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NASCAR Hall of Fame among sites hit by vandals in Charlotte’s overnight violent protests

JOHN D. SIMMONS - jsimmons@charl

The NASCAR Hall of Fame was among the sites hit by vandals, when peaceful protests turned into violent late Wednesday in Charlotte.

On Thursday morning, a street sign hung like a spear from the front window of the hall’s news center, after vandals tried prying out one of the front windows. Windows in the lobby of the adjacent NASCAR Tower were busted out, as were windows at nearby restaurants and two hotels.

The looters apparently failed to get into the Hall of Fame and its exhibits, though there are reports of confrontations with a half a dozen looters inside the Buffalo Wild Wing restaurant at one corner of the hall building. One media outlet reported protesters “stormed” the restaurant and then used bottles taken off the tables to smash windows. Furniture inside the restaurant appeared scattered across the floor before dawn Thursday.

It was the same at a nearby Hampton Inn, where plush lobby chairs were piled like a barricade against smashed out doors.

An official with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority said they were working early Thursday to assess damage to the NASCAR Hall of Fame building and adjacent convention center, and would release a statement soon.

A lot of damage occurred in uptown Charlotte overnight along West Trade Street including the EpiCenter and Hornets team store.

A few dozen sites in the city appear to have been hit by vandals in the night. Most of the damage in Charlotte was at the EpiCentre entertainment complex in the heart of the city’s uptown, where businesses saw their facade’s smashed and merchandise looted.

A strong police presence remained at the EpiCentre Thursday morning, and city cleanup crews were clearing the roads, including prying rocks from the trolley lines on East Trade Street.

All major roads into and out of the city appeared to have reopened, including Interstate 277 surrounding uptown.