NC Racing Hall of Fame and Museum gives tour for visually-impaired

The following is from the Charlotte Observer:

Alvin Ricks slowly walks between a replica of the 1959 Oldsmobile Lee Petty drove to victory in the inaugural Daytona 500 and a 1994 Pontiac Kyle Petty piloted, feeling every inch of the race cars with her white glove-covered hands.

The Fayetteville woman’s right hand carefully examines the 1959 Oldsmobile while her left hand explores the 1994 Pontiac.

“The paint is smoother on this one,” she says, tapping the 1994 Pontiac, “than on this one (the 1959 Oldsmobile).”

Ricks, who is blind, had just discovered one of the key differences between the early stock cars housed in the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and Museum and those raced in NASCAR’s modern era.

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For adults at Camp Dogwood – a camp the North Carolina Lions operate in Sherrills Ford for the blind and visually impaired – weekly excursions to the Mooresville museum have been a new adventure. They’ve been so popular that each trip has been filled to capacity, Camp Dogwood Director Susan King said.

“Just because you lose your sight doesn’t mean you lose your interests,” King said. “If you were a race fan before you lost your sight, you’re still a race fan.”

The tour begins with each camper receiving a pair of white gloves upon his or her arrival. They are then escorted to their seats in the museum. Museum Director Abruzzesa explains the tour’s logistics and then Bob Hissom, the museum’s historian, talks about stock-car racing’s history. Once the tour begins, Hissom explains each race car to the camp’s 14 residents as they explore the car with their hands.

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