72049588_MThinking of attending a NASCAR race? Even if you envision watching 43 cars going around in a circle as a bit boring, attending a race will flip that notion on its wheels.

If this is your first-ever race, here’s a quick primer to make your race-day experience more fun, enjoyable, and memorable.

  1. Take the high road. The higher the seats, the better, as you will have an unimpeded view of position changes, pit stops and even those spectacular metal-grinding crashes. If you’re seated in the first 20 rows, drivers whizzing by at 180 miles-per-hour will be nothing more than a blur. Bring a seat cushion or a chair back, and make sure you pack a pair of binoculars, even if you’re seated close to the action.
  2. Visit the event’s website. Check the event’s parking information and restrictions on what you can bring with you. Save money by stuffing a backpack with food and water (most venues allow food and beverages to be carried in), but be prepared to have it checked by security. With as many as 100,000 attendees jostling for parking, don’t expect to find a close parking spot.
  3. Plan ahead. Arrive at least four hours before the race starts, as there are a lot of things you can do and see. Drivers bring along their merchandise trailers, and most of them hang around early in the day signing autographs. Also, don’t forget to bring a camera. Some fans also buy pit passes. Imagine the thrill of chatting with drivers and their crew!
  4. Take ear protection. NASCAR races are loud! You’re going to hear the roar of the engines and feel the sound vibrations as the drivers fly by, so protect your ears.
  5. Other must-bring items. Here are a few other things you should bring along: Cash (for vendors who don’t accept cards), sunscreen, a hat, a pair of sunglasses and maybe one of those mini fans that sprays a mist of water. Be prepared for cool mornings, followed by hot afternoons, and have a poncho on hand in case of rain. Lastly, wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers.
  6. Beat the traffic. Unless you don’t mind sitting in traffic for hours waiting to exit the event, you might want to consider leaving early.