No, this is not about ramping up the RPMs in your motorhome and challenging another RVer on some wild speeding spree across the country (please do not do that). This little article is focused on traveling from track-to-track to see NASCAR. Part-time RVers can find the race they may want to witness and make it a destination. Full-Time RVers can follow their favorite driver and crisscross America using this article as a handy dandy guide.
I’ve selected eleven races (because if any racing tour goes to 11, it’s NASCAR) to see mostly based upon popularity, some on location. However, there are 28 races until the beginning of the playoffs (many of them with repeated stops at popular speedways) plus 10 more races to find the eventual winner of the cup. NASCAR racing season starts in February and ends in November.
NOTE – corporate sponsorships of NASCAR races sometimes change as much as you change your oil. It’s more important to pay attention to the approximate race date as opposed to the name for next year you may not be able to find the race by looking up the name. Some names, though are synonymous with NASCAR, such as race #1 …
Daytona 500 • Daytona Beach, FL
NASCAR starts off huge in mid-February. Many people believe the Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the season, and it’s hard to argue against it. Plus, what’s not to love about Daytona Beach? The beach is wide, beautiful and, in most places, drivable – but check with Daytona Beach for times and any size limitations.
As for camping? There are a lot of nice spots right along the beach, just off it or in the infield at Daytona International Speedway (WARNING: Infield camping can be pricey). Book early.
Pennzoil 400 • Las Vegas, NV
On to the beginning of March… and giving you full-timers a good two weeks to get there – we’re heading it Las Vegas for what’s generally the third race of the season, the Pennzoil 400.
I’m not going to tout the advantages of being in Vegas or this article would be super long. Let’s just say whatever you want to see, chances are it’s in Vegas.
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway has its own infield for you to RV, spots around the track and of course there are a plethora of fine campgrounds in the area.
O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 • Fort Worth, TX
Where to next? How about Texas, specifically the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the Texas Motor Speedway for 500 miles of NASCAR action. There are three weeks between this race and the Pennzoil 400, so enjoy the great American Southwest since you only have a 1,200 mile trip between Las Vegas and Fort Worth. Heck, you’re driving right by the Grand Canyon. Why not take a gander?
There are quite a few options to camp within or beside Texas Motor Speedway, including the luxury RV spot Burnout Alley. The rest of the immediate area has some solid RV campgrounds as well.
Geico 500 • Talladega, AL
Another three week break to get you to my next chosen NASCAR destination. We are now at the end of April, it’s race number 10 for the season and the circuit has arrived at Alabama’s historic Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega has a lot of sites to see around it including the beautiful Talladega National Forest and historic Birmingham. However, you will not see Ricky Bobby as that was a movie (and a darn good one too).
Yes, you can RV camp in the Superspeedway’s infield and there are a few RV campgrounds close to the track, but you may need to expand your search and look into staying closer to Birmingham.
NASCAR All-Star Race • Concord, NC
No points for you! Seriously, there are no points given toward the cup from this race. However, it’s at night and a big fan favorite so I thought I’d throw it into the mix (and no, I didn’t count it as one of the 11, don’t judge me). There is a three week break from roaring cars between Talladega and Charlotte (with heaps of driving between as the next two races are Dover and Kansas), so take your time getting to Charlotte Motor Speedway. This historic and humongous speedway (it seats 138,000) is worth your RV time to see.
There are tons of infield camping spots available and a some select locations in the immediate area.
Coca-Cola 600 • Concord, NC
Yep, we are staying at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for another weekend. Not sure if one can stay that long for infield camping, but it sure is worth asking the question. You may note this race is 600 miles, so 200 more miles than a normal NASCAR race. Plus, you can explore everything surrounding the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the week like Morrow Mountain State Park and the Uwharrie Mountains.
In case you need to move away for a few days, here are some campgrounds close to Charlotte:
Pocono 400 • Long Pond, PA
You had a good rest in Charlotte so I’m going to rush you. The next weekend I recommend taking in NASCAR at the famous Pocono Raceway. It’s a 9 hour or so drive from Concord, NC so you may want to find a halfway point campground around the pretty Shenandoah National Park.
Pocono Raceway is known as the ‘Tricky Triangle.’ The track is shaped like a 30-60-90 triangle with rounded corners. This makes for a pair of long, sweet straightaways and nasty corners.
Infield camping is available, but it is the Poconos so there are a lot of other options.
Overton’s 400 • Joliet, IL
I can hear you now – are you trying to tell me you are going to drag me halfway across the country to the Chicago area now? Yes I am. There are three weeks of Sundays between Pocono and the Overton’s 400 and some pretty areas to ogle in between… or hightail it over there, park, unhook your towable (or use your toad) and take in Chicago.
Infield camping is completely available plus there are a few other good RV campgrounds in the area.
Quaker State 400 • Sparta, KY
I added this one only because I am sending you back to Pocono and it seemed to be such a shame to not take in another race that’s right between Chicagoland Speedway and Pocono Raceway. The Quaker State 400 is literally in the middle: two weeks past Overton’s 400 and two weeks before Gander Outdoors 400. The Kentucky Speedway is located right off 71 between Louisville and Cincinnati so it’s close to Ohio and Indiana, but ‘sparta’ Kentucky (I’ll let myself out).
Campgrounds abound, including the Kentucky Speedway infield.
Gander Outdoors 400 • Long Pond, PA
Back to the Pocono Raceway. Really, I can’t get enough of the Tricky Triangle. It may or may not be a thrill to be a NASCAR driver on this track, but it sure is a thrill for the fans.
As far as the drive back to the Pocono Raceway, I’d head east on U.S. 50 out of Cincinnati. To me, it’s a prettier drive than taking 70 through Columbus.
Assuming Pocono hasn’t changed in two months, you’ll find the same campgrounds once you get there:
Consumers Energy 400 • Brooklyn, MI
The Michigan International Speedway race is two weeks from the Gander Outdoors 400. In between the two, and totally doable, is Watkins Glen. It’s a very historic track and worth the trip, but I don’t want you to suffer burn-out. Therefore, on to the Michigan International Speedway located just southwest of Ann Arbor.
It’s a relatively small track but they tout their huge infield camping experience, so check into that as well as these campgrounds:
Brickyard 400 • Indianapolis, IN
You didn’t think I was going to skip the Indianapolis Motor Speedway did you? Never. The Brickyard 400 is the final ‘regular season’ race before the playoffs and is held in the beginning of September. It’s three Sundays from the Michigan race, but has Bristol (Tennessee) and Darlington (South Carolina) between and that my friends is quite a bit of zigzagging. Give your RV a break and head straight south to Indianapolis from Ann Arbor. Heck, go north for a bit and visit Michigan’s Upper Peninsula between the two races. It’s gorgeous up there.
There are all sorts of options to camp at the speedway, plus more in the area:
Ford 400 • Miami, FL
I’m giving you a break here. There are 10 playoff races, but they are spread out across the country. As such, spend some time taking in fall as you slowly head south for the final race of the playoff season held in November. What a perfect time to be in the deep south at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. It’s south of Miami before you head down Highway 1 and into the Keys. Check out the Everglades while you’re there.
Good selection of infield camping spots as well as an abundance of surrounding campgrounds.
We started in Florida; we ended in Florida. As always, be sure to call ahead, especially for infield camping spots as reservations well in advance are a must and the type of RV spots do vary track-to-track.
Any favorite tracks of yours you’d like to tout? Give me a shout.