Camping at the NASCAR Track, a Conversation with Sheldon Creed
The 2020 Gander Truck Series Champion
The high-performance stock cars in NASCAR don’t have much in common with RVs, but they’re both vehicles you’ll find at racetracks around the country, though each serving very different purposes.
Travel to any NASCAR race and you’ll find plenty of RVs parked in the infield and around the track. Arguably, the race fans in these RVs may be having more fun than the drivers on the track. The camping areas at racetracks are known for fun parties, a great atmosphere, and some of the best food you’ll find at a sporting event.
The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series wrapped up another successful racing season in 2020. Because the series was such a draw for campers and RVers from all over, I wanted to take a closer look at camping at NASCAR race tracks and what that means for campers and racers alike. Often, they are not all that different.
The 2020 Gander Truck Series Champion Talks Camping
After Sheldon Creed’s epic NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win in November of 2020, Chris Young, of Gander RV & Outdoors, had a chance to sit down and talk with the young champion and discuss his epic win.
While the conversation dove into Creed’s race win, the topic of camping came up. Creed recounted his time in RVs, camping all around the country from a young age.
His family owned RVs growing up. Because he started racing young, they often ended up camping in their RV at the racetrack.
“Mostly we were racing every weekend, so we were in it all the time,” Creed said.
He noted that at his most recent championship win, his family rented out around 20 campsites.
“They didn’t use all 20,” he said, “They used them for space between the motorhomes and had like a big horseshoe area with lights, and it was super cool to hang out right there.”
Creed said that he and his family are avid cornhole players and that he recommends the game for anyone who’s camping in the infield. He also said he’d love to be able to show up to a race sometime in the future just to go camping.
“Me and my crew chief were actually just talking about that,” he said. “How much fun it would be to go and just be at a race and be a fan for a weekend and camp in the infield.”
Creed said it’s been a pretty long time since he just camped at a racetrack and didn’t actually show up to race. With camping being so special to him, he said he’d like to do that sometime in the future.
It makes sense. Camping is a huge part of the NASCAR experience, and it’s the one part that the drivers don’t get to experience in the way that the fans do.
With this in mind, let’s take a quick look at what you can expect if you drive your RV to a race to camp.
What It’s Like Camping At the NASCAR Track
Everyone has a different experience camping at the racetrack. That’s part of what makes it so special. Each track is different, and the experience can vary depending on where you are and what NASCAR event is taking place.
Things to Do and What to Expect
There are usually plenty of events, games, and activities planned for campers at each track. Expect live music entertainment from bands and music artists. Various events are on offer, like scavenger hunts to group bike rides. Vendors set up shop selling their wares, and some events offer extra experiences at the racetrack. There’s always an array of places to grab food and drinks.
There are also often tours of the track and the facilities, driver intros (if you have the right credentials) and some supplemental racing that occurs before the bigger, main events. All of these things are spread out over several days, so be ready for multiple days of festivities.
You can also grill out at your campsite, play outdoor games—like cornhole, and watch the race on your RV’s TV, catching as much as you can while they speed by.
Camping at a race can vary dramatically based on which race you attend, and what features and amenities are at the racetrack. If you’re planning on camping at a track, make sure to take in all of the events leading up to the big day. Taking part in pre-race experiences is all instrumental to enjoying the main event.
The Right RV for the Occasion
You’ll see RVs of all types camped at NASCAR races around the country—everything from simple pop-ups to luxurious Class A motorhomes. Wander through the infield of any NASCAR race, and you’ll notice one thing—most of these motorhomes have exterior amenities.
The exterior amenities go beyond a simple awning and some speakers. You’ll also see things like large flat-screen TVs streaming the race, or outdoor kitchen areas that put some home grilling setups to shame.
In short, race fans camping at the racetrack spend quite a bit of time outside of the RV. They set up tables, chairs, games, and whatever else they need to have a killer time at the race.
I could list dozens of RVs that will fit the bill for camping at the racetrack. But more importantly, keep in mind these key attributes to look for in an awesome RV you’ll use for NASCAR races. From there, you can find the one that truly fits your needs.
Features That Make an Awesome NASCAR RV
Race days can get hot. If you don’t want to get fried by the sun, having a shaded area to relax and enjoy the race is key. After all, you don’t want to spend a lot of time inside your RV. Get a rig with an awning so you can sit outside and enjoy yourself.
Plenty of Storage Space
Storage space on any RV is important, but for a rig that you plan to take to the racetrack, it’s even more of a concern. The reason being: you’re bound to have quite a bit of stuff you’ll bring along.
To have the best time at the track you’ll want to set up outdoor games, camp chairs, folding tables, maybe roll out an outdoor rug and put up flags and other decorations repping your favorite driver. All of these things take up space, and your RV’s basement storage or pass-thru storage space is the place to put it. Make sure it’s large enough for everything you want to take along.
Outdoor Entertainment Center
While the race itself and the spectacle around it is entertaining enough, you will want to have an RV that can provide some of the latest and greatest entertainment features.
At the very least this will include a TV on the exterior of the rig and good speakers. The size of the TV and the quality of the speakers will vary from rig to rig, but if you don’t get an RV with this equipment on it, then you’ll be stuck trying to outfit something on your own.
Grill or Outdoor Kitchen
Arguably the most important exterior feature on your RV on race days is the grill and outdoor kitchen. Sure, you can get a portable grill and lug it around, but if you get a rig that has this built right in, you never have to worry about transporting a grill again.
Many of the higher-end RVs come with a fully equipped outdoor kitchen that includes a sink, small refrigerator, and a grill. If you’re going to be entertaining other campers at your campsite, then this might be the way to go. The small luxury of grabbing a cold drink from the exterior fridge is one that goes a long way.
You can camp at the track with pretty much any RV, but if you have one with the features and amenities outlined above, you’ll have the best possible time at your next NASCAR event.