charlotte motor speedway nascar travelingmom nascar family fun carissa rogers

Photo Credit: Carissa Rogers / GoodNCrazy TravelingMom

Just outside of Charlotte in Concord, NC a NASCAR wonderland awaits.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) is one of the best NASCAR venues in the nation to watch stock car racing.

There are 3 different tracks to enjoy races (including a dirt track, a smaller raceway and the 1.5 mile Speedway itself).

People come from all over the world to watch their favorite racers. Some will stay at nearby hotels for a big race weekend. Others will camp out for as many as 2 weeks. Whether you are dragging the TMOM disclosure graphictrusty camping trailer or stopping in for a one night stand, the atmosphere of the Charlotte Motor Speedway is family friendly and a whole lot of family fun!

My family was hosted at the Dollar General 300 race by Goody’s Headache Relief Shot. Goody’s supports Dale Jr. so it felt kinda like we were part of the crew for a night! (Okay… we were just spectators but still!)

10 Charlotte Motor Speedway Newbie Tips
(You’ll thank me!)

  1. TRAFFIC WILL BE HEAVY
    Getting there will be congested, so plan around it.
    Leave early, make a whole day or afternoon of it. There are more than 10 large hotel chains nearby the speedway and camping is a great inexpensive alternative (see #10 below). There’s pyoulenty of nearby fast food chains and restaurants to enjoy dinner or lunch with the family before the race. Traffic suggestions are on the CMS website.
  2. PARKING IS FREE
    charlotte motor speedway diet coke travelingmom carissa rogers

    Photo Credit: Carissa Rogers / GoodNCrazy TravelingMom

    There is free parking surrounding the entire Speedway for your convenience. Check the parking and driving directions page to find the free parking area closest to your seats and/or your traveling point. And
    free trams shuttle you to the entrances. Beware the ‘golf carts’ are NOT free. They charge $20 to shuttle you.
    NOTE: Reserved Handicap Parking passes are available at a cost. Unreserved handicap parking is free and located in the Orange and Green Zone.

  3. RESTRICTIONS ON DRINKS & FOOD
    You are allowed to bring in a small cooler no bigger than 14 inches square. But do not bring glass bottles. You can bring alcohol (in cans only). If you plan to buy a soda, be prepared because it will cost you $5 for a 20 oz bottle! I suggest you bring your own chips and drinks. (Note: Alcohol Free Family Section AA-GG)
  4. DEALING WITH THE NOISE
    —I’m sorry I couldn’t hear you. What did you say?  I SAID IT’S VERY LOUD!—
    They aren’t kidding when they suggest you bring your own ear plugs. And headphones are even better. We purchased kid head phones for only $10 in the Speedway. WORTH every cent!  The sound when the stock cars are speeding around the… speedway at 175 mph is like the loudest chain saw cutting through 18 gauge metal… times 10! Just one racecar is 130 decibels and there are 43 out on the track!

    charlotte motor speedway nascar travelingmom loud wear earplugs carissa rogers

    Photo credit: Carissa Rogers / GoodNCrazy TravelingMom

  5. CHOOSING THE BEST SEATS
    Partly due to the sound and partly due to views the better seats are NOT up close and personal. You want to sit about 20 rows up from the bottom for the best views around the whole track. The Charlotte Motor Speedway has all stadium seats, each with arm rests. You can bring in blankets or pillows to sit on, but cannot bring in seating with arms built in.
  6. HOW EARLY TO ARRIVE
    Before the race gets started there is so much to see and do. It’s more like a family festival going on outside the raceway. There are vendors, booths and bounce houses for the kids! Plus you’ll avoid some of the worst traffic.
  7. INSIDER TIPS
    Get closer to the action by purchasing a “Pit Pass” or a “Driver Intro Pass” along with your entry ticket. These work like VIP add ons and you can go down directly onto the track before the race. Also you can rent a scanner which acts as both a noise reducer and you can hear a radio broadcast of the race including listening in on some of the pit crew directors to their racers {Bonus TIP} USE THE FAN ASSISTANCE LINE: (704) 454-4718
    WHITE A real live human being answers the phone and everything! I was confused about the seating (see #4 above) and I called the help line. Someone answered right away and had several other tips for me.

    charlotte motor speedway family fun travelingmom nascar carissa rogers

    Photo Credit: Carissa Rogers / GoodNCrazy TravelingMom

  8. CAMPING IS AVAILABLE
    CMS is built for camping! So much room very close to the speedway and affordable. Everything from basic amenities to full service camping with pre-packaged amenities and separate camp sites. Talk about a family friendly event! Call the raceway directly to reserve your perfect camping experience.
  9. RESOURCES FOR FIRST TIME FANS
    There’s a great FAQ resource on the CMS website called First Time Fans. The videos are especially helpful.
  10. BUYING TICKETS
    The price range to attend a NASCAR Sprint or Nationwide Series varies widely. From $49 in the 4th Turn section up to $135 for premium rows on the straight away. Plus upgrades like the “Pit Pass” of “Driver Intro” will cost as much as $100- 150 more(some of these purchases at certain races come free with a 3 day race pass). You can purchase your tickets in person at the speedway, over the phone or via the website.

Check out the CMS upcoming 2014 schedule: http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/schedule/

Our family is looking forward to a few specific events:

  • During the Holidays there is a HUGE Family Friendly Speedway Christmas Event:
    Speedway Christmas kicks off Friday, November 22nd with the Egg Nog Jog, a 5K run through the elaborate light displays. Opening night for the drive-thru course is Saturday, November 23rd.
  • Start planning now because in May 2014 the Sprint All-Star Race takes off! And over Memorial Weekend the Coca-Cola 600 gets into high gear. Think 3-day weekend for the perfect family camping NASCAR opportunity!

See the other articles in Carissa’s NASCAR series:

Disclosure: Goody’s provided Carissa and her family with 4 tickets to attend the Dollar General 300 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Otherwise she was not compensated for this post. Her opinions are her own and with noise levels that loud, a headache relief shot just might be in order.