Have a treat from NASCAR

Faithful NASCAR fans can enjoy a free treat from the sanctioning body on Feb. 1. For the first time since its 2010 opening, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will offer fans unlimited access to the attraction. Fans will be admitted into the Hall for free as part of NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day, a full day of special activities that includes autograph and Q&A sessions with current drivers and NASCAR Hall of Famers.

Drivers scheduled to be at the event include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle headlining a group of more than 20 national series drivers in Uptown Charlotte, N.C. Several NASCAR Hall of Famers – including Class of 2014 inductees Jack Ingram, Dale Jarrett and Maurice Petty – also will be on hand. Fans will have free access to the Hall on a first-come, first-served basis in lieu of needing a ticket. However, fans need to secure free tickets for the driver autograph sessions in advance at nascarhall.com, where they can also find schedules and details about special events.

Several new exhibits will be on display, including a newly-designed Glory Road; rewrapped Gen-6 racing simulators; a Champions exhibit honoring Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon and Matt Crafton; and a Memorable Moments exhibit highlighting NASCAR milestones. In addition, fans will be among the first to see the new Hall of Honor exhibit featuring artifacts from the Class of 2014, which will open Thursday, Jan. 30.

Immediately following Fan Appreciation festivities, the Hall of Fame will close for a special Junior Johnson Midnight Moon Sign & Shine.

The event will feature a private Q&A and autograph session with Junior Johnson and other NASCAR Hall of Famers, and a free tasting at the Midnight Moon moonshine bar.

Fans purchasing NASCAR Hall of Fame memberships during the Fan Appreciation Day will have access to the event.

* F1 OWNERSHIP: NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas has applied to own a Formula One team.

Haas is co-owner with Tony Stewart of Stewart-Haas Racing. He confirmed Thursday that Haas Racing Development “has responded to the FIA’s ‘call for expression of interest’ regarding a Formula One entry.”

Formula One’s governing body said in December it would accept applications through Jan. 3 for new teams that would begin in either the 2015 or 2016 season.

Haas has submitted an administrative fee of $5,000 and an application for membership. Haas’ plans are to design a car in-house but to have it initially designed by Dallara. Ferrari would be the engine partner. Former Red Bull team manager Guenther Steiner would oversee the team. Haas owns CNC machine manufacturer Haas Automation and the Windshear wind tunnel in North Carolina.

Haas said in a statement about his F1 interest: “We respect the FIA’s evaluation process and will share more details in the coming weeks.”

Contact Eddie Thomas at ethomas@newsandsentinel.com