RVers Revel at The Texas Motor Speedway

Long before the tires hit the track, you can feel the energy of a NASCAR event. You sense it, see it, and smell it. As a rainbow of wind-whipped driver flags snap a salute to the day’s automotive gladiators, there is already a hint of excitement in the air about what is about to erupt on the oval track.

Like the weather at The Texas Motor Speedway, things are going to get hot.

From the fire of impassioned fans to the heat of screaming engines, a NASCAR race is the place to see the action boil. Add 10,000 RVers to the mix and you’ve got a formula for great entertainment, instant camaraderie and good old-fashioned fun.

A kinetic mix of rambunctious festivities and die-hard motor sports enthusiasm. NASCAR races are a continuously growing phenomenon. No longer solely a Southeastern sport, the races are enjoying a tremendous popularity across the United States, and beyond. The events are tailor-made for RVs.

The Texas Motor Speedway captured the essence of NASCAR RVing at its finest at a recent race event. More than 200,000 enthusiasts from across the country gathered in April to quench their thirst for racing and to take part in a ritual fast becoming the most popular spectator sport in America.

And right in the middle of it — quite literally — were the RVers.

Inside, outside and all around the track you’ll find RVs of every size and shape and owners of the same description. All are drawn to hang out and enjoy the total race experience, to share cold ones with friends and to just revel in the fact that they are there — at the heart of the action.

And “there” is where it is at. Not just for the racing enthusiast but also for anyone who loves the pageantry of a big event. A NASCAR weekend typically includes concerts, shopping, partying, F-16 and B-52 fly-overs and, oh yeah, that thing people watch in between — the race.

Race-day morning started a little lazily, but like the race, it heated up in a hurry. A quiet cup of coffee under the awning or a stroll around the campground helped clear the morning cobwebs for many of my race-happy cohorts. It felt like what it was — a friendly, makeshift neighborhood.

Talk of time trials, the previous night’s festivities and the day to come rippled through the campsites. Barbecue operation, propane tank status, menus and happy hour were carefully mulled over.

Then it happens. As if a whistle has blown, the procession begins — the march to the midway. Outside the track, the mood is festive and anticipatory, and the scene a virtual bazaar.

Midway sponsors and vendors offer trailers loaded with trinkets and memorabilia that promote racing. By mid-morning it literally becomes a feeding frenzy of commerce.

As you make the pilgrimage to the track, you can’t help but be struck by the level of preparation and commitment RVers make to prime the fun-engine for the race. Lawn chairs are stationed atop and around motorhomes. Flags — usually, a United States, Texas and driver flag, but not necessary in that order — have to be unfurled. Lanterns, lights, rugs — anything with a NASCAR logo on it are prominently displayed.

It’s a carnival atmosphere. For a first timer, the experience borders on overwhelming. My hosts — Blue Ox and Workhorse Custom Chassis — are very active NASCAR supporters, sponsoring the on-site campgrounds at racetracks across the country. They see this all the time.

It’s easy to understand why the RV serves as a hub of activity for many race-goers. Pressed into service as a grandstand perch or entertainment headquarters, RVs show off their true multipurpose functionality.

With the race day starting as early as 8:00 a.m. and going well past 5:00 p.m., having a place to relax, refresh and retreat takes the edge off of what would be an otherwise long day. This is a spirited group of fun-loving people that appreciate their RVs, cars and races, and the campgrounds resonate with their enthusiasm.

If the opportunity presents itself, go! If possible, sit in the best seats in the house — in the raceway pits.

Whatever you do, be sure to visit those pits and garages. Work you’re way as close as you can to one of the cars’ teams at pit stop time. You’ll witness a ballet of sweat and steel, where bodies, machinery, fuel and rubber are choreographed to the tune of idling fury — 14 seconds of pure artistry that can only be appreciated by seeing it up close.

With all the preparation, commerce and socializing, it’s tempting to forget there is something bigger in store. But the race itself is riveting. To the uninitiated — like me — there are quick lessons.

As a spectator sport, I always thought NASCAR racing was about waiting for the adrenaline rush of a crash. There is some of that, but the strategy of the race was interesting to learn about.

And you’ll find tutors are everywhere.

All I had to do is ask someone with a Number 8 on their baseball cap what was going on and I got a 40-minute dissertation about the importance of tire pressure and wear, pit stop efficiency, yellow flag strategies and “dialing the car in.”

Within this crush of humanity, it’s easy to understand why so many people show up in their RVs. Traffic leaving the raceway is a mess in all directions. It’s much easier to plant yourself and stay put.

Staying on-site, RVers enjoy a look at the event that others don’t. Plus, they get to bring all the conveniences of home with them. Their food and beverage of choice is always close at hand. And they have permanent headquarters for meeting and entertaining friends.

NASCAR fans are such a gregarious bunch; it’s appealing to spend time with new friends, leaving the stress of battling traffic for another day. Take my word for it — you don’t want to be making lane changes in front of the next NASCAR wanna-be right after the race.

The Texas Motor Speedway makes it easy to come and stay, offering five camping areas spread out across the facility. More than 10,000 spaces are allocated for campers. Prime sites are found at the Workhorse VIP Campground, which features 358 camping spots and offers electrical and water hook-ups along with complimentary waste disposal. The facility also features over-sized 20 x 45 spots, 24-hour security and a prime location near the main grandstand.

Mobile trucks circulate the camping areas, offering to collect waste or bring water for a small fee, and dump stations are found on the grounds.

Plan on hitting an upcoming NASCAR event. Each racetrack manages its own camping arrangements. Much camping space at NASCAR events is reserved, so be sure to call in advance.

For campground, ticket or other information at Texas Motor Speedway, call (817) 215-8500 or visit texasmotorspeedway.com.

For information about upcoming NASCAR races, visit www.nascar.com.

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  • I am interested in renting a spot for the Spring race for a 20′ toy hauler. I would like to know if riding of motorcycles is allowed in the camping area and would like to get fees for the site, too.

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