By Joe Kukura
Take our word for it, there’s no better outdoor sporting event to take your kids to than a NASCAR race. Not just because kids love racecars, but because there is so much to do at the track, it’s like taking them to a race, an arcade and a carnival all in one awesome event.
All tracks in the NASCAR circuit gladly welcome your little fast and furious grease monkeys to race day and usually at a discounted price. For example, Dover International Speedway is offering $8 tickets for kids 14 and under for Saturday’s XFINITY Series race on Oct. 3 and $10 for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race on Oct. 4.
So if your little ladies or gentlemen have been racing their engines at trying to get you to take them to watch NASCAR up close, now is the time to do it. Here are some great ways you can help them enjoy the weekend and make memories last all the way through to the checkered flag.
Pack it up, pack it in
Before you start your own car’s engine, make sure you understand the importance of snacks, water and books or portable DVD players, because you’ll want to keep your little crew duly occupied until you get to the track.
There are a few must-have personal items to keep on-hand for the kiddos. We’re talking sunscreen, hats and sunglasses as absolute necessities if you plan to spend more than an hour under the hot sun. Oh, and seat cushions are a great idea for time spent sitting in the stands, and earplugs are also essential.
Gear for the ears
Actually, earplugs should be considered mandatory, but renting a NASCAR scanner and headphones is a fantastic alternative. Kill two birds with one stone as you keep everyone’s ears safe while eavesdropping on radio communications between the drivers and their crew chiefs.
With FanVision, kids will have a fully immersive race experience with the ability to tune into live broadcast feeds, access eight unique camera angles with instant replay, and follow up to three drivers all at once. Dover is selling special ticket packages that include a free FanVision or Racing Electronics scanner rental for the Sunday race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Oct. 4.
Nearly every track on the Sprint Cup circuit has a fan zone, but at Dover, the eight-acre FanZone is more its own world. Located just outside Turn 4, the area entertains kids of all ages all weekend long with activities like rock climbing and simulated racecar driving.
But that’s just for starters.
Grab foam fingers for the entire family and head over to the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, where the kids will have a chance to meet their favorite drivers and get autographs. Plus, the massive, 46-foot-tall Miles the Monster statue with a full-scale stock car in its right hand will blow their minds, and poses as a cool backdrop for selfies.
But wait, there’s more.
Dover’s Monster FunZone offers amusement park rides, a moon bounce, an obstacle course, face painting and a bunch of great NASCAR arcade games. And the best part about it all—admission is free.
Monster Mile Youth Nation
Monster Mile Youth Nation is Dover’s official kids club exclusively for race fans ages 14 and under. Annual membership is just $20 and it provides opportunities for young fans to explore NASCAR in a fun and educational way. Membership includes a free FanVision rental for one race weekend, a welcome gift, a Dover merchandise coupon, a diecast model car and access to the special VIP area in the Monster FunZone. Call 800-441-RACE to sign up.
Keep in mind that taking your kid to NASCAR may be a bit overwhelming at first, so it’s best to allow ample time before the race to become acclimated to your surroundings. These days, most NASCAR tracks offer alcohol-free and tobacco-free seating areas, but be sure to inquire before you go.
One thing’s for sure: Kids will never forget their first NASCAR experience, especially at Dover. Make sure those memories last by preparing and planning properly. Head into NASCAR weekend with an open mind and age-appropriate enthusiasm, and your kids will want to be a part of NASCAR forever.
The Sprint Cup series returns to Dover International Speedway Oct. 2 to 4. Buy tickets now and save money. Follow the Monster Mile on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest NASCAR news and information.