So the NASCAR Hall of Fame isn't bringing in as many fans as expected. Wow, am I shocked! Who would have thought that our ever-eager Uptown! boosters would miss their attendance forecast of 800,000 visitors by, oh, 400,000 or so? The answer to that question is: Pretty much everyone who isn't an Uptown! booster. But, that's for another column. We're stuck with the hall, so let's make the most of it and try to help out. Here are some ideas for displays and attractions that, if properly marketed, could draw new visitors like dogs draw ticks. If you get any new ideas for the hall, let us know.
Junior Johnson Kiddie Shrine: The rags-to-riches legend of Junior Johnson can be inspiring to children, so the museum should fashion a kid-friendly shrine to NASCAR's most famous former moonshine-runner — Junior's Bootleg Gumballs, with a unique dispenser in the shape of an authentic corn likker still!
Wrecking Simulator: For those already tired of the hall's racing simulator, this should ratchet up the rush a bit. Visual recreations of famous NASCAR wrecks will challenge any driver's skill. Avoid collisions while angling to move up in the field — it's a thrill a second! Extra charge, of course, for participating in wrecks in which a driver was killed (half-price for broken bones only).
Dem Golden Bones: Since the NASCAR Hall isn't far from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the hall will commission renowned sculptor Claes Oldenburg to create an interwoven pile of solid gold chicken bones, in the shape of a KFC bucket. It's NASCAR's own moving tribute to generations of stock car racing fans who have chomped on untold billions of pieces of fried chicken while watching their favorite sport.
Pit Stop Warfare Video Game: Speedy pit crews' responsibilities get ramped up when the shooting starts! Simulated automatic weapons' fire streaks through the pits as each crew's newest addition — Sniper Bud — tries to take out their opponents' crucial pit crew members, who are equipped with Kevlar jumpsuits and AK-47s.
Jeff Gordon Whine and Cheese Café: When you want a meal, snack, or just something cool to drink, come on in. So you think Gordon is a California-Yankee interloper? You can whine about it here. Think Gordon's a great star who is under-appreciated because he's not Southern? Tell us all about it. Think he's gay? Come on in and whine to your heart's content. The café's weekend special is always Southern-fried crow.
Infield RV Rooftop Deck Replica: The most interesting people at a race are usually in the infield. The museum pays tribute to that NASCAR subculture with a replica of a deck built over the top of an RV. Comes complete with grill, lounge chairs, couch, fridge, stereo system, flat-screen TV, the smell of ribs grilling, three cases' worth of beer empties, and, of course, a giant flag (choice of U.S., Confederate, Skull & Crossbones, or No. 3). Flag changes every hour.
Bobbing for Lugnuts: A revival of a traditional family favorite, with a NASCAR twist — be sure your dental insurance is up to date!
Sound-Like-Bill-Elliott Helium Blaster: We'd all like to be a great a driver like Bill Elliott, but few of us can. And even fewer can sound like him, no matter how high we speak, or how many Four Seasons songs we've sung along with. Until now. Step right up to what is sure to be one of the museum's most popular exhibits. Take a big whiff of pure helium, and you'll be able to screech, "Hey, I sound just like Awesome Bill!"
Free Chest X-Ray and Oral Cancer Screening: Every patron of the museum will be eligible to get a quick, painless, free chest x-ray, or oral cancer screening (extra charge for both), compliments of the museum, in honor of NASCAR's Winston Cup "Tobacco Years."
Dead Man's Curve: Stop and pay tribute to the drivers who've been killed while competing in NASCAR events. See their photos and pay homage to the likes of Fireball Roberts, Dale Earnhardt, Joe Weatherly, Jimmy Pardue, Adam Petty, Neil Bonnett, Kenny Irwin, Tony Roper, John Nemechek, J.D. McDuffie ... well, let's stop there; the list kind of goes on and on, and there's no need to upset people or anything.