, and family-style meals are also available. For more information, call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

-source: cms