Thursday, December 15, 2016

10 Things to Expect at a Nascar Race in Charlotte, North Carolina

Nascar is one of the hottest sports in this country. So many people love to watch the races and cheer for their favorite drivers. My husband is a member of this Nascar fan club and when some good friends invited us to go with them to the Charlotte, North Carolina race there was no way I could logically say no to the opportunity. This was my very first Nascar race and, even though I’m not a fan, I shared my husband’s excited at our trip.

Since we had never been to a race in person, I didn’t really know what to expect when we arrived. I knew it would be crowded and loud, but you just don’t know how much so until you arrive and look around in complete and utter shock. Now that I’ve had this experience, I felt compelled to write this article to share with people who have never done it. So, here is a list of my top ten things to expect at a Nascar race in Charlotte, North Carolina.


1) Crowded Doesn’t Come Close – Of course, I’m sure that you expect any Nascar race to be crowded. Unfortunately, “crowded” is an understatement when it comes to the large amount of people that inhabit the seats of a Nascar race. The worst part was at the end of the race when everyone was trying to leave. You are basically shoulder-to-shoulder in a large ocean of people. You will be pushed along with the rest of the crowd and have to fight your way out of it. Luckily, the further away from the track you park, the easier it will be to get to your vehicle. The crowd starts to dissipate the further you get from the track.


2) Be prepared to walk…A LOT – Walking is great exercise and you will certainly get that while you are at a Nascar race in Charlotte, North Carolina. I ended up at the race in my knee-high, high-heeled boots and I would have to discourage anyone else from doing so. Wear some comfortable sneakers because you will need them. We had to park about a mile away from the track and walk the rest of the way. That wasn’t a big deal, but if you want to browse the shops and activities that will add to your walking. Plus throw in the actual stair climbing when you start hunting your seats. Those steps are steep and there are a lot of them. Finally, after the race you will have to walk back to where ever it was that you parked. I’m pretty sure that my friends and I ended up walking around three to four miles while we were there.


3)Shopping – Be prepared to do some shopping. There will be numerous vendors around the track for every popular race car driver. Any kind of race memorabilia that you can think of will be there for anyone to purchase. You may even be able to find some great deals if your favorite driver’s vendor has reduced prices in order to clear out a large amount of merchandise. Make sure you have at least a few dollars stashed away so that you can enjoy yourself.


4) Excitement – I’m not a race fan, so I expected to be bored out of my ever-loving mind, but it really was fun. Everyone around you is so excited and having such a great time that it’s hard not to feel that same enjoyment. My husband was cheering for his favorite driver and all the people around us were having so much fun that I couldn’t help but to feel the same excitement. It’s like a yawn…it’s contagious!


5)Smoking – Smoking was one of the things that I didn’t even think about ahead of time. I should have, but it just never crossed my mind that so many people in the crowd would be smoking while we were all trying to watch the race. I’m not a smoker, and the smell of cigarette smoke gives me a headache, so about an hour into the race I was dealing with a headache. Even the little, old lady sitting next to me was a smoker. It really was ridiculous, but you can’t do anything about it.


6)Noise – Everyone told me “The race cars are loud”, so I knew that they would be loud. Heck, I’ve been to dirt track races when I was a child and my dad was racing, but the noise that comes from these Nascar race cars is louder than anything I’ve ever heard before. They were so loud that you can’t hear yourself speak, much less the person sitting next to you. Luckily, after a while you kind of tune the noise out…. or maybe your eardrums just go into shock!


7)Cramped Seats – For some reason I expected to have decent seating when I went. Unfortunately, all the seats were crammed together. There was literally about four inches between seats. I was thanking the heavens that I had recently lost over one hundred pounds or there would have been some seating issues. Oh and least I forget the few inches in front and behind the seats. I kept elbowing the poor guy behind me in the knees.


8)Tons of Expensive Food – Mmmmm, the food at the race smelled so good. They have a variety of everything you could imagine there. I saw whole pizzas, smoked sausages, burgers, fries, chicken and even giant margaritas. With all of those smells mingling through the crowd you will certainly feel your tummy rumbling a few times. Be prepared for the giant price markups on all of that yummy food though. A simple bottle of water was priced at $3.00 all on its on, so imagine how much the food was.


9)Drinking – Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol everywhere. At the Charlotte, North Carolina Nascar track there was every type of beer imaginable. Most of the alcoholic beverages I spotted were actually brought in by the spectators. People were dragging along their own personal coolers full of whichever type of beer they preferred and no one had a problem guzzling as much as they could in the few hours we were there. We even spotted people drinking in the parking lot of our hotel at on 2 p.m. These same people were drinking long into the night. When the race was finally over at 11:30pm, there were people pushing, pulling, stumbling and flat out falling on their faces while still carrying a can of beer in each hand. It’s one thing to drink and have a good time. It’s another to be so drunk that you don’t remember even being at the race. I do have to add that all of the drunks in the crowd did make for some humorous entertainment when I tired of watching the cars drive around in circles.


10)At Least An Hour In Traffic – Traffic is hectic when you’re going to and from the race track in Charlotte, North Carolina. You will be driving very slowly before the race, but at least you’ll be moving. After the race, you need to plan to spend at least one hour sitting in the parking lot that you parked in before you’ll ever make it onto the paved roads. It’s insane. Once you finally make it onto the paved road, it will be slow going, but at least you’ll be moving. For us, the race was over at 11:30 p.m., we headed straight to the van and worked our way out. We finally made it back to the hotel at 3 a.m. and our hotel was only sixteen miles from the track.


In the end, even with all of the craziness, we had a lot of fun. Like I said in the beginning, I’m not a race fan, but I had a lot of fun and just watching my husband enjoy himself was enjoy to make up for the rest of the annoyances. Sit back, enjoy the race, commiserate with the person crammed in next to you and laugh at the many drunks who will put on a show for all to see. It really is more fun than you will expect!


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