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NASCAR Hall of Fame?s Winston Kelley marks the venue's first anniversary

Charlotte's NASCAR Hall of Fame yesterday greeted its first birthday  with a mixed bag of optimism and disappointment. "We have had challenges in this economy, the same challenges that many start-up businesses have,? NASCAR Hall?s Winston Kelley recently told uptown booster group Charlotte Center City Partners. Chief among them is a failure to meet attendance expectations. The city-owned hall was originally projected to draw 800,000 annually but so far has attracted about 270,000. It also lost about $1.2M in its first year of operation. Still, NASCAR Hall backers are looking on the bright side. To date, 72 meetings or conventions from outside Charlotte have booked the NASCAR Hall of Fame or adjoining Crown Ballroom through 2014. And visitor spending to date has topped $224M, or about $30M more than the hall cost to build. (It also beat all other North American sports halls of fame in attendance in the past year except the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which drew 281,000.)