Almost daily there is some mention about the economic crisis we are dealing with and how it is affecting NASCAR. I am fortunate enough to live within a couple of hours of several tracks and plan my vacation time and funds accordingly, but for some fans, it has been a huge struggle to get to the races this year.
Don't give up hope. NASCAR and tracks are working out great ticket deals and special events to keep things exciting and affordable for the fans. Here are a few deals we ran into this year and some that have been posted for 2009.
1. Best kept secret (and most affordable) was heading to Nashville this year. It was a Nationwide race but some Sprint cup drivers such as Kyle Busch, Clint Boyer and Carl Edwards were there.
It was a great race (more exciting than some of the Sprint races we've seen this year) and we were able to pay $10.00 to get a fan pass to head down to the "behind the scenes" area to watch the drivers come and go before and after qualifying. Some drivers, such as Clint Boyer, Sterling Marlin and Brad Kesolowski stopped for photos and signed anything thrown at them.
The biggest surprise was watching Kyle Busch's interaction with the fans. He was awesome and started on one end of "fan row" and walked to the end signing autographs and talking with fans. The biggest disappointment was Carl Edwards who was a bit "stuck up." He didn't acknowledge any of fans although some were there just to see him.
2. Bristol Motor Speedway. Yes, Bristol sells out, but did you know you can still get great seats a day before the race? I made a last minute decision to head to Bristol for the August race and found great seats to both the Nationwide and Sprint cup races for 6 of us. Seats were great and below ticket value.
One thing to be aware of: Don't stop at the first guys selling tickets. There a great deals the closer you get to the track. My boss and his friends came for the Sprint cup race only and said they were offering suite tickets for less than $100.00 the day of the race.
3. Use a tour service. By the time you add in hotel and food, some tour services are more than affordable. We used Lynch Tours in Charlotte and loved not having to sit in traffic for two hours.
4. Get the most for your race weekend. When we went to Charlotte, we made a huge race weekend. Charlotte is great because there is so much to do. All the race shops are FREE except for MWR's RaceWorld USA. Even the smaller raceshops offer something for the fans.
For example, when we went to Yates Racing, we were offered Energy Drinks, hero cards (available at most shops), and up close photos with one of the cars. RaceWorld USA is worth the money. Micheal Waltrip has done an AWESOME job giving the fans access to what they really want to see.
We also saw our first Legend car racing and then headed over to the dirt track. If you've never been dirt track racing, you're missing out. A lot of the Sprint Cup drivers head over there so keep your eyes open. Tickets are very affordable and in May, they handed out a huge bag of goodies.
5. Look for hospitality packages. Talladega seemed to do it right. For about a hundred dollars, we added on a hospitality package that included appearances by three drivers (Ku.Busch, Newman, and Sorrenson), breakfast, lunch, unlimited water and soda, and six beer/wine coupons.
It also included a pre-race pit pass which helped fill up most of our day. We didn't have to lag around a heavy cooler and didn't have to come up with money for lunch or snacks. Well worth the money.
Couple of other deals that have popped up:
Atlanta Motorspeedway (October 08).
Elliott Grandstand - Pep Boys Family Four Pack
Bringing affordable fun to the whole family, Pep Boys and Atlanta Motor Speedway are offering the Pep Boys Family Four Pack for just $159 for the Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The Pep Boys Family Four Pack includes four lower level Elliott Grandstand seats, four hot dogs and four 12-ounce Coca Colas for just $159. www.atlantamotorspeedway.com
Las Vegas Motorspeedway (Feb 09)
Main Grandstand Weekend Package Seating
Feb 27 - Mar 1, 2009
A weekend package, which includes reserved seats for the Sprint Cup race and the Sam's Town 300, and we toss in a general-admission pole day ticket for free! Your reserved seat will give you a breathtaking view of the action on our 20-degree banking. $117 - $225. www.lvms.com
Daytona International Speedway (Feb 09)
Consider attending the Gatorade Duels, Shootout, Daytona 250 Truck Race or the Campint World Nationwide Race for more affordable tickets with a lot of action.
DIS is currently offering a $15.00 All you can eat buffet if you purchase tickets to any of the above races. Other offers that DIS is advertising:
BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT HOOTERS HOSPITALITY - $20
Already have your tickets. For just $20 join the Girls of Hooters in the very own Hospitality tent located in Frontstretch Hospitality Village. Includes a plate of wings, (two) drink tickets for beer or coca-cola products, music, and of course the World Famous Hooters Girls.
BUSWEISER SHOOTOUT PRE RACE/FAN ZONE - $25
The next best thing to a garage pass! Not only will you be able to get closer than ever before with your SPRINT FANZONE ticket, the Pre-Race Pass also allows fans to walk across the track surface, over the grassy Tri-Oval and onto Pit Road until the end of driver introductions.
Check out all the NASCAR track websites for special ticket deals that keep popping up. Support NASCAR and have a wonderful vacation at the same time.