Fans have come to expect plenty of speed, danger and fun on the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but on Oct. 13 they’ll be looking up – way up – for an aerial show that’s sure to delight during the Bank of America pre-race show presented by Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
World famous tightrope walker Nik Wallenda, who made headlines earlier this year when he traversed a 1,500-foot span across Niagara Falls on live television, will bring his high-wire thrill show to Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In 1977, Charlotte Motor Speedway became the first race track to host elaborate pre-race shows. Through the years, fans have enjoyed a reenactment of the Battle of Grenada; a three-ring circus; numerous world-record automobile stunts; a 5,000-member marching band; and an assemblage of 5,000 firefighters honoring the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.
“We always strive to give fans an unforgettable race day experience,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “This year, Nik wowed us all at Niagara Falls, and now fans can see him in action at the greatest place to see the race. Whether it’s on the track or in the air, the Bank of America 500 will be a combination of entertainment and thrills that only Charlotte Motor Speedway can deliver.”
No previous show has risen to the heights that will be achieved during this year’s Bank of America 500, when Wallenda, a six-time Guinness World Record holder for various acrobatic achievements, takes to the high wire. Wallenda will descend from above the frontstretch grandstands over a span of more than 750 feet to a crane set up behind Victory Circle, all while balancing on a tiny 5/8-inch cord. At times the cord will hang more than 100 feet – 10 stories – above the ground, and his total walk will equal the length of two-and-a-half football fields.
This year’s performance marks the 26th anniversary of The Flying Wallendas’ high-wire act at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1986, when Nik’s predecessors walked from the grandstands down to pit road as part of a circus-themed prerace show.
“I’m honored to continue the great Wallenda family tradition performing at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” Wallenda said. “The speedway has always set the bar for pre-race entertainment and excitement, and I’m looking forward to raising that bar to new heights this year.”
Wallenda said he is excited about the opportunity to showcase his talents at one of the world’s premier entertainment venues and to add his name to the growing list of world-renowned performers who have thrilled audiences during pre-race events here over the past 35 years.
“NASCAR drivers are used to driving on the edge, and in my job, it’s really no different,” he said. “It takes an extreme level of focus and commitment to your craft to be successful, and there’s really nothing quite like the thrill of being out there and performing.”