Many hardcore NASCAR fans are loyal to the sport as much as they are to friends and family. By tuning in to major events, reading up on the latest news and actually going to races, they’re exemplifying undying support for stock car auto racing.
While many other sports fans can relate to this notion, no other sport is comparable to NASCAR. The biggest difference that makes it stand out from other sports is watching it in person.
People who have no attachment to the sport see NASCAR on TV and suddenly become bored. They’re not on the channel for more than a minute or two. If they had experienced the sport in person though, it’d be a different story.
It’s not just a sport like any other, but an unparalleled experience. Part of what makes it so are all that the crowd of fans has to follow if they want to get the most out of a day at the races.
Even those who know nothing about NASCAR can see the way crowds act when they’re at these events like they’re losing their minds and having a blast. We’re going to look at all the rules NASCAR crowds have to follow that look weird to everyone else (because they are) and yet are essential to enjoying the sport to its fullest.
18 Bring An Extra Pair Of Shoes
It wouldn’t cross the mind of a basketball fan to bring an extra pair of shoes with them to see LeBron play in the NBA; nor would it cross the mind of a Real Madrid C.F. fan. It might make sense for a golf fan, but with NASCAR, it’s an odd rule. With so many extra events in the lead up to the race, along with what follows afterward, there’s a lot of ground to cover for hours.
That means fans should bring an extra pair of comfortable shoes, as Nationwide suggests, if they want to enjoy NASCAR without sore feet.
17 Rent And Listen To A Race Scanner
One of many unique aspects to watching NASCAR in person that separates it from most sporting events is that the action takes place far away. With the race track being so large, the crowds are often removed enough from what’s going on that it can feel alienating. That’s why venues came up with race scanners. These are rentable devices that allow viewers to add commentary to the race while they watch it in person.
They can even tune in to the crew chief on the track below. It may seem weird to outsiders, but these race scanners are essential to NASCAR crowds.
16 Stay For The After Party
Things can get crazy at a NASCAR event. The fun is always happening, whether it’s leading up to a race or even afterwards. Take the events surrounding a 2018 Cup Series taking place at the Talladega Superspeedway, for example.
According to For The Win, there was a whole boulevard blocked off for a series of competitive games. One section involved a pool full of noodles that competitors had to climb through, while another part had them cleaning a window covered in mustard and chocolate. People can compete or simply sit by and watch if they want, but either way, crowds can’t miss out.
15 Wear Ear Plugs
Sports arenas and stadiums are notoriously loud places. There was even concern about the decibel levels at Oracle where the Golden State Warriors play, which one expert audiologist—according to ABC 7 News—equated to jet engines. When people go to sporting events, they expect the noise to push their ears to the limit. NASCAR is a whole other level though.
So much so, in fact, Nationwide recommends packing ear plugs to deaden all the roars of the engines. It sounds weird to bring ear plugs to a major event, especially one where people want to soak up every element; but it's weirder not to take measures that will protect one's hearing.
14 Take Breaks
Where do NASCAR crowds find all their energy? Races typically last around three hours. That means it’s three hours of non-stop cheering, screaming, and active participation. Sitting down and passively watching NASCAR live isn’t an option for crowds, so they have to find a way to sustain their high-energy activity.
According to The Odyssey Online, it’s critical for crowds to take breaks every 30 minutes to stretch. Otherwise, if they sit the whole time, they’ll start to get uncomfortable. It also helps to grab some food and a drink while they’re up and about stretching their legs. It’s odd, but NASCAR crowds have to do some exercising if they want to last the whole day.
13 Dress Up In Costume
We hope NASCAR fans have enough Halloween costumes lying around, or in the least a swap meet close by. It’s not uncommon for NASCAR to host costume days, as per Bleacher Report. Showing up to the race without a costume would be like going to work without the proper attire. The only rule is that there are no rules on what one can wear, although of course it can’t be too improper.
Some costumes certainly do verge on this side though, and that only supports how crazy these fans are about their sport. If fans attend these days, they better dress up.
12 If It Rains, Jump In Mud Puddles
NASCAR fans don’t accept a rainy day as anything negative. They’re too dedicated to let anything as minor as a few raindrops spoil their fun. That’s why they turn something negative into a positive whenever the weather isn’t ideal. NASCAR recognizes this and posted a photo on their Twitter account in February 2014, with kids playing in the mud outside a race track.
The caption for the photo reads, “A little rain never stopped #NASCAR fans from having fun.” If it does rain, it’s no sweat for NASCAR crowds. They’ll just turn the dirt into mud slip N slides. If crowds don’t do it, then they aren’t real fans.
11 Put On Sunscreen—But Also Bring A Jacket
It may seem strange, but NASCAR crowds have to come prepared for any and all types of weather. For example, Nationwide recommends bringing sunscreen and a hat. These come in handy on clear days when the sun beats down on bleachers for hours. On the other hand, there’s always the possibility of rain. Many NASCAR venues are in regions where the weather is manic.
With that being the case, the same source suggests taking a jacket just in case those rainclouds rear their ugly heads.
10 Make Sure To Always Have A Beverage
Whether it’s water, Coca-Cola or a beer, it’s important for NASCAR crowds to always have a drink in hand. Staying hydrated is key for those long hours in the sun, so water should always be close by. Water doesn’t always go with the fun atmosphere though, and that’s where the other drink options come in.
Plus, with Coca-Cola upping their deal with NASCAR in January 2018, it looks like that soda brand will continue to be part of crowd festivities for years to come. Some can go to sports games without buying anything from concessions, while NASCAR crowds practically require some sort of beverage at all times.
9 Meet And Talk With Drivers
The drivers are the heart of NASCAR. They’re the ones willing to put their lives on the line in pursuit of glory. It also benefits crowds of people who want to witness their daring feats. As if that wasn’t enough, many of the drivers are generous enough to walk among and converse with crowds. It sounds weird that the stars of the sport would actually hang out with crowds, but that’s what makes the sport different.
Most aren’t too prideful or weary to do so. The least crowds can do is show their respect and admiration for these racing heroes. If crowds want the sport to continue, they ought to follow the simple rule of swarming these drivers to show their appreciation.
8 Show Patriotism
NASCAR is a US sport and the fans are quick to remind the world of this. Knowing they’ll be on cameras or around other fellow NASCAR fans on race day, it’s important they show pride for their country. It can be as simple as sporting the red, white and blue, or something more extreme.
For example, as per Bleacher Report, someone attended a race with a US flag beard. All it takes is three colors of face paint and the time to apply it. If fans don’t show an appreciation for their country, they might want to reconsider going to a NASCAR event at all.
7 Rent An RV And Tailgate
Real fans don’t drive to NASCAR races and drive home that night; they camp out near the tracks long before the race starts and leave long after it ends. According to Ron Clark, a NASCAR fan USA Today sat down with, these races are excuses to go camping.
“Every one of our vacations revolves around racing.” The same source notes that he and his family go to eight or more races a year. This is a unique sport for this reason alone. Many don’t love other sports enough to take an RV and camp out by the race track, thinking it too much, when that’s exactly what NASCAR crowds do.
6 Coax Friends And Family Into Going
NASCAR has fallen on hard times in recent years. It would seem that the sport has transitioned into an era that separates the diehards from the burnouts. According to Forbes, attendance has seen a steady decline over the last ten years. Part of the appeal still remains for those who find a way to show up. Those who do aren’t ones to go it alone though—they’re usually bringing family and friends, even if it’s against their wills.
Whether NASCAR is struggling or not, crowds want to keep the sport alive, and the best way to do it is by wrangling those they know to come along to the race track.
5 Go To Bed Early The Night Before
When going to a NASCAR event, get ready to be in it for the long haul. Not only do these events start late but can go late too. According to Forbes, it’s not uncommon for a race to start after 3 p.m. in the afternoon. With races usually lasting about three hours, it’s well past dinner time by the time it ends. Then people still have to go home or back to their RV parked outside or at a nearby hotel, depending on their plans.
It might sound peculiar, but NASCAR crowds have to get a good night’s rest leading up to the big day if they want to stay awake for it from beginning to end.
4 On The Day Of The Race, Don’t Make Other Plans
When one goes to a NASCAR event, they should think about only one simple thing: getting there. That’s all they have to worry about. Once they’re there, they can unwind and soak up everything around them. From the driver introductions to renting a race scanner to buying food, the whole event is a rich experience.
With so much to do, one has to clear the calendar for such a jam-packed day. It may sound strange, but fans will be richer for leaving the day wide open. Otherwise, if they make plans for the day, they’ll miss out on all a NASCAR race has to offer.
3 Pick A Driver To Root For
We’ve already alluded to the loyalty fans have for their sport. A large part of that fever is for the drivers themselves. It’s certainly a sport that centers around its stars, and each fan has their own driver they root for. To be in a NASCAR crowd, one has to pick a driver they’re all in on.
While many go to sporting events just to see two teams go head to head, they can do so without choosing sides or even making a peep. NASCAR is different. It not only demands crowds make lots of noise but forces them to pick a driver.
2 Look Out For Flying Jets Overhead
Look to the sky at a NASCAR event, and one will likely spot jets flying overhead. If crowds aren’t paying attention, they’ll miss one of the coolest highlights of the day when these jets shoot by. They go so quick, fans could miss them in a second. Crowds have to always be alert, or they might miss all the action while watching NASCAR.
It requires concentration over long hours and patience. The jets will be loud when they fly over, so it’s hard to miss them. If someone fails to notice though, they’ll not only miss out but possibly even offend others they’re sitting around.
1 Get There Early
Those who watch NASCAR tend to have a different lifestyle, one that’s more laissez-faire. They don’t mind if they have to drive 100 miles to go to the race—or 1000 for that matter. It doesn’t matter if they have to take a few days off work even. Many go to the races early, as odd as it sounds, which one can interpret two ways—and it means both.
First, it means getting up at the crack of dawn and getting out to the track to catch all the events and make a day out of it. Secondly, it can also mean driving out a few days early—as one fan does, according to USA Today, just to explore the countryside.
Sources: Forbes, USA Today, ABC 7 News, Nationwide, The Odyssey Online, For The Win, Bleacher Report, Twitter