The Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals are a fantastic way to kick off the spring season in mid-April at the Houston Raceway Park in Houston, TX. Formerly known as Royal Purple Raceway, Houston Raceway Park boasts 500 acres of dragstrip lovers’ paradise. With over 20 VIP suites in an airconditioned three-story tower, you can see the entire track and then some. There is a seating capacity of 30,000, and the park definitely fills up fast for this event, so get your tickets early by reserving online.
Even though the park is in Texas, which is known for its heat, the drag strip here has the benefit of the cool air coming in from the bay. However, it is often warm and toasty, even in April. This park has the perfect seating around the track, so everyone has a chance to see the dragsters zip down the strip at more than 330 miles per hour.
After the races are over for the night, continue the party over at the campgrounds. By camping at the park with hundreds of other race fans, you’ll enjoy the camaraderie all weekend long and maybe make some new friends in the process. With over 200 campsites in four separate campgrounds, you are sure to find one that fits your needs. However, you better book early because these campsites go quick at this popular park.
In the past, tickets for the SpringNationals have ranged from $90 to $225 for the full event package, which includes the whole weekend of fun. For a single day ticket, prices have ranged from $25 to $90. And for the club tickets that include camping, you can expect to pay between $250 to $1,200, which is a bargain when you see how much these packages include.
You’ll have no trouble finding the Houston Raceway Park just off of I-10 from the east or west and TX-146 from the southwest or north. Although the racetrack is called Houston Raceway, it is actually 35 miles east of Houston in Baytown. And just an hour from Galveston, you may want to stop there on your way to or from the races to see the Moody Gardens, the Historic Pleasure Pier, and the Galveston Island State Park on the Gulf of Mexico.
Houston Raceway Park has plenty of parking with several lots that can hold a total of 16,000 vehicles. General parking at Houston Raceway Park has always been free in the past. However, there are other parking lots closer to the action that can be yours for a fee. Some of these spots are included in the club packages or VIP parking. There is also an ADA accessible parking lot by Wally Parks Terrace West, which is just to the west of the track.
If you need to travel to or from anywhere in the Harris County metro area, the Baytown P&R Park & Ride often takes passengers to the San Jacinto Mall, where you can catch a taxi or use a rideshare app to get the rest of the way, which is about nine miles. Of course, you can always just call a taxi or use an app without the bus, which may be faster but could cost a bit more.
You’ll get to choose from over 200 campsites at Houston Raceway Park at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals. The best views of the track, as well as proximity to the food and other amenities, would be either Wally Parks Terrace East, which has 73 sites or Wally Parks Terrace East, which has 64 sites.
The Staging Lanes Terrace, which has 36 sites, is another fantastic spot to view the strip right behind the staging lanes. Nitro Village has 37 awesome locations near Wally Parks Terrace West. All of these sites can accommodate rigs up to 60 feet long, but none have utility hookups. Your furbabies are welcome, but you must keep them on a leash or otherwise restrained at all times.
There are over a dozen RV accessible campgrounds within 15 miles of the track if you missed out on getting a spot or would rather camp in a more secluded site. The closest few are right there in Baytown and include amenities such as a beach, spa, pool, utilities, and accommodations for up to any size RV or motorhome. Just a bit further out, you will find several more campgrounds that range from primitive to plush.
If you have mobility challenges, the park staff can help you get around with a shuttle service, if needed. However, everyone else who visits the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals will need to be prepared to walk. But don’t worry, all the fun stuff is packed into a pretty small area, so you won’t have to hike too far to get from your seat to the food or restrooms.
Pack your summer clothes like shorts and tanks as well as some spring outfits like jeans and hoodies. The temps in the park are typically in the 60s and 70s but can be chilly when that breeze comes in from the bay. You’ll also want to have comfortable shoes for walking and a hat to keep the Texas sun at bay.
Some of the things you can (and should) bring with you include a camera, binoculars, sunglasses, ear protection, and your event tickets. You can carry all this in a small backpack or fanny pack. You may also want to bring cash because some vendors may not accept debit or charge cards. Do not bring any food or drink, coolers, glass, or fireworks with you to the track itself, or you will be headed back to your RV to put them away.
The Texas sun is no joke, so you definitely need sunscreen at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals no matter who you are. This is especially true for children. Insect repellent is also a good idea because the skeeters get hungry as the sun goes down in Baytown. Bring any medications you may need and a first aid kit just in case you need it.
It is a good idea to bring a barbecue grill or camp stove to cook on since the campgrounds do not offer electricity. However, you can use your generator as long as it is not after quiet hours. Be sure to pack all the utensils you need for cooking and cleaning up and pack extra water to drink and to cook with because there is no water hookup available either. If you need anything, there are several grocery and retail shops within a few miles from the track.
Whether you are getting hungry for a burger or would rather enjoy a nice meal at a swanky restaurant, you are in luck when you stay at the Houston Raceway Park. Within walking distance, you’ll find two different types of burger and café choices to the east and the west of the track. Head a little bit further to the north into Mont Belvieu, and you can find another half a dozen places from fast food to a fancy steakhouse. Just a few miles further into Baytown and you can get Asian, Mexican, or Caribbean food.
Food choices at the track are nothing to scoff at either. You and your family can enjoy a variety of different venues such as pizza, burgers, BBQ, and hotdogs. Wash it all down with an ice-cold beer or soft drink, and you can grab an ice cream or funnel cake for dessert before heading back to your seats. Two concession areas, one on each side of the track, make it easy for you no matter where you sit. Of course, there are merchandise vendors as well sharing their newest items, or you can find souvenirs and other fun items at the Trackside Team Store.
Professional security staff is provided at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park to make sure everyone stays safe while enjoying themselves. Your bags and vehicles are subject to search, and if they find anything you cannot bring inside the gates, you will have to take them back to your vehicle. Leave the weapons, drugs, and fireworks at home.
Chances of cold weather or snow are quite remote in Baytown, TX during the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals. In fact, it will typically be in the middle to high 70s for the highs and the 50s for the lows. It is not out of the question to see a pop-up storm, especially this close to the bay. Pack an umbrella and rain poncho just in case.
Fans will find three different first aid areas at the track. Two are behind the grandstands on the east side of the track by the restrooms. The other one is between the bathrooms and concessions by the ADA parking area. If you need to make a trip to the hospital or have other medical needs, both the city and county hospitals are just eight and nine miles to the west.