51 Reasons Why We Love Charlotte (12-23)

12. NASCAR Drivers OK, we're not exactly the East Coast Hollywood. Celebrity sightings are few and far between when it comes to our fair city. But that makes it all the more fun to spot our very own local celebs in the form of NASCAR's top drivers. Here's where you can stalk, er, spot #88, #48, or #24. 

13. Tony Stewart 

It's hard not to love a driver who wins. A lot. And when Tony Stewart makes a move on the track, it's hard not to get excited because most of the time, it means he's going to win. And we love winners in this town. But besides the checkered flags, Stewart's simply a big-time driver with a small town heart, and in a city that functions on exactly the same premise, it's easy to see why number 14 won us over. Here's a look at the top five things Stewart loves about Charlotte (14-18):

14. "Every time I take off or land out of Concord Regional, I'm always impressed by what Bruton Smith is doing with the Speedway. It's like it's his own little sandbox—something is always being built or made better. The drag strip he just finished is impressive. You can tell a lot of thought went into it. And he must have a way with contractors, too, because that place went up fast."

15. "Brickhouse Tavern in Davidson -- that's my favorite place to eat. It's in an old cotton mill. It just feels comfortable."
16. "Paul Schadt over on 96.9 The KAT is my favorite DJ. He was one of the first media people I got to know when I first came to NASCAR from Indy cars."
17. "How racing is such a part of Charlotte. It truly is an industry, as much as banking and furniture. I think that's cool. It tells me the sport has come a long way."
18. "It's not finished yet, but I'm really happy that the NASCAR Hall of Fame is in Charlotte. It made the most sense from all of the cities that were originally in the running. Stock car racing started here, so it makes sense that it will honor its history here."
19. Bikini Boaters on Lake Norman at I-77 Maybe you want to join them. Maybe you want to be them. Either way, they make the drive up to Davidson a lot more interesting all summer long.  
20. The Weather 

When the rest of the country is freezing its a$%$ off, we're happily enjoying the moderate February temps that made us fall in love with the city in the first place. And when Floridians, Texans, and the like claim they love the heat, we're secretly smiling, knowing no one in their right mind would move to Florida or Texas anyway.

Average January Temps
Charlotte: 41º F
Boston: 29º F
Detroit: 24º F
New York City: 32º F

Source: AccuWeather.com

21. Bojangles BojanglesThe ads are ridiculous and the name is strange, but native son Bojangles's chicken and biscuits make us swoon. After which, we get up, wipe our greasy hands on our pants, and ask for more. 
22. Food Lion Speed Street
What else other than NASCAR could bring together rednecks and Myers Park folks to mix and mingle in uptown Charlotte? This three-day festival, which attracts close to a half million people every May, brings top performing artists and plenty of NASCAR celebs to the QC for this classier (and, yes, way cooler) version of the Daytona 500 tailgating. 
23. Yes, We're Still a Banking Town 

We hate that Wells Fargo bought Wachovia, but we love that Citigroup did not, and we love even more that BofA bought Merrill Lynch. And we'd really love it if BofA doesn't ship any i-banking jobs to NYC. And by the way, have you seen our downtown?

Thanks, banks.

More Reasons: 1-11 | 12-23 | 24-41 | 42-51

Categories: Feature, The Buzz