By Joe Kukura
Some people were born to tailgate. Others are satisfied with just a hot frank and a cold one. But this article is for hardcore fans who insist on taking their tailgate parties to the next level. And with NASCAR coming to Dover International Speedway May 29 to 31, the spring season is ripe for tailgaters who want to show off in style.
Tailgating and camping are always encouraged at the Monster Mile, so that means stacking your vehicles to the roof with coolers, folding chairs, folding tables, portable grills, tents, shade structures and more. But for those of you looking to go the extra mile at the Monster Mile, here are some creative ideas that’ll have your tailgating team in the pole position in time for the race.
Start your engines with a shot
Jell-O shots are always a fun way to get a tailgate party started. Show your true NASCAR colors by preparing shots at the house with the colors of your favorite driver. Blueberry and lime for Jimmie Johnson, apple and orange for Dale Earnhardt Jr., and lime and orange for Danica Patrick are just a few flavor tandems that should attract all kinds of new friends at the track.
Crazy-affordable NASCAR decorations
You do not have to pay top dollar for party decorations. There are ridiculously inexpensive checkered flag pennants, stock-car-theme tablecloths, paper plates, cups and party supplies available all over the Internet for under $5. Amazon is a great place to start.
Toy cars are a big deal
Sets of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars are all the rage and all kinds of nostalgia at NASCAR, and they make for sporty table decorations to boot. Kids love them and they serve as paperweights for your napkins if it gets windy. You can easily find used ones on sites like eBay or Craigslist for a dollar or two apiece.
If you really want to splurge—say, four or five dollars—opt for the larger toy cars and use them as centerpieces to keep your black-and-white checkered tablecloths intact.
Miles the Monster
The 46-foot-tall monument at Victory Plaza is an absolute showstopper at Dover, and if you’re aiming to do some crowd-pleasing, you’re going to want to feature Miles in your tailgating repertoire. You can make it easy on yourself by purchasing a Miles the Monster plush figure ahead of time, but where’s the fun in that?
Consider replicating your own version of Miles as a makeshift statue or a dessert. Throw some cardboard boxes and tinfoil together or use those skills you picked up in workshop class to come up with something more ambitious.
If you go the dessert route, try frosting several small cakes together into the shape of Miles, or spread gray frosting on a Miles-shaped batch of Rice Krispie treats and use Red Hots for the eyeballs.
Race at your own pace
Racing your own car in the parking lot is illegal, but getting behind the wheel of a remote-controlled racecar is much safer and just as fun.
Break out some jumbo chalk and draw your very own Monster Mile on the pavement and start a round robin or single-elimination tournament among neighboring tailgaters. Use a wash-away marker to draw a bracket on your buddy’s windshield to keep track of participating drivers and winning times. The driver with the fastest thumbs gets dibs on the first rack of ribs.
Many websites, like HobbyTron, offer affordable RC cars for as little as $15. Just be sure to bring extra batteries or rechargeables for the remotes.
Make your plans now to tailgate in exceptional style for NASCAR weekend at Dover, May 29 to 31. Purchase tickets and premium camping packages at doverspeedway.com.