The deafening roar of the engines, the smell of the exhaust and the sight of 43 cars gunning for the checkered flag – NASCAR overwhelms the senses for young and old alike.
Next time you’re watching a race on TV, take a look at what’s in the middle of the track: RVers just like you. It’s no secret that RVers have long flocked to race tracks to get a piece of the breakneck action. Hundreds of people choose to camp at racetracks instead of local hotels because of the tight community around race fans, and once you’ve camped there once, it won’t be your last time. It’s a family-friendly experience you won’t soon forget.
Still, there are a few secrets that RVers should know before heading out on their own NASCAR adventure.
A good rule of thumb about RV camping at NASCAR races: the more popular the race is, the more likely it’s going to sell out soon. (It could already be sold out!) RVers would be lucky to get a spot within a month of a race, so planning at least 4 months ahead is preferable.
Prices vary from racetrack to racetrack, and an infield spot at some of the more prestigious races could cost easily over $1,000, not to mention the food, water, gas and beverages you’ll need. Complicating matters further, many infield spots are reserved for motorhomes, so campers may have to look elsewhere.
Luckily, many racetracks have ample parking and camping locations nearby at lower prices that suit RV campers of all types, and they’re just as fun as being right in the action. However, you’ll need to buy tickets to get into the race if you’re not camping on the infield.
WHAT TO BRING
RVers should largely expect to bring what they’d usually bring camping: food, water and activities (along with some sunblock – there’s very little shade around racetracks).
As one would expect, camping around a racetrack is more similar to a tailgate than camping in the woods, so it’s not uncommon to strike up a conversation with a neighbor and share a hamburger and a beer. Accordingly, you might want to bring a little more food than you anticipated to be friendly to those around you.
The closer you are to the action, the more important earplugs are. If you’re camping on the infield, have a pair handy at all times, but RVers on remote campsites should be fine keeping them in their pocket for most of the day.
Above all, don’t forget your race tickets! Leaving those on the kitchen counter before leaving home can be a devastating feeling.
WHAT NOT TO BRING
While relatively few, there are a handful of things RVers can do to get on the bad side of camp authorities.
At nearly all NASCAR races, coolers and bags over 14 inches long are prohibited, as are glass containers, pets, umbrellas, strollers and weapons. Many parks have different regulations regarding beverages being brought into the racetracks, so research before you go.
BEING A NICE NEIGHBOR
RV Camping at a NASCAR race is all about being kind to others. You’ll walk around, have a drink, meet some friends and eat some great food. The last thing you’ll want to do is upset others around you.
Bring trash bags to clean up after yourself, and a few extra to clean up around your area as well. And, while NASCAR camping can be a family-friendly outing, make sure to keep the noise down after the sun sets to let the kids get some rest.
Photo courtesy Brian Cantoni