NASCAR: Insiders’ guide to the Daytona 500 – 7 things you need to know

Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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Daytona 500, NASCAR
Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) /

Daytona 500 guide: No. 5 – Food and concessions

One of the things that makes NASCAR America’s most fan-friendly (and cheapest) sport to attend is that you can bring your own cooler full of food, drinks, whatever, as long as it complies with the regulation size. Even at the Daytona 500! Basically, the cooler has to be small enough to fit under your seat. There are still several good eating and drinking options within the track, though.

Check out the Daytona International Speedway site for specifics on allowable and prohibited items.

Daytona 500 guide: No. 6 – Souvenirs

In the past, part of the fun of going to NASCAR races was seeing the village of driver haulers. If you’ve never seen this, every driver and team has an 18-wheel trailer opened up on the broadside to become a store front.

Now, Fanatics has a souvenir tent village with the same thing. On one hand, it’s more convenient to have everything centrally located, but I prefer the old system.

But because it’s at the track, you are going to pay top dollar for souvenirs. I would recommend only buying specific event merchandise unavailable anywhere else. This would include things such as souvenir lanyards, programs and various odds and ends only sold at the track as well.

This is why I recommend doing the bulk of your Daytona 500 and NASCAR shopping at the Daytona Flea & Farmer’s Market — specifically, the “Speedway Village” section of the market. It used to be somewhat of a secret, but by the looks of the crowds I’ve seen there, it’s not a very well-kept one.

The Speedway Village area has several tents full of new and old NASCAR souvenirs. You can get really good deals on diecast cars, current and past driver merchandise and usually event T-shirts as well.