Where to sit at a Nascar race
July 19, 2012 2:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to my first Nascar race in October. The Bank of America 500 in Charlotte. What are the general principals involved in picking somewhere to sit? High/low/corner/straight. My instinct says somewhere high so we can see as much action as possible. Also, any specific recommendations for this track?
posted by Keith Talent to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just watch out for flying debris.
posted by nostrada at 3:25 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Daytona Beach resident here. Middle of the grandstand. Certainly not too close to the bottom. If you're too close, you feel like you're right on top it's nerve wracking. Too much rumble and the roar and it's not enjoyable, in my opinion. Personally I cannot stand the noise wherever I am at the track. It gets old quickly. I am not a proper race fan though. Have fun.
posted by Fairchild at 4:25 PM on July 19, 2012

Bring earplugs. My mother and aunt are huge NASCAR fans and they can only stand the noise by using headset scanners to listen to their drivers.
posted by xyzzy at 4:39 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

CMS season ticket holder here. The best seats are on the start/finish line, at least 20 rows up. I sit in Turn 2 with the wild people (I belong there). Rent or borrow a scanner so you can hear your driver(s) or the announcers clearly; otherwise, pack earplugs.

Charlotte allows small coolers and a bag. Take a cooler with a sixer (beer is too expensive and watered-down to buy) and put snacks in your bag. Like any sporting event, you have fair food and burgers/dogs/popcorn/etc, but it is not cheap. Your bag should be comfortable and clear, if possible; easier to get through security. Security will want to check your bag and cooler - NO GLASS. Also, pack a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, because night races get cool. You'll also want to have sunglasses for before and the early part of the race. Shorts/jeans, tees/hoodies are the uniform of the day. COMFORTABLE shoes; you will walk. A lot.

Pack some cash and your ID; unless you want to buy driver/team swag, there is no reason to carry a wallet. Also, lots of freebies in the trailers outside the track; put them in your bag.

CMS caters to its fans. If you have any questions about anything, memail me. Otherwise, I'll be the tattooed short girl in the Carl Edwards shirt drinking bourbon and Sun Drop in turn 2. Also, I stay in Rock City.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 4:40 PM on July 19, 2012 [8 favorites]

Seconding earplugs. Also, bring something to read- there is a lot of dead time during a race.
posted by wittgenstein at 4:42 PM on July 19, 2012

I agree with sara is disenchanted --start finish line. But there's no bad seat at Charlotte, because its an oval track.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:20 PM on July 19, 2012

sara is disenchanted has great advice.

I like Turn 2 also. There are a few rows where there are only 3 or 4 seats in between aisles - those are so helpful for getting up and walking around, bathroom breaks, etc., without having to crawl over people. The speedway website has a pretty detailed map you can use.

The first time I went to a race I had the chance to go on a tour of the pits and garage area, which was really helpful to get a sense of the behind-the-scenes. There is an additional charge for that, but if you're curious about the science or culture of racing it's worth it. Also check out the merchandise area set up catty-corner to the track for some really interesting people-watching.

Earplugs, earplugs, earplugs. I went without for a couple of races and unfortunately have developed tinnitus as a result. No fun.

Parking: Park on the "opposite" side of the road you drive in on... i.e. if you're coming up Hwy 29 from the south, park on the north side so you can make a right turn to leave. Don't park in the lots on Morehead Road if you can avoid it - it once took us almost two hours just to get out of the parking lot because they're all emptying out onto a two-lane road. There's an office building on Hwy 29 about 1/2 mile away from the track, on the southbound side, that charges $20 but is super easy to get out of (if you're going towards Charlotte) after the race. If you're not enthralled by the racing, leave when there's 50 laps to go to be the after-race rush.

Do we need a MeFi IRL at the race?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:16 PM on July 19, 2012

Also, sunscreen! It's a long day and you're out in the open for most of it.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:16 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Forget the earplugs: rent a scanner for sure. These are radios that let you listen into the communication between the crew chiefs and the drivers and can be very entertaining since drivers can express their frustrations on them. It gives you a lot of insights into the personalities involved. You won't need the earplugs because the headphones will completely cover your ears and you'll need your hearing for the scanner.

You do want to sit high enough that you can see the opposite side of the track: if you're down too low, it can be hard to see across the infield. I'd say lower-middle is great, but then again I like to be close to the action.

I'll second the sunscreen. Pace yourself if you're drinking alcohol, and certainly drink some water either way. It is a long day for sure. Also, expect Mega Traffic, coming and especially going. Seating capacity is 140,000. Think about a stadium that seats 40,000 and what it's like parking there. Now add 100,000. It can be gnarly, so I'd suggest either splitting early or staying late.

Have fun! It's a great show.
posted by SciGuy at 7:45 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I haven't been, and would love to go. I'd bring binoculars, or at least a monocle, though I can see how binoculars could be on the heavy side.

Have a great time. NASCAR's one of the other things that make me aspire to live in the Southeast. (SEC is the first, heh)
posted by Sunburnt at 8:46 PM on July 19, 2012

If I'm actually following the race, I like to sit as high up as I can get somewhere between turn 4 and the start/finish. Seems there's always a lot of action with cars trying to get into the pits or trying to lead at the line and I can see it all pretty well from there.

If you can go to qualifying or anything else happening on Sat, it's kind of fun to spend at least a little time down low to really see and hear what 190+ mph looks like close up, but it can be a little difficult to follow the race from down there. Safety can be an issue, too. I got much too close a view of the underside of Carl Edwards car at Talladega a couple of years ago.

Definitely spring for the scanner. Not only can you get the drivers conversations, but you can hear the radio and TV crews as well, along with the radio broadcast. This is a good way to keep track of what's happening in the race. You can't always hear the announcers when the green flag is out. I've found the best time to eavesdrop on your favorite driver is immediately after a caution flag comes out.

Definitely dress for a day under the sun. Lots of concrete and not much shade.

I try to go to one or two races a year. I actual follow the action on TV more easily, but TV doesn't capture the gasoline and burnt rubber smell and I need my fix.
posted by Noon Under the Trees at 11:15 PM on July 20, 2012

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