NASCAR Economics 101: The Cost of a Weekend at the Track

Jen PrestonSenior Analyst IMarch 23, 2017

Like many NASCAR fans all over the United States, I'm looking forward to the weekend when the Nationwide and Cup guys grace my home track with their presences, so I can begin my endless quest for autographs, souvenirs...oh yeah, and catch a couple of races while I'm at it.

With an economy promising to get much worse before it gets better, I decided to see how much money it would take for my family and I to spend a weekend at Kansas Speedway.



*Right now, Cup tickets are about $120 per person- that's already a whopping $480 for our Sunday. On the other hand, Nationwide Series tickets are $65 per person, which adds another $260- and it's not to mention that Kansas makes fans buy the IndyCar and Truck Series tickets along with them, and those alone were $50 last season.

Thankfull, parking is free at the Speedway, which eliminates one cost. But we'll make up for that this year, now that I can get Pre-Race Pit Passes. Per day during the race weekend, pit passes are an extra $130 per person. So if myself and one of parents go, that would total $260.

Estimated total price for tickets and pit passes: $1,400.00



This year, maybe my family will decide to stay at the track instead of driving back and forth from Kansas and Missouri. That should save money on gas, right?

The Great Wolf Lodge is literally two minutes from the track- a perfect place to stay. If I were to book a two bedroom for my family and I for the October Nationwide and Cup races, it would cost $1019.90 for our total stay. I would have to share a bunk bud with my brother, but hey, I'll deal.

Great Wolf Lodge has also has two bar and grills, a snack shop and a Pizza Hut Express. We'll take about $200 for food.

Estimated total cost for hotel and food: $1,219.90



Okay, so my mom and dad are both Tony Stewart fans, I'm a Kevin Harvick-Reed Sorenson-Joey Logano-Clint Bowyer-sometimes Juan Pablo Montoya fan, and my brother is a Jimmie Johnson-Ryan Newman-mega HUGE Kyle Busch fan. Which means, with all the sponsor and manufacture changes, we'll be spending a LOT of money on souvenir alley.

Let's pick a driver from each and see how much it'll cost for my family to be outfitted in our favorite team's apparel:

Mom: Tony Stewart

T-Shirt: $29.99 (Men's T-Shirts are $21.99 on

Hat: $21.99

Uniform Jacket: $104.99

Knowing this is probably my college money: Wait... what?!

Estimated price for Tony Stewart swag (x2 for Dad): $305.99

Davey: Kyle Busch

T-Shirt: #21.99

Regular M&M's and Halloween M&M's diecasts: $159.98

Estimated price for Davey's Shrub swag: $181.97

Jennifer: Kevin Harvick

T-Shirt: $24.97 (hey, this on sale... hmmm...)

Sweatshirt: $39.97

Clear Backpack: $17.99

Estimated price for my Happy swag: $82.93

Estimated total price for family souvenirs: $570.89

Thankfully, we're now allowed to bring coolers into Kansas Speedway, which should save us some money on water, soda, etc. Plus, it's kinda nice not having to sneak it in with my hoodie anymore. If you haven't been to a racetrack, water has run anywhere from $5 to $8 at Kansas.



Living in Missouri, my family drives 39.61 miles to and from the racetrack. With the national average of gas in America being about $1.44 in December, that would be roughly $41.05 if gas prices don't change that much. This number will not include the distance between our hotel and the track, because it's just a couple of miles.

Estimated price for gas: $82.10


With all that being said, my family's grand total for our weekend at Kansas Speedway is...

$3,272.89. Estimated, of course.

Despite the high prices, you can expect to see my ever loyal NASCAR family at the track this October. Let's go racin'!

*These prices are based upon the fact that we are PRM ticket holders.

Thanks to Kansas Speedway,, MapQuest, the Energy Information Administration, my brother, and my dad for the information and prices used in this story.