It doesn’t matter if you are a veteran or rookie to the NASCAR scene, don’t think you can show up for a tailgate party unprepared! There are a lot of components to throwing a good racing pre-party and if you show up with too little, you just might lose your fan base.
Even if you are well-versed in other kinds of tailgating or concert-going, NASCAR tailgating is a beast of its own—it’s a high energy event with loyal fans who show up early, stay for days and never misses a moment of the race action even if they are in the parking lot. A generator failure or shortage of burgers is no joke to a NASCAR fan, and lack of preparation will leave you in the pits.
As an official sponsor of Race Car Driver JJ Yeley, we know a little about NASCAR. And as the mind behind the juiciest, beefiest, most flavorful burgers available, we know even more about feeding a tailgate crowd. So, with those powers combined, we’ve come up with a list of tips for your race day tailgating experience.
Race Day Tailgating Tips
Never be late.
Tailgating is part of the experience of NASCAR and showing up just before the race is a telltale sign you’re a rookie. Most veteran tailgaters will get there several hours (or days) early, camping and socializing long before the race begins. The best spaces fill up fast, so show up when you can, claim your spot and kick back and relax like a pro.
Bring more food than you ever thought you’d need.
This is where we come in. Think you just need one pack of our burgers? Double that! NASCAR is about food and camaraderie. Fans are hungry and bond over great food and their love for racing. You never know who might drop in for a bite of burger and some fan talk, so extra food is always a good idea. And don’t be afraid to go all-in with a new recipe; NASCAR fans don’t skimp on the complexity of their tailgate food just because they are working on a camp grill.
Get serious about your grill.
Speaking of food, nothing makes you look like more of a rookie than a cold sandwich or a frozen lasagna. Grilling is sort of the official sponsor of a NASCAR cookout, and folks will grill up anything from chicken, to ribs, to burgers. So, don’t forget to pack your grill and certainly be sure that you bring enough charcoal or propane (rookie mistake).
Also, don’t get distracted talking track with a fellow tailgater and forget about your grill! Never leave it unattended and keep it far away from vehicles, tents, pets and children.
Throw some major shade.
NASCAR is HOT. And you are sometimes on pavement. You are going to need some serious shade to keep you cool or protect you from a freak rainstorm. This means a canopy or pop up tent large enough to cover up your camp chairs and food. Sandbags, stakes or anchors are also a good idea in case the wind picks up and decides to take your canopy for a ride.
Generators are a popular accessory to most tailgates.
Camping at a tailgate doesn’t have to mean roughing it. If for nothing more than to power a TV so you never miss a racing moment, many tailgaters bring along a generator to this portable party to maximize the experience.
The devil is in the details.
Preparing for your tailgate takes some good thought and preparation. Days before, compile a list of all the essentials: food, condiments, ice, ice chests, tableware, plates, napkins, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, insect repellant, BBQ, spatula, toilet paper, garbage bags, canopy, water, beverages, fuel, can opener, knives and a music or radio source. Yard games, TV’s, cards and other entertainment options are also a good idea to keep you entertained before and after the race. Check, and re-check your list to be sure you have it all because once you park, you aren’t going anywhere!
There are few things more fun than a little race day tailgate. If adequately prepared, you can ensure your race day is complete with a full belly, shaded place to sit and maybe a few new friends.
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