Pictured: Victory Lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
- Legalized sports betting is sweeping the country, providing the opportunity to legally wager on many sports, including NASCAR.
- Find out how legal NASCAR betting improves upon the best fan experience in all of sports.
As a young child, I spent many Sundays watching NASCAR with my father. Well … sort of. Every Sunday my dad would grab a Budweiser, sit back in his leather recliner and turn on the race just in time for green flag.
And every damn Sunday, he would fall asleep within 20 minutes of said green flag, leaving the rest of us to contemplate how to get the remote and change the channel without him noticing.
You see, he wasn’t really sleeping. He was “resting his eyes.” And the second that you tried to change the channel he would immediately wake up and make you put the race back on. He could “rest his eyes” for a full three-hour race and still have the ability to tell you what happened and who won.
It was fascinating.
Fast forward 25 years and Sunday NASCAR races are still something I love. In fact, I like NASCAR now more than ever. I am nothing if not a “daddy’s girl,” however, my perception of NASCAR has changed quite drastically as I’ve gotten older.
Watching NASCAR has not only evolved into one of my favorite pastimes because it’s fun as hell to watch and bet on/sweat, but also because it has the quintessential fan experience.
As I stated before, I grew up in a NASCAR household. My father was a Mark Martin fan, and therefore so was I. But I never fully understood the pull that NASCAR has on its fans until I started attending races in person.
I don’t think it’s possible to really love NASCAR until you actually experience it live. To be honest, I wasn’t at all prepared for the overwhelming sense of community that permeates these events.
I truly love attending NASCAR races in person. Fans can still certainly purchase VIP upgrades, like pit passes, suite access, etc. at most tracks, but none of that is needed to truly enjoy a day at the racetrack.
Buy grandstand tickets, show up at 9 a.m. to tailgate and drink a “couple” of beers, grill some burgers and dogs and you’ve got yourself setup for a pretty good day, especially since everyone around you is doing the same thing.
The sense of community at a NASCAR race is one of a kind. I’ve been to races on the East and West Coasts, and it’s the same at every track. Everyone is incredibly friendly and welcoming. You can tailgate just like any other event with one incredible caveat: you get to bring your own beer in with you at most tracks.
You heard that right ladies and gentleman! At most of the East Coast racetracks with which I’m familiar (Charlotte Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway), you get to pack your coolers full (cans only, no glass) and head into that racetrack to continue the party.
Once inside the gates, there’s plenty to do. Each driver has their own merchandise trailer with gear (hats, shirts, cars, etc.) for sale. Often, drivers will come down to their hauler and sign autographs and talk to their fans.
You can usually spot a cornhole board or 10 while wandering around and there’s always an abundance of concession stands. It has everything you need for a long day outside.
The fan interaction was already enough to tip the scales on my favorite live experience, but while attending the Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during a recent vacation, I learned that there’s even more fun to be had.
Not only can you experience a NASCAR race live, you can bet on it. And bet I did.
A few years ago, Las Vegas sportsbooks began offering mobile betting apps that allow you to bet on your smartphone anywhere in Nevada. And while riding in an Uber on the way to the speedway, I threw some money down on Joey Logano at 8-1 via the playMGM betting app. Considering Logano ultimately won the race, I’d say it worked out pretty well.
While winning money is always great, the betting sweat was priceless. To be frank, I’m not exactly a big Logano fan, but I certainly was that day.
NASCAR has always had an incredible fan experience and the best tailgating in all of sports. In fact, it’s always easy to get friends and family to join us at the racetrack simply due to the fun of tailgating alone, but I’d be lying if I said that everyone we brought along loved the actual racing itself.
Sure, the firing of the engines, first green flag laps and live pit stops are eye-opening for first-timers, but not everyone understands the nuances of what’s happening on the track 50 laps into a long green flag run.
So what’s one way to get causal fans invested into the on-track activity? Sports betting.
Get to the track early, enjoy some cold beverages, hot food and scorching runs on the cornhole board before throwing a couple of bucks on your favorite driver, or one you think can steal a victory, and pad your wallet.
>> Sign up for The Action Network’s daily newsletter to get the smartest conversation delivered into your inbox each morning.
If you’ve never been to a NASCAR race and are on the fence, I urge you to go check one out. Just watching a NASCAR race live is enough to make you a fan if you weren’t already.
If you’re a bettor, there’s more good news. With the U.S. Supreme Court striking down PASPA in May and paving the way for states to offer legalized sports betting, you might find your closest NASCAR track open for wagering in the very near future.
And even if you’re not a bettor, I still encourage you to attend. But with sports betting sweeping the country, the best fan experience in professional sports is about to get even better.