If hearing the roar of the crowd and revving of the engines gets your motor running, you are going to love your RV experience at the WOO Sprint Thunderbowl at the Thunderbowl Raceway at Tulare County Fairgrounds in Tulare, CA. Not only can you and your family enjoy the races, but you can also enjoy camping on-site, so you don’t have to worry about driving, parking, or crowds.
Camping at Tulare County Fairgrounds, which is where the raceway is located, can be a major bonus because that is where all the fun and camaraderie takes place before and after the races. Hundreds of racers come to compete for the $10,000 top prize, and you can come and cheer for your favorite or just cheer for everyone. Founded in 1978, the World Of Outlaws Sprint is one of the most popular driving competitions in the country performing at 140 racetracks in 23 different states all year long.
You’ll enjoy the food too with Linguica sandwiches, burgers, nachos, tri-tip sandwiches, hot dogs, and even Mexican food. Top that off with an ice-cold beer or soft drink while you enjoy the races. Whether you sit in the grandstands, bleachers, or on top of your RV, you will get an awesome view of the track from anywhere in the park.
In previous years, tickets for Thunderbowl in advance ranged between $40 and $75 for a pit pass and $20 to $50 for a reserved seat without a pit pass. Parking has often been free, and camping might cost around $40 per night, including full hookups. You can save money if you buy a package that includes the whole weekend admission and camping.
Midway between Fresno and Bakersfield, the Thunderbowl Raceway is close to the center of California. The track is just 51 miles south of Fresno and 59 miles north of Bakersfield. If you are coming from anywhere in California, you can take I-5, and if you are coming from anywhere else, CA-65, CA-190, or CA-137 will all take you to CA-99, which is the road the track is located on in Central California. Remember to check for road closures via Caltrans before you begin your travels.
Being on the Tulare County Fairgrounds, the Thunderbowl Raceway has a large amount of parking available from right next to the track to further away by the campgrounds. Where you park depends on when you get to the track as it is first-come, first-served for both daily parking and camping. So, it is best to get there early, no matter which you choose.
The Bakersfield Express bus can get you all the way to the track from Downtown Bakersfield, and bus services from the north may be able to get you from Fresno to the track. If you just need a short ride from somewhere nearby in Tulare County, the Tulare Transit bus provides six different bus routes every day of the week until evening.
What is just as fun as going to the Thunderbowl? Hanging out with a bunch of race fans before and after the races. If you are still amped after the race and want to keep the fun going, the campground is the best place for that. However, the quiet hours of late evening to sunrise are important to follow so others can get some rest too. You’ll also have full hookups at the campground so you can cook and run the AC (or heat) as needed.
If you cannot get a spot at the track or would rather stay at a more calm and quiet family park, the Visalia/Sequoia National Park KOA campground is less than 20 minutes north on CA-99. With over 60 RV campsites that boast full hookups, picnic tables, and grills as well as a game room, pool, store, playgrounds, and even a dog park, this campground is like a paradise. Alternatively, there are over a dozen other campgrounds within 15 miles of the park to choose from near Thunderbowl Raceway.
Wear your walking shoes so you can enjoy maneuvering around the grounds as well as back and forth from your campsite. Although you are not allowed to use scooters, golf carts, or other personal wheeled devices, wheelchairs and strollers are welcome. The track provides a specific seating area up off the ground next to Section F that is ADA accessible.
Pack for cool but not cold weather. The Tulare area is typically in the upper 60s in March, but the temps can drop to the 40s in the evening. So, be sure to bring some long-sleeved shirts and maybe a jacket as well as t-shirts and jeans. You’ll also want to bring or wear some comfy shoes so you can walk around and enjoy the sights.
You are not allowed to bring a cooler with you into the raceway, but a small backpack or bag is okay. One unopened water bottle is allowed, but no other food or drink. If you want to eat or drink, the park has plenty of yummy food to choose from during the World Of Outlaws Sprint Thunderbowl. Pack some binoculars and a camera as well so you can see the action closeup and personal. Ear protection is always something to consider with loud engines running nearby.
Packing sunscreen is a no-brainer when you are headed to an outdoor event in sunny California. It’s also a great idea to wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes. Bug repellent is also important, especially at night when you are sitting around the campfire talking about the exciting day you had at the races.
You’ll be able to cook with ease since the campground provides full hookups with water and electric for your RV. If you would rather cook outdoors, small propane grills or camp stoves are fine, but there is no fire ring or picnic table here. Bring camp chairs and a portable table to make things more comfortable if you want to eat outdoors.
Thunderbowl Raceway has vendors that boast some of the best food on the racing circuit with burgers, fries, and even burritos. But what happens if you get hungry after the races are over and the vendors have gone home? Take a drive into town, and you’ll find more than 20 restaurants from fast food to fancy food, Chinese cuisine to Mexican grills. Whatever you are hungry for, you can probably find it in Tulare.
Food vendors abound at the track, and they are well-known for their affordable and delicious hot food and cold beer. Mexican food, sandwiches, burgers, nachos, and much more is available at Thunderbowl Raceway during the WOO Sprint races. Grab some grub and a cold frosty drink for you and the kids before heading to your seat in the stands.
You don’t have to worry about security during the WOO Sprint races because the track provides a large number of off-duty officers as well as security staff trained to help when needed. They’ll make sure you stay safe while everyone has a good time at the Thunderbowl. If you see something that concerns you, do not hesitate to call 911 if you cannot find a staff member to help.
It’s almost always sunny in this part of California, and March is one of the best times to be here. The temperatures typically range from the upper 60s to the middle 70s, and the lows can get down to a chilly 45 degrees. Maybe you should pack a couple of extra blankets to stay warm while in Tulare.
Besides safety, the staff is also trained to handle emergencies such as minor injuries and illnesses. There is a first aid station on-site with trained medical personnel who can help with basic first aid. However, if you have a greater need, Tulare has several hospitals and medical centers just six miles up CA-99.