Much of this question really depends on what you're doing at the races and what the track actually allows. There are a couple of tracks that don't allow coolers for example, but that will be something I'll address later.
For now, some basics:
Earplugs (Hearing Protection)
I wish I had listened to myself many years ago because of how bad my hearing is. I don't let my kids near the track without some type of hearing protection.
I spent many years at tracks and close to the action and it has affected my ears in a bad way since then. Please protect your hearing, I made this the first one because I feel like it's that important.
At 90% of the tracks I've been to, you will be out in the blazing sun with very little shade, if you can find any at all. If you're lucky you'll be in some type of stands with an awning, but that's rare!
Sunscreen will make your day much more enjoyable. Also, consider a hat and sunglasses to help cover up from the sun.
Unless you're going to a night race, then this probably isn't that important.
Portable Tent and Chairs
Depending on the track you go to, you'll want your own seating and shade. You don't want to try and stand for an entire day of racing.
Some race days can last four hours or more and you will want to sit down at some point. It will make the day more enjoyable with less strain on your legs in the long run.
It goes without saying the food at a venue is more expensive than what you can bring in. I recommend a cooler with a lot of water for those sunny days.
Make yourself a few sandwiches, throw some drinks in the cooler, and you're good to go. That is if the venue allows you to bring a cooler in.
I was just recently at a track that didn't allow outside coolers because they were trying to sell you their food. So be it, but that doesn't mean you can't try and sneak a few small things in a pocket or purse!
There's nothing that makes a racer's day, especially at a smaller venue, like being asked for their autograph. Not only does it make them feel appreciated, but you'll get a free souvenir to bring home with you.
Bring something that has to do with what you're going to see, or buy some memorabilia at the track. Also, don't forget to bring a permanent marker for them to use. Not many drivers walk around with markers in their pockets.
You'll want to capture the action to show everyone for years to come, especially if you're able to get a photo with one of the racers! I can't think of any track I've been to that would frown upon a member of the audience taking photos So you should absolutely bring your camera and take as many photos as you can!
Make up a checklist like I do, so you don't forget those important things you need at the track.
This post was originally published on January 2, 2020.