NASCAR Race meetings can be a great family day out, and even extend into whole weekend activities if you jump into the RV, or pack the tent. However, taking children to a NASCAR race still requires a little planning on your part. Checking what activities are available, packing some ear protection are the minimum you can do to prepare. However there is more you can do to ensure your children have an amazing time at their NASCAR race experience.
NASCAR is a family and children friendly sport. Racetracks often have activities specifically for children including fun zones, playgrounds, mascots, driver autographs, face painting and more. Parents should pack ear protection, sunscreen and sunglasses for the actual race and allow children to take breaks when needed.
We will answer the most common questions below to help you make your children’s first nascar race both enjoyable and safe. Questions like:
- What to wear
- How much does it cost to take children to a NASCAR race,
- What to bring,
- Where to sit,
- How to keep them entertained,
- What to do if you get separated
- How to help them enjoy their first NASCAR Race meeting
If you are asking yourself these questions, but don’t know the answers or need a few pointers then we have advice and information on how to enjoyably and safely take children to a NASCAR race below.
What Should You Take To A NASCAR Race If You Have Children?
There are a few items that we categorize as must haves before you take your children to a NASCAR Race. These are both for safety and for comfort.
1. Ear Protectors and/or Ear Plugs.
NASCAR is loud. the closer you are the the track the louder it is ( see our advice on seating choice below) Most adults never mind children, will have ear protection of some sort. Children’s hearing is still developing and the noise of 40 car with 700 Horsepower engines going full throttle is likely to be more than an annoyance, it can be painful and in the worst cases even cause long lasting damage.
They are likely to sell these at the NASCAR track, or ear plugs, but to make sure your children get used to wearing them we advise buying and trying before you get there. That way they can choose their own and go someway to avoiding the ”Mom and Dad wants me too so i don’t want to” battles than younger children may put up.
We have an example below for you to check out, there are inexpensive but vital. Usually they can knock off about 30 Decibels of noise ( why we suggest earplugs in addition as an option)
There some debate over headphones or ear plugs, we actually suggest both. However ear plugs you cant check as easy to see if they have come out. it is fairly obvious if your children are not wearing headphones though. We have a full article on ear protection below.
2. Children Should Wear Sunscreen At NASCAR Races
NASCAR does not just get hot inside the car, despite drivers assuring you it is certainly hot there. NASCAR races are held when the weather is good and the sun is shining. Great for Photos, great for visibility, not so great for young children. We STRONGLY suggest getting out the factor 50 sunscreen and covering yourself and your family with it. A sunburnt child is not going to be a happy child.
If you have to make the drive back home after 5 hours of racing, with sunburnt children or toddlers in the back of your car, You are going to be as uncomfortable as the actual NASCAR drivers by the time you get home.
As Baz Luhrmann said, Wear sunscreen.
3. Take Sunglasses
Just like the sunscreen, sunglasses are a must, spending five hours squinting into the sun to watch the race is going to bring on a headache quicker than the beer the fans are drinking. There will be stalls selling these so you might be able to pick up whatever sunglasses Kyle Larson wears (for a hefty price of course)
4. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Make sure your children ( and you) wear comfortable shoes. NASCAR is more than sitting and watching, though there is plenty of that, there are hundreds of shops, activities and events to explore and your feet will thank you for putting on sneakers or decent walking shoes!
5. NASCAR Seats – Consider Bringing Seat Cushions
Again, unsurprisingly, they will sell a form of these sea paddings at the track, however bringing your own will save you money and the queue. Race days can last a long time and NASCAR Race track seats, although much improved are not like an armchair at home.
Now i have extra padding naturally, and well you may have as well, most children will not. And sitting on a hard plastic chair for that long a time is uncomfortable at best. A cushion is going to help that. You can pick them up for around 10 dollars, or if you want something a little nicer you can go upto 50 dollars.
Don’t go crazy and starting bringing family sets of Bean Bags or anything but some padding for the seat and backrest will name the race much more enjoyable for you and your children.
6. Sleep Masks
We know a NASCAR Race is one of the most exciting events possible, but despite best intentions sometimes children may get bored or not be quite as interested in the race as their parents. Luckily someone invented naptime! (sometimes they might get bored). If you have young children especially this may be less an option and more a necessity.
We covered the need for headphones above, but we also mentioned NASCAR is a sunny day activity. If you are not undercover its going to be hard for children to fall asleep with the power of the sun shining into their eyes. So you can consider an eye mask or sleep mask to go with those headphones.
7. Invest In Some Binoculars:
If you have taken the advice of choosing the nosebleed seats for your first couple of NASCAR races with your children it may save them from the smells, noise and unfortunately as a result the sights of the race as well.
To combat this investing in a cheap pair ( or two) of binoculars to help them follow the race from their seats is a great idea. It keeps them involved and gives them something to play with (other than a phone) during the race as they scan around looking for cars, snacks, the pits and more.
We do suggest cheap as, (its children), things get broken dropped and misplaced, and it’s much less heartbreaking to replace 20 dollar binoculars than 200 dollar ones.
One last tip, if you are taking two children then take two set of binoculars. Otherwise you will send a large portion of the race refereeing the great Saturday afternoon binocular wars.
How Much Does it Cost for Children to Watch NASCAR Races?
As we have mentioned, repeatedly, NASCAR is a family and child friendly sport. This friendliness extends into the pricing of childrens NASCAR tickets as well. According to nascar.com (list for 2022 in the link) All Xfinity, and Camping World Truck Series races Children under 12 will get in free with a ticketed adult. This is simply awesome and not something you will find in most other sports.
It is worth checking ahead to make sure your race and race track also offer this, however many if not all do. Also these races tend to be a little shorter which helps you cater for the attention span of children better.
Even for the NASCAR cup series you can find tickets for children for 10 dollars. – remember where we said NASCAR is family friendly 😉
This means you main expenses will come from food and drink throughout the day, oh wait did we mention the cooler you can bring with you!
So the cost will be on merchandise, hats, tops, and toys, Still with the savings made on tickets and refreshments I think that’s something we can bear!
Tips On Watching NASCAR Races With Children.
We have a few tips, tricks and hints to make sure that your children are comfortable and enjoying their first NASCAR race experiences.
Choose High Seats If you are Watching NASCAR with Children:
When you first take your children to a NASCAR race We suggest to try the high seats up in the bleachers for a few reasons. They are usually cheaper for one
Secondly they are further away from the sights and sounds, and something people often forget at racetracks, the smells of the cars and the race. if you are further removed, though not the intense upto your eyeballs experience you like, it will give a gentle introduction to you children to the world of NASCAR. if all goes well you can try lower down or in the grandstands on your next trip.
Take a Cooler to the NASCAR Race:
Your children and wallet will thank you. At most NASCAR tracks people are allowed to bring in a cooler as long as it it no more than 14x14x14 inches in size. They do have concessions at the racetrack, but if your children have a favourite drink or snack then this will avoid any headaches or glum faces. it will also save you a lot of money as prices can be steep inside the track.
Coolers can be picked up quite cheaply here, and as you are going to be able to reuse them again and again they will pay for themselves pretty quickly.
*just a quick not on the current situation, some tracks have limited this to clear plastic bags so it is worth checking before you set out what the rules are at your particular race track.
Talking about refreshment brings us to our next point.
NASCAR and Alcohol:
Be aware that even if children are attending NASCAR is not Kindergarten. There will be alcohol, colorful language (see the ear protection here 😉 )and high emotion among fans. Just like at every other sporting event from high school football to European Soccer. ( there passions may even run into violence!) something very very rare in NASCAR.
If you are concerned you can ask the racetrack if there are family sections or areas designated for children and parents, not all do this but plenty do. You can also choose seats a little away from the more passionate of fans, up high seems to be better in our experience.
It is just something to be aware of when taking your children, especially for the first few times! They may learn a lot of new words as well as alot about NASCAR.
Children’s Entertainment at NASCAR Races:
At most major races, especially Xfinity, Truck and of course cup race days there will be children’s activities all around. Some may close as the race starts, but there will be others. Children’s facilities will vary form track to track. You can call or look at the tracks website for more details. however, they are likely to include the following: We used Daytona Speedway as an example here.
- Bouncy castles and inflatables: these are fairly common to see at NASCAR Races, and at larger events they will have padded games and challenges as well. Gladiatorial, floor is lava type of activities.
- Face Painting: I can’t say every Racetrack will offer this, well i can. Animals, colors, rainbows can adorn your children’s faces. Of course you can choose your drivers team colors as well!
- Ride alongs: Yes, they do NASCAR experiences for juniors and children as well. Certainly pricey! but what an amazing experience! – Daytona have this here for example. For adults you can drive it yourself ( although probably not during racemeets 😉
- Air Displays and Shows: Some of the larger races and tracks will have displays, or possible flybys by military aircraft. Just to show what a big engine really looks like!
- Kids Zones with various activities: these can be as simple as an outside playground, or simple fairground type rides. Up to VR racing experiences and simulations. There will always be something for families at NASCAR.
- NASCAR Mascots: Spare a thought for the mascots walking around, being tackled knee high by toddlers, arms draped over them by adult NASCAR fans who should probably skip the next beer, and having crying babies thrust next to them for that quick snap. if you think its hot in the bleachers then think how hot it is in the NASCAR furry Mascot Costumes!
- Driver autograph signing: Usually there will be times and areas where drivers will come out to meet the fans, if your children have been at NASCAR races a few times they may have developed a favourite. Meeting, getting a photo and an autograph could make their race day. These are much more frequent in lover divisions.
- Concerts and Performances: At all Nascar races there will be some musical interludes and performances.These could be before restarts, midway points, walking through fan zones or more. Larger races may well have big name entertainers performing as well. You can check the program or race track website to see who will be there on your race day.
- Shops, and shopping: There will be concession stands, merchandise shops and stalls, and for the children toys and games all over the fan zones and stands. I challenge you to resist when you children come up clutching a toy NASCAR in their hands
Take Breaks With Your Children During A NASCAR Race
Races can last a long time for a younger child, so if you feel or if they tell you they need a break then it is wise to take one. A quick 15 minute pitstop if you like, take a look at the events outside, take a trip to the pitstop and joke that you are doing something the drivers can’t do, or grab a hotdog. The idea is to give your children a great day out, and like most things with children little and often is better than all in one go!
You could also try them out on a short course race, at a smaller track to see how they do before heading towards the 4 hour Daytona 500 as well. See if it is something they enjoy and then scale the races up.
Failing these you can make a NASCAR race day a family event at home first, a big bowl of popcorn you and junior on the couch shouting (nicely) at the TV may spark the interest to attend a full race day before you pack up the car and head off to the Talladega track.
How to Keep Children Safe At A NASCAR Race
NASCAR races are safe events, for drivers, spectators and children. however it always pays to prepare a little before you take your family just in case you get split up, or an accident happens. We have a few tips to make your NASCAR Family day out both as fun and as safe as possible.
- Have you and your Children wear bright colors: including pants or trousers. Nascar can be a sea of legs for children. Give them the best shot at spotting you by wearing something bright at their eye level!
- Hold hands in crowded places: There is so much to see and do as NASCAR race that children may become overwhelmed and distracted. To stop them running off make sure you keep each others hands together. You will have to explain this before you go to make sure they understand why.
- Mobile Phones: if your Children a re old enough to have and operate a mobile phone then even a cheap model can be used to find each other at a racetrack. If you don’t want them to have a phone so early it could be just an emergency one with your number and limited features that is brought out for events liek race days.
- Make sure you know where Emergency Services are: At each track there will be services like first aid, lost children and lost and found. If you know where these are before you go it will makes things easier if you lose each other, or need to seek out help in an emergency.
- Arrange a Meeting Place: If your children are a little older then you can all decide on a meeting spot if you get separated. This should be somewhere busy, but not crazy busy as you don’t want your children standing somewhere on their own. Somewhere near the fan zone entrance or similar is good.
Still unsure if you should take your children’s to a NASCAR race day? Then we suggest you read the link below. Life is about experiences, learning and especially when you are a child it is about joy. While researching this article we came across This parents story about taking their children to a NASCAR race for the first time and it was delightful to read and I am not ashamed to admit had me blinking a little too much.
You might not develop a lifelong NASCAR fan, or encourage your Son or Daughter to follow in the footsteps of Danny Hamlin or Danica Patrick, But you will give them memories filled with fun, joy and more than a little excitement and that certainly counts for a lot.
Well it does to me anyway.