People planning a shopping trip to Concord Mills might get a surprise Saturday – a lot of traffic.
About 100,000 fans will be headed to nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the N.C. Highway Patrol said it expects heavy congestion around Interstate 85 and Bruton Smith Boulevard from 1 p.m to around 6 p.m.
Troopers and N.C. Department of Transportation officials suggest shoppers plan their trips in the morning and consider using roads to the west of Concord Mills for their arrivals and departures. That would include Mallard Creek and Odell School roads from the southwest, or Cox Mill Road from the northwest.
Fans headed to the race can take Charlotte Area Transit System buses to the speedway. The 80X Concord Express will operate Saturday, beginning at noon and leaving every 20 minutes until 6 p.m. from the Fourth Street side of the Charlotte Transportation Center.
CATS officials said fans can park at light-rail stations, take the train to the Transportation Center, and board the bus to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tickets for the bus are $8.80 round trip and can be bought online. You can bring coolers, but no eating or drinking is permitted on buses. And the coolers must be small enough to fit on your lap.
What about the weather? The possibility of showers and thunderstorms has loomed for Saturday night, but the latest computer models indicate that while rain is a pretty good bet Saturday, it most likely will arrive a few hours before the race and then move to the south.
Still, if you’re headed to the race, chances are you’ll get rained on.
Pre-race show: A reminder that Kings Mountain’s Jimmy Wayne, Parmalee and The Bandy Perry will perform in concert at the speedway, starting about 3:15 p.m.
Driver appearances: While most of the activity is focused Saturday at the speedway, there also will be an appearance by Nationwide Series drivers at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in uptown Charlotte. Drivers Chad Boat, Joey Gase, Dakoda Armstrong, Jeremy Clements, Tanner Berryhill, Ryan Ellis, Blake Koch and Eric McClure will appear at 11 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. General admission tickets to the Hall of Fame are required to attend.