Ever met a NASCAR Hall of Famer? Your chance is coming this weekend.
NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductees will meet with small groups before guided tours of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Saturday, as part of NASCAR Acceleration Weekend - which kicks off tonight with the official induction ceremony for the Class of 2012.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for someone to speak directly with the legends of our sport," said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "They can talk about the moonshine days with Junior Johnson, ask Bobby Allison about the famous 1979 Daytona 500, debate the 1989 Winston finish with Darrell Waltrip, discover why the name Gentleman Ned is so applicable, ask Bud Moore about D-Day, or experience that famous Richard Petty smile in person."
Each group will be limited to the first 30 people in line at the Main Stage in the Exhibit Hall at the Charlotte Convention Center. Entry is free with a NASCAR Hall of Fame and NASCAR Preview 2012 ticket. After a brief on-stage interview, the inductee will guide the group on a walk through the Convention Center to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Once the meet-and-greet concludes, the group will be given a guided tour of the 150,000-square-foot NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The meet-and-greet and tour schedule - subject to change - is:
10 a.m., Junior Johnson, Class of 2010
11 a.m., Ned Jarrett, Class of 2011
Noon, Richard Petty, Class of 2010
1 p.m. Tours will not be given at 1 p.m. due to a DuPont news conference with Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty. Guests are invited to watch the news conference live in the Great Hall inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
2 p.m., Bud Moore, Class of 2011
3 p.m., Bobby Allison, Class of 2011
4 p.m., Darrell Waltrip, Class of 2012
Acceleration Weekend is modeled after the old Winston Preview that was held in Winston-Salem through 2003. Steve Sweeney, NASCAR's director of consumer marketing, says the new attraction is designed to give fans a connection to the sport during what is traditionally a dead season.
"We wanted to kick off the year in the biggest way we could," he says. "We decided to come to the Hall of Fame induction."
All the top 15 drivers will be available for autographs on a first-come, first-serve basis for fans who show up by 7 a.m. Saturday to sign up. Cars for the season will also be on display with their new paint schemes.
Among the top events will be "An Evening of Living History" at the Hall of Fame on Saturday. Talking about their years of connection to the sport with fans will be Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Ned Jarrett, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond, Tom Higgins, Dale Inman, Glen Wood, Leonard Wood and Bud Moore.
Meet Junior Johnson
As part of NASCAR Acceleration Weekend, Junior Johnson will be connecting with NASCAR fans and their bellies this weekend.
He'll be serving sausage ham biscuits Saturday morning and giving away moonshine that night.
The 80-year-old Hall of Famer, who sells a legal moonshine concoction, will be offering a twist Saturday night on the old wine-tasting routine. He'll be talking about his connections to the moonshine business and offering shots of his "Midnight Moon."