Sports in North Carolina
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Despite having over eight million people, the disbursement of North Carolina's population over three major metropolitan areas precluded attracting any major professional sports league teams until recently. North Carolina remains without a Major League Baseball team despite numerous efforts to attract a team to the state (including the 2010 push to relocate the Florida Marlins to Charlotte). Much of this has to do with North Carolinians preference of college athletics.
On June 19, 2006 the Carolina Hurricanes, a National Hockey League (NHL) franchise based in Raleigh, won the Stanley Cup. The Hurricanes are the first professional sports team from North Carolina to win their sport's highest championship. Home games are played in RBC Center. The now defunct AFL team, the Carolina Cobras, played in the RBC Center from 2000 to 2002.
The National Football League is represented by the Carolina Panthers, who play home games in the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The National Basketball Association is represented by the Charlotte Bobcats; home games are played in the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte which was also home court to the defunct Women's National Basketball Association team, the Charlotte Sting.
The Carolina RailHawks are a men's professional soccer team in the USL First Division, due to compete in their first season in 2007. Home field is the SAS Stadium in Cary. North Carolina has two teams in the USL Second Division, the Charlotte Eagles (who have won multiple titles) and the Wilmington Hammerheads. The state also boasts two teams from the Premier Development League, the Carolina Dynamo playing out of Greensboro, and the Cary RailHawks U23's who groundshare with the RailHawks. Like in other sports, soccer enjoys popularity at the college level.
The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame was established in February, 1963, with the support of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, "to honor those persons who by excellence of their activities in or connected with the world of sports have brought recognition and esteem to themselves and to the State of North Carolina." The Hall of Fame inducted its first five members in December of that year.
2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan football game
On September 1, 2007 Applachian State had perhaps the biggest win in program history with a road upset of the #5 Michigan Wolverines, 34-32. With the win Appalachian became the first ever FCS (I-AA) team to defeat an AP nationally ranked FBS (I-A) team. This victory was seen by some analysts to be one of the greatest upsets in NCAA football history.
North Carolina vs. Duke
North Carolina is home to what many consider the best rivalry in American sports, North Carolina vs. Duke. Chapel Hill (UNC) and Durham (Duke) are only 8 miles apart. This rivalry reaches its climax in basketball but often spills over to other sports including football where the teams play for the Victory Bell. The soccer rivalry is also substantial due to the fact that the two teams are always near the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.
At the end of the school year the school which has beaten the other more times in all sports is awarded the Carlyle Cup.
As UNC and Duke are not the only college athletic powers in the state other big rivalries exist. Among these include the other two North Carolina-based ACC schools, NC State (Raleigh) and Wake Forest (Winston-Salem). As with UNC-Duke, the rivalry is mainly in basketball but exists in the other sports as well. N.C. State also has a traditional football rivalry with East Carolina (Greenville).
A recent source of pride for North Carolinians has been the football success of Appalachian State (Boone). The Mountaineers won the Division I FCS (I-AA) championship in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Appalachian enjoys a rivalry with fellow high country school Western Carolina (Cullowhee). This rivalry is mainly in football though it also extends to other sports.
List of Division I schools
- (*) Davidson competes in the Pioneer Football League for football, the Colonial Athletic Association for women's swimming & diving, the NORPAC conference for field hockey, and the American Lacrosse Conference for lacrosse.
North Carolina has a proud history in motorsports and claims to be the home to 80% of American racing teams, mostly from NASCAR. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is being built in uptown Charlotte. Many of the sports legends started out as moonshine runners in the North Carolina high country.
Richard Petty (Level Cross) and Dale Earnhardt (Kannapolis) were both born in North Carolina and are a great source of pride for Carolinians (both North and South) and Southerners in general. Both men won the Winston Cup a record 7-times.
Earnhardt's son, Dale Jr. (also Kannapolis) has become the face of NASCAR and is a sports hero in the Carolinas. Fellow current drivers Brian Vickers (Thomasville), and Scott Riggs (Durham) are also very popular with local fans.
Petty's father Lee (passed) and son Kyle (both Randleman) are also very popular. Kyle's son Adam (High Point) was killed when his car crashed during a practice at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Outside of the Earnhardt and Petty clans North Carolina is home to many other NASCAR legends such as Junior Johnson (Wilkes County), Richard Childress (Winston-Salem), Ned and Dale Jarrett (both Newton), Andy Petree (Hickory), and Rick Hendrick (Warrenton).
Once a major part of the NASCAR circuit North Carolina now only has one track on the schedule, Charlotte. The 167,000-seat Charlotte track is arguably the heart and soul of NASCAR. The track, actually in Concord, hosts three Sprint Cup events every season, including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (formally The Winston). Charlotte also hosts NASCAR's longest and most grueling race, the Coca-Cola 600, every May. The winner of the race earns tremendous respect among peers and fans due to the distance (the longest on the circuit) and the weather (North Carolina is known for extremely humid and hot summers). During race weeks Concord is said to balloon from its normal population of just under 56,000 to over 300,000.
Tracks that formerly hosted Cup Series events include North Wilkesboro Speedway, Rockingham Speedway, and Metrolina Speedway. North Wilkesboro and Rockingham are used for local racing, and Rockingham is one of the most important test tracks for NASCAR teams. Metrolina, however, would require serious investment to ever host any level of racing again.
|Sprint Cup Series||May 17, 2008||NASCAR Sprint Open1||Lowe's Motor Speedway|
|May 17, 2008||NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race1||Lowe's Motor Speedway|
|May 25, 2008||Coca-Cola 600||Lowe's Motor Speedway|
|October 11, 2008||Bank of America 5002||Lowe's Motor Speedway|
|Nationwide Series||May 24, 2008||Carquest Auto Parts 300||Lowe's Motor Speedway|
|October 10, 2008||Dollar General 300||Lowe's Motor Speedway|
|Craftsman Truck Series||May 16, 2008||North Carolina Education Lottery 200||Lowe's Motor Speedway|
|Hooters Pro Cup||April 28, 2007||TBA||Concord Motorsport Park|
|July 21, 2007||TBA||Southern National Raceway Park|
|August 4, 2007||TBA||Hickory Motor Speedway|
|Whelen Southern Modified Tour||April 14, 2007||TBA||Caraway Speedway|
|April 24, 2007||TBA||Caraway Speedway|
|July 6, 2007||TBA||Caraway Speedway|
|August 4, 2007||TBA||Bowman Gray Stadium|
|September 3, 2007||TBA||Ace Speedway|
|September 8, 2007||TBA||Caraway Speedway|
|September 15, 2007||TBA||Southern National Raceway Park|
|September 22, 2007||TBA||Caraway Speedway|
|October 6, 2007||TBA||Caraway Speedway|
|1Non-Points event; 2Chase for the Cup|
Notes and references
- ^ Pat Ford (2007-09-01). "Appalachian State earns role as conquering hero". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=3001214&sportCat=ncf.
- ^ Mark Schlabach (2007-09-01). "Hundreds of Mountaineers fans celebrate upset win". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=schlabach_mark&id=3001520.
- ^ Associated Press (2007-09-01). "It's great to be a Mountaineer!". CNNSI. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/football/ncaa/09/02/appalachian.state.party.ap/index.html.
- ^ Stewart Mandel (2007-09-01). "The Mother of All Upsets". CNNSI. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/si_blogs/football/ncaa/2007/09/mother-of-all-upsets.html.