Even as NASCAR wins friends from Atlanta to Avondale, there's no debating where the heart of racing beats strongest: Charlotte. Dale Earnhart Sr. was born in nearby Kannapolis and today, 13 of the 19 Nextel Cup race teams are based in the immediate area, including five in Mooresville. Even the ultrapopular Concord Mills Mall has a NASCAR Speedpark. Need more convincing? Read on.
Take a spin on the Dale Trail and imitate the Intimidator
Fans of the late Dale Earnhardt can trace his roots on the Dale Trail, a 19-stop driving tour that visits Earnhardt's boyhood home (right) among other places. A must stop: Junction Cafe & Grill in Kannapolis, which serves Senior's favorite sandwich, sliced tomato on white bread. Download a map at www.daletrail.com.
 Pie In The Sky Pizza
125 N. Main St. #2, Mooresville
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s favorite pizza place. Business, already popular with locals, boomed among tourists after the driver mentioned the eatery in his autobiography, Driver #8.
 Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
1675 Coddle Creek Highway, Mooresville
Nicknamed Garage Mahal by Darrell Waltrip, this megacomplex includes a museum, a souvenir shop and an executive dining room.
 North Carolina Auto Racing hall of fame
119 Knob Hill Road, Mooresville
Dedicated to all types of racing, the museum features more than 35 cars, including a replica of Curtis Turner's 1956 Purple Hog. Open all year.
 REDS Athletic Club
140 Raceway Drive, Mooresville
A favorite fitness center of the NASCAR set.
 Joe Gibbs Racing
13415 Reese Blvd. West, Huntersville
Fans can watch the crews of the 11, 18 and 20 cars at work from a platform set up above the garage. A gift shop is also available.
 Lowe's Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Parkway South, Concord
The 1 1/2-mile track, which celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2005, hosts two Nextel Cup races per year as well as the All-Star Challenge.
 Hendrick Motorsports Museum
4441 Papa Joe Blvd., Charlotte
The complex includes a 15,000-square-foot museum, a team store and 400,000 square feet of workspace on 96 acres. Admission is free.