So, you are heading to your first NASCAR race! Whether you are a longtime fan of the sport who finally is getting to see a race in person, or tagging along with a friend just looking for a good time, going to your first race is an exciting experience. However, what types of things should you bring to a NASCAR race?
It is important to note that policies vary track-to-track, so some items may be allowed for one track but not another. Also, some tracks have certain nuances that make certain items more important than others. However, here is a general packing list for going to your first NASCAR race.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
No matter the race track, you are going to be doing a lot of walking at a NASCAR race. You are likely able to get a tram from your parking lot to the track, but there still is a lot of walking. You will be walking through the merchandise haulers, up the stairs to your seats, and, oftentimes, all the way back to your car after the race.
Make sure you wear shoes that are comfortable to walk in, and shoes that you are okay with getting a bit dirty. Not everything at a NASCAR track is paved. Gym shoes are typically a good option.
This is a policy that does vary track-to-track, but, generally speaking, NASCAR tracks do allow you to bring smaller, soft-sided coolers into the grandstands. This can be especially convenient for two reasons.
One, instead of waiting in a concession stand line or paying an up-charge for a snack or a drink during the race, you can simply pull out your cooler and get whatever you want without missing any action. Secondly, it comes in handy during hot, midsummer races. Having a few bottles of water handy at a time can come in handy when trying to stay hydrated during a 3+ hour race when shade is hard to come by.
A Permanent Marker
A permanent marker can come in handy for two reasons. One, you never know when a driver will be signing autographs in the midway prior to or after a race. Having a permanent marker on hand to sign your new shirt, hat, or what have you can come in handy during these moments.
Secondly, if you have access to the race track or the pits during pre-race, it’s very popular for fans to sign either the start/finish line or the retaining wall. A permanent marker comes in handy in this situation as well.
Weather Gear (Especially on Road Courses/Short Tracks)
Due to NASCAR races being outdoors, the weather is always a factor. If there is a chance of rain, it is worth it to bring a poncho, umbrella, or rain coat in case you are outside in the rain for an extended period of time. However, it especially comes in handy on road courses and now short tracks where NASCAR can race in the rain.
If going to races early in the season at places like Bristol, Richmond, or Martinsville, it can get cold at times. It is important there to bring layers to add just in case it is a bit cooler than expected. This can also come in handy during night races when it can get quite cool.
Most NASCAR parking lots or camp grounds are pretty friendly to tailgating. Tailgating can be a great way to enjoy some laughs with friends, or even meet some new people before the race starts. It’s a great way to ease into race day.
Tailgating can have a list of items on its’ own, but bringing a portable grill with some charcoal and hamburger patties or hot dogs works perfectly. It’s also a great way to fill yourself up before the race and save some money on concessions.
Ear Plugs/Ear Muffs
NASCAR races are notoriously loud, and, while some people love the noise, some do not. If the noise is a concern to you, then bringing ear muffs or ear plugs are a good thing to bring. Personally, it took me until about my third or fourth race before I was able to get through it without ear protection.
If you plan to buy a radio scanner at the race track or heading up to the race, then that will likely take care of the ear protection. Plus it also allows you to listen in to the radios of NASCAR drivers. However, if you want to do that, it is a good idea to rent or buy in advance.
Going to a NASCAR race is always a fun experience, and these things will help make the experience just that much better. There truly is no better way to be introduced to the sport than through attending a race in-person.