NASCAR has a long and intimate history with RVing. Since the earliest days of the sport, fans have traveled in their RVs to attend races. No other sport supports and encourages RVers like NASCAR does. And no other sports fans tailgate quite like NASCAR fans do. If you are a racing fan and have never tried NASCAR RV tailgating, you need to fix that ASAP. If you are an avid RVer, have never attended a NASCAR race, and think it could be interesting, by all means, do it! It really is an experience like no other in the RV and sporting world.
Types of parking
Here are the different types of RV parking you will find at a NASCAR racetrack. All of them are good locations for tailgating.
This is where you park your RV inside or alongside the race track. If you are close to the track, you can watch the race from your camping spot. If not, you could probably see it from the roof of your RV. In either case, you are right in the heart of the action with all the most hardcore NASCAR fans. Nearly everyone will be tailgating and celebrating their love of NASCAR racing. You will need to reserve the good spots well in advance and you should expect to pay a premium price.
Space is at a premium and they will pack the RVs in pretty tight. Some tracks have full-service hookups, but most are dry camping. The bigger tracks will have extra camp services you can pay for.
Off-site reserve parking
Most tracks will also have RV parking near the track. This will typically be more like a normal RV campground. Some of the areas will be designated for “families” while others are set aside for folks that want to party late into the night. Be sure you know which is which when you make your reservations and choose the one that suits you best. Family areas will have designated quiet times, party zones won’t, but both will have folks tailgating before and after the race.
Unreserved RV parking
If you just want to drop in on the race in your RV, you can typically do that. Most will have places for RV parking in the main parking lot of the raceway. These are not camping spots with hookups, they are spaces in a parking lot that can accommodate an RV. You are basically boondocking. You really want to arrive as early as you can for these as they are limited, and parking lot traffic gets pretty intense as the race nears. Here too, you will find tailgating. Some folks here may not even have a ticket to the race, and just hang out and watch it on TV at their RV tailgate.
How to make reservations
To get the best parking spots, you want to make reservations pretty well in advance. If you can’t, then your best bet is to show up as early as possible for an unreserved spot. To check the scheduled times and locations of races, hit up the official NASCAR schedule page. Note that NASCAR has numerous divisions, and each has its own schedule. Another way to find a race is to look for your closest speedway or racetrack and see what their schedule is.
Once you know where and when you want to go, head to the racetrack website and look for camping information. They will give you all the details on what is available and how to make reservations for the various options. Of course, the last step is to make reservations for the perfect RV from Outdoorsy to take to the event! If you need help picking the right RV, check out this Outdoorsy article: Choosing an RV.
Also be sure to read the rules for the camping spots you reserve. Racetrack parking tends to have more restrictions than normal RV camping does.
For many, a NASCAR race is a weekend-long event. The hardcore tailgate fans will show up early the day before, and won’t pack out until well into the day after the race. Even if you are only planning to come for the race day and spend one night, you want to show up at the track as early as you can possibly muster. NASCAR races are huge, and the traffic to get into them can be epic. You want to get in and get set up before the bulk of the fans in cars and trucks arrive.
Prepare for the weather
Check the weather reports for race day and come prepared for it. If the weather is hot and sunny, make sure you have shade. Rent an RV that has a good awning and you should be set. Alternatively, you can bring a canopy. These are also good options if it is going to be raining. If it’s going to be especially windy, then you probably won’t be able to safely use an awning or canopy. If it’s going to be cold, be sure to bring good outerwear to stay warm. Pocket warmers and charcoal heaters are nice additions to your kit. Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses if it’s going to be sunny.
Bug spray is also a good thing to have on hand. Some tracks can have issues with mosquitoes, while others can have ticks. Some enterprising RV tailgaters like to bring a grass trimmer along to trim the grass on their site. This can do a lot to limit how many bugs you have to deal with.
And bring some duct tape. It’s handy for wind, rain, sun and just about anything else mother nature can throw at you!
Maximize your supplies
Make sure your RV is fully stocked for a NASCAR camping trip. Fill up the propane tanks, top off the gas for the generator, and fill the fresh water tanks with good drinkable water before you arrive on site. Some sites offer all these things, but not all do, and you will probably pay extra for all of them. If a site doesn’t offer shore power, bring extra batteries for everything if you can, and ideally, a generator. Unlike camping in the wilderness, the sound of a generator is not going to bother folks at a NASCAR race.
Food, drinks, and ice are your next concerns. Ice is the one folks most often don’t give sufficient consideration to. If it’s hot, you will want and need lots of ice to keep things cool. When looking for an RV to rent, look for one with a nice sized freezer that you can stuff full of ice. A high-quality cooler is another good idea to prolong the life of your ice and keep your drinks frosty. For food and drink, bring both meals and snacks. If you are going to share with guests, bring extra. If you want to join in on other folks tailgate, bring food and drink offerings to offer in exchange for what they have cooking.
With the food and drink, you want to bring sufficient plates, cups, tableware, and napkins. Disposable is generally best for tailgating. That, in turn, means you want to make sure you have a good number of trash bags on hand. Most NASCAR sites will have trash pick-up service, but you will need good sturdy bags to put it in. If you need recipe ideas, check out this article: Best RV Tailgating Recipies.
Having fun killing time is what tailgating is all about. Make sure you bring along sufficient amusements to keep you occupied. Many tailgaters like to bring along games like Cornhole, or Ladder Ball to amuse themselves and guests. Having a big screen TV or projector can also provide you and others with some good entertainment. Music is good, just keep in mind you don’t want to make conversation hard for your neighbors.
Fun decorations and games are also a good way to attract others to come by and socialize with your crew. Meeting and getting to know other enthusiasts is one of the greatest pleasures of any gathering of sports fans. If you have any cool conversation starters related to NASCAR, bring them along and put them where folks can see. Anything that gets a conversation going is great! Little gifts for your neighbors are also a great way to make introductions and get the good times going.
So, what are you waiting for? NASCAR races are a ton of fun. The roar of the engines, the thrill of the race, and the love from the fans is like nothing else. Attending in an RV and doing a tailgate are the best ways to enjoy a race. You absolutely won’t regret it!
Get started on your NASCAR tailgate party and find the perfect RV on Outdoorsy today!