It started with a simple tweet. NASCAR fans were upset that the Food and Beverage (F&B) vendors at Kansas Speedway were not offering healthy options. The tweet went viral, and a petition was started to have healthier food choices at the Cup race. It garnered more than 25,000 signatures. Then, on June 29, 2019, the petition was presented to NASCAR Commissioner Shane Hanchett. That same day, the vendors at Kansas did indeed start serving salads and other fresh food.
Rough Start For Food Vendors
The start of the 2019 racing season at Kansas was chaotic. On the Friday before the Cup race, the place was abuzz with media members and fans trying to line up for the opportunity to see NASCAR‘s top drivers such as Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Kyle Larson go around the 1.5-mile oval. Vendors had to hustle to set up their temporary food stands along the track’s exit road while local merchants tried to provide them with as much business as they could. Some of the original vendors, many of whom have been serving food at Kansas Speedway for more than 20 years, tried to adapt to the new environment. Others were unable to make the transition quickly enough.
How About Desserts?
There was also concern about how much ice cream there would be at the track. Many fans claim that they love the classic cars and monster trucks that fill the garage at Kansas, but the food choice is usually what they complain about. It seemed that everyone wanted healthier options at the track, so the vendors scrambled to accommodate customer demands. They offered food that was fresh and easy to carry, which is important if you’re serving people with disabilities or children. When fans and media members walked by, they commented on how good the food smelled and how healthy it looked. Many of the vendors even offered kids’ meal choices with organic food items.
Unfortunately, not all the food choices at Kansas survived the transition from season to season. The popular barbecue trailer, for example, had to close down in November 2019 because it couldn’t keep up with the demand for its popular half-smoke meatballs. Several other vendors also closed down or moved to other sports venues due to the pandemic. However, many of the food trucks and stands have reopened at various times and venues around the country. At this point, it’s too soon to tell if the healthier options will make a huge difference at Kansas.
Adapt Or Die
With all the adjustments made for the pandemic, many vendors have had to improve their game. Some of the original vendors have adapted, adding more veggie options and making healthier alternatives. Others, however, have lost their entire customer base because they didn’t make the right changes and continue to serve the same food that they have for the last 20 years.
It’s important to remember that, no matter what, food trucks and stands at sporting events will never be considered 100% organic. It’s likely that some of the food served there is either pre-made or heavily-refined. Despite this, many fans still crave the fast food trucks that serve the local specialty foods popular in that area.
The Ultimate Frickin’ Experience
Overall, the feeling among fans and media members at last year’s Cup race at Kansas was one of excitement. Attendance was up, prices were reasonable, and the food was good. The only downside to the event was that the traffic was bad and the lines were long. Many fans had to wait more than an hour to get their food. The problem was fixed, however, when the gates opened and the fans got to eat their frickin’ food quickly.
Now, with the new season at Kansas and other venues around the country, the traffic problem may resurface. Luckily, the food choices and quality have improved, and everyone seems to be excited for the new season.