Cover Story: NASCAR's world class production

By Jeff Atkinson - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Calling it a grand opening might not quite capture what organizers of the NASCAR Hall of Fame have in store for Tuesday.

It's more of a party, festival, carnival, and celebration rolled into one giant event.  It's happening in Charlotte--but it's an international event.

The Queen City--front and center on the sports-world's stage.

We met up Monday with the creative genius behind the show and he's excited about what's behind the curtain.  This guy is known for thinking outside the box.

They've been working on this show almost a year.. since last August.  And the pressure is on.  You get only one chance to open a shrine to auto racing.  Top it off.. the world's going to be watching.

He moves around like a director on a movie set.  And for the next 24 hours the plaza in front of Charlotte's NASCAR Hall of Fame has all the trappings of one.

Cameras, lots of them.  Lights.  And a huge sound system.

"This is not your Daddy's ribbon cutting ceremony."  Robert Krumbine is the executive producer of the events surrounding tomorrow's opening of the Hall of Fame.

It's being called a show.. and it is.  It will be carried live on Cable TV's "Speed" and beamed worldwide.  There are events scripted down to the minute.  And things open to the public throughout the day.

"Everything's going on all day. We'll have drivers doing Q an A. We'll have bands performing."

Krumbine has had a front row seat to every major festival.. ground breaking and venue opening Charlotte's had over the last two decades.

Opening the Charlotte Coliseum on Tyvola Road in February 1988.  Bank of America Stadium in '96.  And producing the "Street of Champions" an event hosted during the Final Four in '94.

Krumbine and company turned downtown.. basically an office park.. into a fake city full of nightlife and fun.

"People came back weeks later thinking.. okay. I'm going to go to that same restaurant. It wasn't there."

For this event Monday Krumbine's creative juices are again being taxed to the max.

Not just for the 1,600 in the audience.. and those watching from the street.  But around the globe.

"It's the response from the media and the world coming in looking in. I want to make sure everything goes perfect. That's just so important."

When told to expect some surprises.. maybe an inductee showing up.. this is all we could get out of him.

"You just have to wait and see now.  You can't do that to me. We want people to come out here and be surprised. Cause that's what makes it unexpected and memorable."

And it's sure to be that.  Four years since Charlotte landed the winning bid, more than $215 million later.. it's almost show time.

"I get to help the region celebrating in our living room: Center City. There's no one who could have a better job than that."

Opening ceremonies begin Tuesday morning at nine.  Hall doors open wide at 10.

And that's when the street party starts outside.. with NASCAR drivers signing autographs.. music.. vendors and food.. runs till 9 at night.. keep in mind streets will be closed in the area.

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