"I was kind of overwhelmed when I walked in this morning. I don't know what I expected, and I tried to stay away, because I didn't want to see it half-finished."
That's a sentiment shared by many who participated in the opening.
"I wanted to wait until today and walk in with our fans on the opening day," said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France, who with sister Lesa France Kennedy represented their father and grandfather. "I'm glad I did that. It's a lot to take in. This is a neat day for NASCAR. It really is, and I'm pretty excited to be doing my little part with it.
"The finished product is fabulous, and we're pretty proud of what they accomplished. In the end, this city really goes and figures out the motorsports industry and the assets that are here, probably better than anyone else does."
Initial estimates project the Hall's economic impact at roughly $60 million annually to the Charlotte area, and that may prove conservative, if the Hall helps to draw additional convention business to the city.
"I think this is going to drive a lot of business to Charlotte from the standpoint of convention-goers," Hendrick said. "I think everybody's going to win. I think Charlotte's going to win. I think the sport's going to win, and I think people that are new fans are going to be able to see history that they couldn't see anywhere else."