For the first time, NASCAR is hosting in Charlotte its annual party celebrating the completion of the first half of the season. Also for the first time, the party will be open to fans.
And as part of the event, Maren Morris, of country music’s biggest stars, will headline a performance at the Fillmore.
The NASCAR Silver Bullet Bash on May 18 will kick off the All-Star weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which runs May 19-20. The party typically takes place during NASCAR’s Champions Week in Las Vegas, and in the past it’s been a private, invite-only event.
“With the entire industry and thousands of fans converging on Charlotte for one of our marquee events, we thought this would be the perfect time to make a change,” said Lou Garate, NASCAR’s vice president of partnership marketing. “Charlotte is obviously an extremely important market to NASCAR.”
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NASCAR says opening the party up to the public is a way to actively engage with fans. To that end, two young drivers, Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., will be at the party, and are working to promote it via social media ahead of time.
“You put country music, beer and NASCAR together, and that’s really America,” Stenhouse said in an interview Wednesday.
NASCAR, which has struggled with falling ticket sales in recent years, has also had a handful of megastar drivers retire – including, most recently, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Leaders within the industry have stressed the importance of getting younger drivers out in front of fans to drive engagement and support.
“Our sport has had so many dominant drivers,” Stenhouse said. “With a handful of those retiring here lately, it’s important for us to go out and connect with those fans, to make sure those fans have another driver to latch onto and support our sport.”
Stenhouse, who is dating fellow driver Danica Patrick, added that he doesn’t know yet which other drivers and celebrities will make an appearance at the Silver Bullet Bash.
Morris, a Grammy-award winner known for songs like “My Church” and “80s Mercedes,” also recently won New Female Vocalist of the Year at the Country Music Awards.
Starting today, fans can visit the below locations around Charlotte for the opportunity to get passes to the 21-and-up party, which is sponsored by Coors Light, NASCAR’s official beer.
▪ Sports Page Food & Spirits: 8400 Bellhaven Blvd.
▪ Bourbon N Burgers (formerly Ed’s Tavern): 2200 Park Rd.
▪ Leo’s 49 Sports Bar: 7801 University Center Blvd.
▪ Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub: 201 E 5th St.