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Nascar Season: Things To Know About Going To A Race

Updated on August 22, 2013
There's nothing like being there at the race and experiencing it firsthand.
There's nothing like being there at the race and experiencing it firsthand. | Source

There is nothing like the experience of a live Nascar race: the speed, the wrecks, the noise. Even if you aren’t too fond of watching the races on the small screen of a television, the experience of being at a live race will transform you. Even a skeptic will succumb to the excitement of a Nascar race.

Before you attend your first race, here are some things you need to know.

Tickets

When you purchase your tickets, ask about the extras. Many tracks have extra events before the race that can include letting you go by the driver’s garages, the pits and even walk on the track itself. At Daytona you can even sign the finish line. Most of these do require a separate ticket and wristband.

There is also often a pre-race concert by a relatively well-known singer. The concerts are announced early and often have special tickets for those that want to be close to the stage.

Seating

In Nascar, sitting up high is better for most fans (the opposite of some other sports). Tracks are at least a mile long. In order to be able to see the entire race, the whole time, you’ll want to be in the higher sections.

You will also need to decide where you want to be relative to the track. You can sit near a turn or near the finish line. Each place has its advantages and disadvantages. I like to sit where I can see the pits and see the whole race. There are usually seating charts online.

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Hotels/Accommodations

Races such as the ones at Daytona are really popular. You will want to book your hotel for the race early. If you can find a hotel within walking distance, that is the best idea. At many races, even if you drive and park, you can end up walking a mile or more to get to the actual racetrack.

If you have disabilities that may make walking difficult, contact the track and find out what accommodations they have available. Many have special parking if you have a disability tag on your vehicle and special seating.

Some race tracks are far from most hotels and conveniences. Many times fans plan to camp out at campgrounds near the track. For this option bring your tent or RV and supplies for the weekend.

Talladega is one of the places where fans often plan to camp and then attend the race. Most racetracks have campgrounds near the track.

Parking

If you are driving in, you will most likely have to pay an exorbitant amount for parking close. Many private businesses around a track will close for the day and rope off their parking lots.

Attendants will be at the entrance taking cash which can range from $20 to $50. If you are choosing to park this way, think about what side of the road you need to be on when you pull out after the race and park on that side. Traffic will be VERY slow after the race; it is nearly impossible to turn left (oh the irony) without driving miles out of your way.

Some places like Charlotte have relatively close parking at the track with no charge. Others offer free parking if you agree to take a bus to and from the racetrack. If you do choose the shuttle option, remember that it will likely take you awhile to get back to your car after the race. The shuttles are crowded and have a long line.

But any of the options means that patience is a virtue. You’re likely to go nowhere fast for several hours after the race.

There are many events and activities before the race where you can see the cars and meet the drivers and maybe even see an air show.
There are many events and activities before the race where you can see the cars and meet the drivers and maybe even see an air show. | Source

Food and Souvenirs

As expected, there are plenty of souvenirs and food options at the track. Many of the more popular drivers have their own large booth set up with t-shirts, hats and other trinkets celebrating that driver. The track usually has a tent or booth as well with shirts and hats commemorating the track or that particular race.

If you are planning to purchase souvenirs, think about how you will carry them around and keep them with you. You may want to bring a canvas bag or backpack to put them in. Sometimes it’s even a better option to shop early and have someone take the items back to the car. Trying to keep souvenirs clean in the stands with people stepping on them and spilling food and beverages can be quite a challenge.

Talk to Fans

One of the best ways to get the inside scoop is to talk to friends that have attended races at that particular track before. When I went to my first race I peppered several friends with questions about parking, events and food. By the time I went there, I had a pretty good idea about how to navigate the event and what tickets best fit my needs.

Remember to have fun. Going to a race is an incomparable experience. If you’re not a fan, you may very well become one after attending a race.

Have Fun Before the Race at the Fan Zone

What Other Tips Do You Have For A Great Race Day Experience?

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