This past weekend, Austin, TX became the host city for the 131st running of the “Grand National,” more commonly known as the “Great American Race.” It is the single largest sporting event in North America, and the only one which is open to the public (the others—the Stanley Cup, World Series, and Super Bowl—are open to paying customers). This year, more than 300,000 people attended the three-day event, which featured nearly 100 drivers from the US and beyond. While some might view this annual event as simply a celebration of American ingenuity and hard work, it is actually a battle of wits and stamina that pits teams from across the country against each other.
I have decided to break down the logistics of going to a NASCAR race, as well as giving you some of the best tips for having a smooth and enjoyable experience. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn.
Types Of Cars
There are four different types of cars that you can take to a NASCAR race: open-wheelers, stock cars, touring cars, and modifieds. Open-wheelers are the lightest vehicles in the field, and they are usually the quickest. They are great for accelerating and cornering, but they aren’t great at keeping up with the speed of the other vehicles on the track. Stock cars are the most common type of vehicle at NASCAR races. They are basically an unmodified version of what you would find on the road today, and they use a different type of fuel than the other vehicles. Touring cars are used mainly for long distance touring, and are often found in parades and other large gatherings. They are built for durability and high performance, and they were originally designed for racing on dirt tracks. Finally, the modifieds are the same as the touring cars, but they have additional modifications to make them faster and handle better at high speeds.
Admission And Parking
Admission to a NASCAR race is free, but space is limited, particularly on the weekends. If you want to attend a US racing event on a Saturday or Sunday, you will have to pay for parking. Fortunately, there are a number of parking lots near the track that you can use. While most of the lots charge fairly high prices, there is usually ample free parking nearby. Simply look for the parking signs and use the metered parking. You will also find public parking lots in close proximity to the venue, with no ticket required.
If you don’t drive or have access to a car, the best way to get to a NASCAR race is with public transport. Austin is easily accessible by plane, and it has a large number of daily flights from major cities. You will definitely want to take advantage of this mode of transport to get to the venue. Another option is to take a train or bus to the nearest station and then walk or drive the rest of the way. This can be a slow and tedious process, however, so you might want to drive or take a taxi instead. If you do decide to drive, be aware of heavy traffic near the stadium during the event hours, particularly on the weekends. You will also need a valid ID to enter the event, as well as any credit cards you might use while there. All bags are subject to search as well, so be sure to bring your valid ID and credit cards with you.
While it is not allowed inside the stadium, it is tolerated outside the venue. This means that you can smoke cigarettes, cigars, or any other tobacco products as long as you stay on the grassy area nearby. There is also a designated smoking area directly in front of the grandstand. Keep this area free from litter and make sure that nobody crosses the line to enter the venue. You will be given a ticket for littering, and the fine for this amounts to about $150.
Access To Hotels
Hotels near a NASCAR race are generally filled to capacity, so if you want to stay in a nearby hotel you will have to make reservations in advance. This is especially important if you are traveling with family or friends. Fortunately, there are a number of chain hotels in Austin that you can visit, and all of them are within walking distance of the stadium. You can also stay at one of Austin’s few hostels, which offer every kind of amenity you could want or need, and the staff are more than glad to help you make the most of your stay.
You will not get a good experience at a racetrack unless you go there for the right reasons. Do not go just because it is “one of the biggest sporting events in America.” You should also go because you have a connection to motorsports or because you want to see how others have mastered the art of driving fast. Going to a major league baseball game or the NCAA Basketball tournament is also a good excuse. The key is to find a connection to a sport you love, or have some interest in, before you begin your research. You are sure to have an enjoyable time no matter what you choose, but it is important to remember that the destination, the venue, and the event itself are all important aspects to consider before you make your travel plans. Keep this in mind, and you will achieve the perfect balance between fun and efficiency when you arrive at your destination for the big race weekend. And remember: the fastest way to get to know the place is by walking – explore the city’s historical monuments, parks, and public spaces, and take a look at its nightlife as well. You might even find that you enjoy yourself so much that you cancel all other plans and stay a little longer in Austin. That is what we call an immersive experience.