This past weekend I attended my first NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) race. I have been a huge fan of the sport for the past 15 years so to say I was excited is a huge understatement. On November 8th, 43 drivers took the track at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. To some people NASCAR is a lame sport and some people don't even consider it a sport. They just see it as a bunch of cars driving around in circles making left turns. Well it's so much more than that, and thousands of people attend NASCAR races every year. There is tailgating, a pre-race concert, chances to get an autograph from your favorite driver, and so much more. Here are a few tips for attending a NASCAR race that I learned after attending my first one.
1) Take earplugs with you.
This is a big one. You can imagine how loud it is, but you won't really know until the race starts. I didn't wear my earplugs the entire race, because I wanted to be able to get the full effect. Depending on how much you want to hear or don't want to hear, there are different earplugs you can wear. I wore small NASCAR official earplugs that didn't block out too much of the sound to where I could still hear the cars. There is the option of renting and wearing high quality NASCAR headsets that block out a large portion of the noise. If you choose to rent a headset you can also rent a scanner so you can listen to the announcers and even some of the in-car driver radios if you choose.
2) Get there early.
If you are interested in any of the pre-race fun or want to have time to find your seat and walk around, get there early. The race I went to began at 1 o'clock, but the gates opened at 9. We arrived at 11 and walked around and enjoyed some of the pre-race fun! We got concessions, a program with information about the drivers, and were even able to see some cars a couple of drivers used to use up close. You don't want to get there too late otherwise you will be walking a long distance to the track, and struggling to find your spot before the race begins.
3) Parking further from the track is actually better than parking close.
Trust me on this one. The closer you park to the track, the more traffic you are going to be stuck in once the race is over. If you park farther from the track and closer to the road, you will be in less traffic. Yes, you will have to walk further, but it's worth it. At the race we went to, we parked farther and in return we ended up not having to sit in hours of bumper to bumper traffic.
4) Be prepared for trash talk.
There are 43 drivers who compete in each race, so there is no telling who the people sitting next to you are cheering for. It just so happened that most of the people I was sitting near did not like the driver I love, at all. They trash talked him quite a bit, but I ignored it, for the most part. Everyone there wants their favorite driver to win and that's all they really care about. You just need to block out the negative words and cheer on your driver till the end.
5) Have fun!
There are no guarantees that your favorite driver will stay out on the track for the entire race. There could be a wreck, they could get a flat, or there could be some unexpected problems with their car. My favorite driver got a flat tire on lap 9 out of 334. He was out of the race for 66 laps because there was some damage to the front of his car that took a while to fix. I knew at this point there was no way he would win the race. It's no fun when you realize your driver doesn't have a shot at winning, but you have to just enjoy the rest of the race. Maybe have a second favorite driver to cheer for or just watch the race go by and see what happens.
One thing about NASCAR, it's always unexpected. You can't predict what's going to happen next. It's not everyone's favorite sport, but I can promise you, you won't regret attending at least one race in your life. It's an adrenaline rush and an experience you will never forget.