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The Best Foods for NASCAR Track Weekend

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Becky Greiner

A Kevin Harvick fan since 2001, Becky grew up in a NASCAR family and still finds time to catch up on the Cup Series standings in between raising two Tuxedo cats and a senior dog.
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The Best NASCAR Track Food

There are a lot of important decisions to make on race day: how much time should you devote to driving to the track and finding parking? Which one of your favorite driver or team shirts should you wear? Where’s your lucky hat? 

But there’s another critical choice to make before you get comfortable and await the green flag – how will you fuel your race experience? Whether your driver needs to gain some serious ground in the standings or you’re just there to have a good time, each track has its own unique blend of food vendors and choices to keep you full and focused.

While the options will vary from track to track, here are some of the top categories of NASCAR track food to complement your race day.

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Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Specialty Burgers

You can’t beat a good burger at a sporting event, and no matter what state you’re in, you can usually find some local flare that goes beyond your basic burger or cheeseburger. Some variations that are known to make cameos at race tracks are:

  • Guacamole burgers. A generous dollop of guac not only counts as a vegetable; it can also level up the average burger and sometimes add a little spice.
  • Mushroom burgers. Depending on where you’re at, sometimes this means a grilled portabella mushroom on top of a beef patty, and sometimes the patty is made completely out of mushrooms.
  • Sloppy Joe burgers. A staple of most American childhoods, adding Sloppy Joe mix to your burger can be a nice dose of nostalgia on race day.
  • Colossal burgers. In the mood for something bigger? Many track vendors also boast a double or, sometimes, triple patty experience for those with bigger appetites. 

Sausages/Bratwurst

Sitting amid dozens of other people in the stands during a race doesn’t often lend itself well to eating foods that require utensils. With this in mind, many NASCAR food vendors serve brats or sausages that rival the traditional hot dog.

Whether the meat is local or store-brought, a juicy brat or sausage at the track is even better with these options:

  • Peppers and other fixings. From grilled peppers and onions to coleslaw and crushed Fritos, many vendors have possibilities that satisfy whatever you’re craving.
  • Hot mustard. There are typically plenty of condiment options beyond basic ketchup and relish.
  • Hoagie roll. Because sometimes a regular hot dog bun just won’t do.

Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Tacos

This is one of NASCAR’s best foods because, although one may not necessarily associate tacos with the track, each location does it differently. Some of the most common taco varieties you can find are:

  • Street tacos. This option alone offers different varieties of beef, chicken, and pork, and if there are warm tortillas on the menu? Even better.
  • Walking tacos. Walking tacos lend all the fun and flavor of a regular taco in a more track-friendly format.
  • Frito pie. Some locations combine the walking taco and Frito pie together or interchange the two names, but this heavenly amalgamation of Frito chips, seasoned beef, cheese, and other fixings can hit the spot for a long race.

Bonus: if you’re looking for some Mexican flare but tacos aren’t it, several locations also offer burritos.

Barbecue Sandwiches

It’s an added bonus that some NASCAR tracks are in great barbecue states like Texas and North Carolina, and the presence of a hot grill at a race cannot be understated. With a range of mild, tangy, and local sauces to match, some of the great barbecue staples you can take with you at the track are:

  • Pulled pork
  • Short ribs
  • Chicken
  • Beef brisket

You can get your barbecue at many locations as a standalone meal, in a taco, in a sandwich, or any way you prefer to enjoy it. Some vendors will even put it into grilled cheese.

Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Classics

While some racegoers like to expand their flavor palettes while watching laps, others prefer to stick to the old reliables that have been at the food vendors for generations:

  • Hot dogs. A plump frank with classic ketchup, mustard, and relish are sometimes all you need to turn a good afternoon into a great one, regardless of where your driver is in the pack.
  • Chicken fingers. If you’re at the track with a particular eater or need something simple, you can always find a vendor with chicken fingers on the menu.
  • Fries. Smothered fries, loaded fries, fry cups, or fries as a side with your burger or hot dog – you can always count on at least a few on the floor after a good race.
  • Nachos. Easy, portable, filling, and shareable if you need to feed multiple people. 
  • Pretzels. Warm, soft pretzels with cheese – either as a side or as the entire meal – is not only one of the simplest foods to eat, but it’s also one of the least messy.
  • Popcorn and Peanuts. The true OGs of sporting events, these salty snacks can give you just the dose of nostalgia you need to fall back in love with Sunday afternoons at the track.

Sweet Treats

Savory experiences have their place, but when you’ve got a sweet tooth – or if you need to celebrate a victory lap – there are also NASCAR food vendors who specialize in sweets.

  • Brownie bites. A warm brownie is one of life’s great comfort foods, and that’s no exception at an event as unpredictable as a NASCAR race.
  • Churros. A newcomer to the track vendor scene, these tube-shaped pastries come in a wide variety of flavors, from cinnamon sugar to chocolate drizzle. 
  • Milkshakes. Another mainstay of American culture that offers a variety of flavors and local favorites.

Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Track Favorites

While it adds an element of anticipation to see new food options pop up at the race, there’s also something to be said for some of the reliable favorites that loyal racegoers can always find:

  • Talladega Superspeedway: “The Big One” meatball. The name is not ironic; this softball-sized meatball holds a delicious surprise – a blend of pulled pork, cheeses, and barbecue sauce.
  • Martinsville Speedway: the Martinsville hot dog. A tradition for over 50 years, this Martinsville staple has become as important to the fans as the race itself, complete with a steamed bun, a steaming red hot dog, mustard, chili, onions, and topped with vinegar-based slaw.
  • Watkins Glen Speedway: The Pierogi Burger. A newer addition to the menu at Watkins Glen, this rookie is already a hit with the fans. It features a pan-fried potato and cheese pierogi on top of a burger patty, accompanied by a secret sauce, lettuce, and grilled onions.

A day of excitement at a NASCAR race doesn’t have to be limited to what’s happening on the track. No matter what track you’re at, you can also build a food experience full of flavor, fun, and maybe a little adventure.

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Picture of Becky Greiner

Becky Greiner

A Kevin Harvick fan since 2001, Becky grew up in a NASCAR family and still finds time to catch up on the Cup Series standings in between raising two Tuxedo cats and a senior dog.
All Posts