Do You Need Binoculars for NASCAR Races?

If you have ever been to a NASCAR race you will know that the only real time you get to see the cars in when they roar past your seating area wherever that may be. Unless you are at Bristol, Martinsville or one of the other short tracks you may start to feel you are away from the action a little for periods of time.

Binoculars for NASCAR races do not need to be expensive high-tech versions with huge magnification, fields of view and autofocus. A sold, waterproof compact set of binoculars with as wide a field of view as possible and a magnification between 8 to 10 x will be an excellent addition to your day at a NASCAR Race.

A decent set of binoculars will help you feel closer to the race, and not miss any of the action. We take a look if you need, and some of the options for, binoculars for nascar races in the article below.

Our Recommendation

All of the binoculars we link to on this page would be great for a day at a NASCAR Race, however if we have to pick one then we would go for the 10 x 25s that at least one spotter uses and we mention at the end. It is their job to watch the race and you can’t get much more of an endorsement than that.

NAsCAR Spotter Phrases

Do you need binoculars at a nascar race

There is not an easy answer to this as it can depend on which track you are watching the race. the Short Tracks, or even the Mile long Ovals might be ok to see the cars in action, however if you find yourself at Talladega, Daytona or one of the road courses then you might feel out of the race for extended periods of time.

Even the mid length 1.5 mile Ovals like Texas , charlotte or Atlanta can turn the cars on the far side of the track into almost indistinguishable dots as they race round.

So if you have a space 50-150 dollars and know you are going to attend a race or two during a season then a pair of binoculars is in our opinion a worthwhile investment. However, there are 1000’s of options out there to choose from and unless you are going to be using them for multiple purposes, astronomy or birdwatching for example you really don’t need to spend the Earth ( pun intended) to get you and your family in the middle of the action.

We will details some examples of good binoculars for nascar below as well and what aspects to look for when you choose a good pair for the racetrack.

Features of a Good Set of NASCAR Binoculars

There are several things you should consider when buying binoculars for motor racing, such as their Magnification, Field of View, size, and water resistance. These features are important, but there are other factors that you should consider as well.

If you want to watch NASCAR races, you should invest in a pair of binoculars that are water-resistant. Although rain is not that common, especially Mid Season, unexpected changes in weather can occur and damage binoculars, so a water-resistant pair is essential.

You can also find rugged binoculars if you want to be extra safe for those times they slip out of your or your kids hands. There are a few features you should look for when buying binoculars for outdoors use and we highlight most of these in the section below.

Standard Features of most binoculars.

  • The eyecups of most of the models are retractable. That way, you can use them while wearing your glasses.
  • These binoculars come with a carrying case and strap. This case can be worn on the belt.
  • They should be portable and relatively lightweight
  • When buying a binocular, consider how much you’ll use it. If you wear glasses, you’ll want to find a pair that allows you to see the entire field of view without straining your eyes.
  • If you are buying binoculars for young users, consider the interpupillary distance, or IPD. A higher IPD will help you see more detail without straining your eyes.
  • waterproof is a definite asset as we mentioned above
  • Shock or drop proof is also useful in case they fall or get knocked off seats or out of hands.

Fixed and auto focus features

Fixed focus feature on your binoculars at a NASCAR race can be a great addition. However this comes with a caveat. Fixed focus relies on your eyes to do some of the work in focussing the image, and while this is fine for younger people, if you are – let’s say a long time fan on NASCAR – it might cause you some eye strain. To be clear about this long term means over about 40 years of age.

There are two types of auto-focus binoculars. One type doesn’t have a center focus knob and instead focuses both barrels independently. This type of binocular is great for occasional use, while the second is better suited for those looking for a higher-quality view.

However Self focussing ( the traditional wheel in the middle) binoculars are probably better ( and usually cheaper with less moving parts) and better suited for NASCAR racing where you are likely to be looking at the further away from you and then using your eyes to see the cars as they race closer.

Do You Need Binoculars for NASCAR Races

Drop proof / Rugged binoculars

When purchasing binoculars for NASCAR races, consider the durability and weight. While binoculars with rugged frames are more durable, you should also choose those with rubber armor for added protection against drops and other hazards.

Finding binoculars with some element of drop protection won’t add much to the cost and as much as we take care of items my cracked phone screen goes somewhere to demonstrate than accidents do happen and i managed that entirely on my own walking up a hill, not at Daytona with 100,000 other fans.

look for rubberized grips and some casing if you can!

Do you Need a Tripod for NASCAR binoculars

Although tripods certainly help with viewing you may be disappointed trying to get them through the gate in many NASCAR Race Tracks. Large spiky objects like tripods are not usually welcomed. So it might be better to settle on a lightweight portable set of binoculars for NASCAR rather than huge sets that will make your arms tired.

There will be enough reason cheering and clapping your drivers without lugging a tripod ( even if you can get it in) and a heavy set of binoculars.

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Although we mention this in brief above its worth driving ( ha!) home the point. When attending a NASCAR race, you’ll want to invest in a pair of waterproof binoculars. Beer flies, skies open, sweat pours. Making sure your means of seeing the cars is protected makes sense and wont add much to the cost.

Size of binoculars

Compact binoculars are an ideal choice. They are easier to transport and use, and they’re compact enough to be worn on a belt or on a strap. This type of binocular is also useful for other outdoor activities, and since you and those binoculars are constantly moving they wont weigh you down.

Compact binoculars are also easier to see the action. Because motorsports aren’t stationary, compact binoculars are more comfortable for NASCAR fan when scanning around the track or through the crowds in case junior wandered off.

Extra grip

To avoid sweating and damaging your binoculars, opt for binoculars with molded rubber armor coverings. Although rubber armor doesn’t make a binocular shockproof, it does add extra grip. You’ll also be sweating a lot and may be unable to properly grip your binoculars otherwise.

This grip not only helps with grip ( of course) it helps cushion accidental drops during the day.

Eye Strain

To avoid eye strain, look for binoculars that feature multi-adjustable eye cups. In addition, make sure that they fit glasses-wearers. Self focussing wheels are usually the best bet here as auto focuss might take to long in a fast sport like NASCAR, and really there are some things we can still manage to do ourselves!

Do You Need Binoculars for NASCAR Races

Field of view

Field of view refers to how wide you can see something. That’s the non technical version. We wont go into the technical version as its pages and pages. So the in a nutshell version is below.

There are two kinds of field of view, angular and linear. The angular field of view measures the actual angle of view through the optics. The linear field of view, on the other hand, measures the area you can see in feet at a distance of 1000 yards. The larger the number is, the wider your view.

Binoculars with a large field of view will allow you to see a large portion of the racetrack. But remember, if your binoculars have poor optics, you won’t be able to make out details. If you’re aiming for clarity, a smaller field of view can help you focus on close objects while still maintaining a wider view of the entire event.

Unsurprisingly this and the magnification of the binoculars are where costs can spiral. Keep and eye on the budget, you are not trying to spot stars here, well apart from NASCAR stars of course.


Although binoculars for motor racing are similar to binoculars used to watch other sporting events, there are a few important differences between these models. In general, lower magnification binoculars will provide a closer view of the action, and at most, 8x to 10 x 50 magnification will suffice any more and it becomes harder to follow the cars and you actually get too close.

This is a bonus as lower magnifications are actually cheaper as well. ( we have options scattered through out this article and a table of them as well.)

In general, a magnification between 7x and 10x is sufficient for watching most sporting events. This range strikes the perfect balance between getting closer to the action and maintaining a large field of view. A wide field of view will make it easier to view many objects at once.

Lifetime warranty

Lifetime warranties on binoculars, although in fairness at the higher price scale, are available for some of these products. This warranty covers any damage to the optics and the manufacturer will repair or replace the binoculars, depending on the type of damage.

Occasionally, accidental loss or damage to the optics can also void the warranty. This warranty may not cover normal wear and tear, but is usually a good choice.

What Type of Binoculars Do NASCAR Spotters Use?

One of the most important tams roles once the green flag drops is that of the NASCAR spotter. They are the eyes of the driver outside of the 10 ft radius of the car. They will inform them of incidents on the track , overtaking possibilities and danger avoidance. They also have the same limitations as the average NASCAR fan, they can only see some of the track. ( even though they may be up high)

So they need to improve that view jsut like you. There are a few sets of binoculars that are the go to for NASCAR spotters, and jsut like the list of features above they are good, but not wallet breakingly good. Just before that we have an article on what a spotter in NASCAR actually does ( in case you need a reminder)


One thing that is clear from interviews with spotters is that a good set of binoculars doesn’t necessarily need to cost a fortune. Some spotter so go for 2000 dollar sets, btu plenty more get by on 200 dollar sets as well.

They basically look for the following:

  • Robust and can take a knock or two maybe with a case
  • Waterproof (they are stuck on the roof at some tracks!)
  • Good Field of view so they can see a wide an angle as possible
  • Not to high magnification so they can track the race and the action
  • Not to heavy as they will be holding them for up to 5 hours and often with one hand!

As Mike Calinoff a spotter for both Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne has said and we link to something pretty close above.

I wear Bushnell 10×20 binoculars, which are a wider angle than the 10x50s a fan would use. A good spotter watches the whole race unfold and can figure out where his driver might be able to get more speed.

Mike CalinoffOpens in a new tab.

Seeing as it is these guys jobs to literally sit and watch the race through a pair of binoculars we think they probably know what they are talking about. its the main reason these are our recommendation for fans as well.

Do Nascar Tracks Allow Binoculars

NASCAR like other motor Sports are aware that for most of the time their sports men and women are actually further away from the fans than in almost all other sports. So Yes, you are able to bring binoculars into a NASCAR Track.

However accessories like tripods are not allowed at some tracks, as they are log and may interfere in others views and enjoyment of the race, for the same reason selfie sticks are banned as well.


You should certainly consider picking up a pair of binoculars for your trip to the racetrack. they will bring you much closer to the action, and a decent pair is going to let you take a look at not just the race, but also at the pit lanes, the concerts and all the other things that go on during race day.

While you will certainly get a better view of the race, you might also get a better view of your driver and pit crews as the day goes on as well.



Al lifelong Motor Racing Fan, with a particular love of NASCAR and IndyCar racing. Been in and out of cars of varying speeds since i was a child and sharing what i have learnt here.

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