Whether you're a long-time veteran or a NASCAR newbie, a trip to the track can make for a great and memorable time. Just make sure all the thrills and excitement come from the action on the track, not catastrophe in the grandstands.
Follow these 7 simple NASCAR survival guidelines, and you can enjoy your next day at the races like a pro: safely, from head to toe.
1. Protect your ears. This one is obvious! While there will be hearing protection for sale at the track, the prices will be outrageous and the lines will be long. Plan ahead and stock up in advance. Not only will this let you skip those long lines and save some money, but you'll also be familiar with your hearing protection! That's the only way to be 100% positive your ear muffs or ear plugs will fit your ears correctly and block noise effectively.
2. Protect your new friends' ears. Bring some extra foam ear plugs. You'll be sitting next to the same folks all day long -- on tight-packed aluminum seats in the hot and unforgiving sun -- so why not make nice? By bringing a few pairs of spare ear plugs to give away, you may be able to strike up a conversation, make some new friends, or even trade for a beer, a bottle of water, or any other supplies you forgot.
3. Protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses. It's hard to enjoy a race you can't see because the sun is in your eyes. But leave your designer shades at home! They may get lost or broken, the guy behind you might spill his beer on you and get them all sticky, or they could even get stolen. Don't risk it: take a cheap pair of sunglasses to the track.
4. Protect your skin. This means wear your sunscreen -- especially on your face and neck, and on your shoulders and arms if they're exposed. Even if it's cloudy out, you can still get a bad burn while spending all day outdoors. Make sure to bring enough sunscreen for several reapplications throughout the day. Also consider wearing a cap for extra face protection, and a towel for the back of your neck won't hurt, either.
5. Protect your wallet. Obviously, this means you shouldn't bring more money than you can afford to lose to a pickpocket. But this is also about planning ahead. By packing your own bottled water, sandwiches, sunscreen, sunglasses, and ear plugs, you can save some serious cash -- and spend a lot less time standing in line on race day, too.
6. Protect your feet. Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes. Not only will you be wading through throngs of other fans who can (and will) tromp on your feet by accident, but you'll also be spending a considerable amount of time walking and standing. The crowd will likely be on their feet throughout the actual race, so expect to spend a lot of time standing if you want to see what's going on. You'll also have to stand in line for bathrooms, merch vendors, etc. And don't forget the long trek to and from the car.
7. Protect your kids. NASCAR races can be enormous fun for the whole family, but only if the little ones have adequate hearing protection. Ear muffs for babies and children are the perfect solution to keep those little ears safe. As a bonus, child ear muffs will usually adjust to fit infants, toddlers, and kids, all the way up through tweens, teens, and even smaller adults -- so one good set of baby ear muffs can grow up right along with your little race fan.
Until next time, be safe and love your ears!
--Sarah Bergman, Web Developer