The Ultimate Tailgater's Racing Guide


Auto racing has some of the most devoted tailgaters on the planet.

The Ultimate Tailgater's Racing Guide is for these fans and includes the entire tailgating experience?from camping to cooking, clothing to games. This book is tailored to tailgating at the track and features equipment and customs you just don't find at a football stadium.

Plus, The Untimate Tailgeter's Racing Guide has track guides for every NASCAR track in America, as well as ...

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Auto racing has some of the most devoted tailgaters on the planet.

The Ultimate Tailgater's Racing Guide is for these fans and includes the entire tailgating experience?from camping to cooking, clothing to games. This book is tailored to tailgating at the track and features equipment and customs you just don't find at a football stadium.

Plus, The Untimate Tailgeter's Racing Guide has track guides for every NASCAR track in America, as well as tracks that host IRL, IHRA, NHRA, Champ Cars, trucks, and more?nearly 300 tracks in all!

"Racing fans and tailgaters are a big part of what makes racing America's fastest growing sport. The Ultimate Tailgater's Racing Guide captures it all perfectly and has everything fans need to tailgate anywhere?from the regional drag strips to the big NASCAR tracks. Every fan should have a copy." ?Terry McMillen, Funny Car Driver

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401603342
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/6/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Linn is the author of The Ultimate Tailgater series of books and host of the franchise's programs, shows and events. He is also the tailgating contributor for and Athlon Sports. Stephen is also creator and host of The Ultimate Tailgate Chef shows and upcoming books. A former award-winning television news anchor and reporter, he is the founder and president of 4964 Productions and its publishing division Interactive Blvd.

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Read an Excerpt




Copyright © 2007 STEPHEN LINN
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-40160-334-2

Chapter One

The Gear

Before a race, drivers and their crews pore over checklists and amass the gear they need for the weekend. You may not need a restrictor plate or trailing arm, but you will need a place to sleep and something to eat.

The type of gear you need-and how much of it-depends on how long you plan to tailgate and how big your wallet is. But the popularity of motorsports means you have more options than ever, and at more price levels than ever. We'll get to checklists in a bit (page 49, to be exact), but before you know what to put on your checklists, you have some decisions to make.

For tailgating at races, your gear falls into three primary categories: sleeping, wearing, and eating. For each category, ask yourself a few basic questions before you start shopping:

1. How many races will I go to each year?

2. How long will I tailgate at each race?

3. What will the weather be like?

4. Will I have a way to power a refrigerator?

5. Is the track close to any towns or stores where I can get supplies during the weekend?

6. What's my budget?

The answers to these questions will decide whether you go with a tent or an RV, with shorts or parkas, with gas or charcoal.



One of the things I find interesting when talking with tailgaters at races around the country is how many of them started their tailgating "careers" in tents. Even folks who today sit in fancy RVs and buses often camped at their first few races in tents.

Why not? Compared to a trailer or RV, tents are dirt cheap (pun partially intended). Plus, if you're not sure how much you'll like multiday tailgating, a tent is a smart way to try it out. Depending on the type of tent you get, you'll probably spend $200 to $500.

Of course, you'll probably miss some of the amenities other camping options offer (like a bathroom and running water), but if you pick the right spot, offer enough food and drinks, and ask real nicely, you may be able to at least use your neighbor's bathroom.

There are a few things to keep in mind when tent shopping. First, chances are you're not hiking to Bristol, so don't worry as much about the weight of your tent as the stability and sturdiness of it. Be sure to pick a tent that will withstand the harshest conditions you might encounter. I can't tell you how many people tell me stories about the year it snowed or was 30 degrees, and they froze because they had only a tarp shelter.

When shopping, you'll find three-season and four-season tents. The former is for spring, summer, and fall in temperate climates. The latter is for all year in most any climate. You'll also have your choice of materials, usually polyester (holds up well in the sun), nylon (lighter weight), and canvas (durable, but heavy). In addition to the material, be sure to look at the stitching. Most discount tents have fewer stitches per inch, and often they don't have seam sealing.

You'll also have a choice of aluminum poles and fiberglass poles; the better tents tend to use aluminum.

While you're shopping, it's worth your time to look at freestanding tents-especially if you think you may move around some looking for the best spot. These tents stand without using stakes, and in addition to being relatively portable, they're pretty easy to shake out when you're ready to pack it up and head home.

Another factor in your decision is how many people will be using your tent. If your tailgate crew has four or more, take a look at family tents (sometimes called basecamp tents). But don't just look at the capacity ratings before buying-look at the tent set up. I don't know who estimates how many people can fit into a tent, but I think it's a short, skinny guy. It may say "sleeps six," but if all six are large adults, and you have any gear inside, you may unexpectedly find yourselves becoming even closer friends if you don't set up the tent and check first.

Many tailgaters expand their tents with awnings and other accessories, including sleep screens and tarps. In fact, at some warm-weather races, I've seen people set up basic screen shelters and call it a night. Just keep in mind these simpler shelters may keep you from the bugs, but not the rain.


There's a reason you see so many RVs at tracks across the country. After all, tailgating with an RV means you can easily take your tailgate setup with you anywhere, and it offers many of the comforts of home-like the bathroom the guy in the tent will be asking to use.

The type of RV you want is based in large part on the type of tailgater you are and if you'll use your RV for more than just tailgating. You'll find everything from truck campers for weekenders to travel trailers to motorhomes suitable for rock stars. How do you know if you're a weekender or a rock star? Besides the whole can-you-sing thing, ask yourself these questions:

1. Will I use my RV for a couple of races or for traveling all year?

2. Will I be making long trips?

3. How many people will sleep in it?

4. How much storage room do I need for my tailgating gear?

5. How much, and what type, of cooking will I do?

6. Will I have an entertainment center?

7. Do I need to tow a car?

8. What's my budget?

How you answer those questions will help you decide what type of RV is best for you.


These are the units that fit onto a pickup truck. They are an economical choice and a practical choice for people who may tailgate at just a few races each year (especially if you already have the pickup).

Most of these units can sleep four and come with jacks so you can detach it, set it up in your tailgate space, and then have use of your pickup. When looking at truck campers, check out amenities like a bathroom, a shower, some sort of kitchen, and air conditioner units.

If you can afford it (these campers will run you about $12,000 and up), you may want to get one with pop-up roofs or slide-outs to increase your living area.


These trailers are 15 to 20 feet long and can be had for just a few thousand dollars. Depending on the model, they can sleep up to eight people and include a kitchen area with a stove and refrigerator. Some models also have bathrooms.

This lightweight trailer can be pulled by almost any vehicle, including many compact cars. And unlike its larger siblings, it's light enough that you can unhook it and maneuver it by hand into tight spaces. (Plus, picking up a trailer and moving it by hand is a great way to impress a date; just don't mention the whole "lightweight" thing.)

Of course, like any trailer, it can't drive itself, so you'll have two vehicles to park, which can get tricky at some tracks that have smaller spaces or don't allow you to park the towing vehicle overnight in the campground. (Check the Track Guides beginning on page 111 to find out about those restrictions.)


This style trailer is a little larger than the folding camping trailer (by 4 or 5 feet) and offers a few more standard amenities. Most models can sleep up to eight people and offer pop-outs for more living area.

They may be bigger, but they are still light enough to be pulled by most midsized cars. Expect to pay closer to $10,000 for one of these.


In this case, being the fifth wheel is a good thing.

These trailers are towed by pickups or similar vehicles with a special "fifth wheel" hitch. They are one of the most spacious RVs on the road, with taller ceilings and more slide-outs and other amenities than most RVs. Up to eight can sleep comfortably in most models, which also have many of the comforts of home: bathrooms, showers, kitchens, and entertainment centers.

It is bigger (21-40 feet) and more spacious, but it is a trailer so it will take more practice to maneuver; unlike the smaller, lighter trailers, you must take care to match the weight of the fifth wheel travel trailer to the towing capacity of your vehicle.

Of course, more room and more amenities mean more money; expect to pay around $20,000 for one of these trailers.


The travel trailer is the most common RV for general use. But many don't look like RVs at all on the inside.

You may still tow them, but some models come with roof-top patios, fireplaces, offices, hide-away beds, full kitchens, and dining areas. Some even come with garages. Really.

Most models sleep up to eight, and the length ranges from 12 to 35 feet. Prices start around $15,000; depending on size and amenities, you can keep adding to the price tag until it empties your wallet. Fireplaces and garages cost money, after all.


These gems look more like a bus than an RV, and many have central heat and air, along with baths, showers, kitchens, entertainment centers, several slide-out rooms, and an almost endless list of amenities. You'll pay for them, though. Be ready to shell out $80,000 to $1,000,000 for one of these. (If you get the $1,000,000 model, will you invite me to a race with you ... please?)

While they're anywhere from 21 to 40 feet long, much of that space is for living and entertainment, so many models sleep up to six people, rather than eight.


These RVs may be just 16 to 21 feet long (not that much longer than regular vans), but they fit a lot inside. They usually sleep four, but include a kitchen, bathroom, and shower. You can also stand up in most models since the roof is raised. They are so compact that some people use these not only for tailgating, but as their primary vehicle year-round.

However you use it, expect to pay around $60,000 for a new one.


These motorhomes are the ones that have a bunk hanging over the cab. Probably the most common RVs for tailgaters, they offer the same amenities as most motorhomes-but for less money (expect to pay $50,000 and up). You can sleep up to six in most models, which are 21 to 35 feet long. Inside you'll find a bathroom, shower, and kitchen, and many have slide-outs to offer more living space.

No matter what type of RV you settle on, there are some features you should ask about if they don't come standard:

A storage area under the floor with enough room to stash your grill, folding tables, chairs, and other supplies

Air conditioner

LP furnace

Hardwired generator

A video back-up system (they don't have back windows, and you want to see what's behind you)

An awning (which you will find more than useful for setting up the conversation area for your tailgate party)

Once you arrive at the track, you'll find most have specific camping areas for RVs. Check the Track Guides (beginning on page 111) for details on those, and it's always wise to check the track's Web site before you leave to see whether there's anything else you should know.

If you find yourself in a bind for a night, most Wal-Marts will let you park RVs overnight for free. It's not a company policy-it's up to each store's manager-but most permit it. Call to be sure, though.


There's one other vehicle you see scattered about the lots at races, mostly in the lots alongside the track or in the infield: buses.

Some are expensive custom coaches outfitted with stuff you probably wouldn't mind having in your house. But most are custom buses whose former life was most likely taking kids to Spring Valley Elementary.

Some of the most fun tailgating vehicles are the converted, rebuilt, and customized school buses. Some are gutted and turned into traveling hotel suites. Many are more modest in appointment but show the spirit of the fans who ride in them.

Not only do the buses provide a way to get to the track and a place to sleep, but they also offer height. Look across the infield, just outside the track fences, or along the drag strips, and you'll see platforms on top of these vehicles (as well as atop several RVs) sporting everything from standing-room-only balconies, to chairs, to couches with side tables that border on being elevated living rooms.

If you want to go this route, it's actually cheaper than you might think. At least for the bus (the customization is where you'll drop some cash). A quick search of eBay finds used school buses for as little as $300-but you might want to have that one checked out by a mechanic first.


Your tailgate attire needs to be more thought-out than just tossing on an old pair of jeans and a #6 hat. Your outfit will be scrutinized and talked about-from what driver is on your shirt to what color your face paint is.

Not only does what you wear say something about who you are (and who you support), but it can also mean the difference between being comfortable for the next several days or becoming good friends with the track medics. I'm sure they're nice folks, but that's not why you came to the race.

Build your tailgating wardrobe the same way you build your work and casual wardrobes. And I do mean "build" your tailgating wardrobe. Choose pieces that can mix, match, and coordinate during the days you're at the track. Not only will this help you layer up for cool nights (and down for hot days) in proper style, but it will also help prevent you from packing seven suitcases for the trip. Fewer suitcases in the car means more room for food and drinks.

While there are millions of ways to jazz up your racing wardrobe (literally-an Internet search for "NASCAR apparel" turns up about 5 million Web sites), the best way to show your spirit is on outerwear. Jackets, coats, rain ponchos, hats, sweatshirts, and the like will help you dress for the elements while still letting everyone know you think Tony Stewart is taking the checkered flag. (Do try to avoid wearing checkered-flag clothing, though. It really doesn't look good on anyone.)

While it may not meet the technical definition of clothing, another item you'll find useful and available in any number of racing themes is the fanny pack. These are great for carrying everything from sunscreen and a cell phone to your camera and Sharpie for autograph opportunities. If you don't like the way the fanny pack looks on your fanny, opt for a small backpack.

No matter what you wear, just remember to dress for comfort. You're going to be out there for a few days. It will be hot. It will rain. You need to be prepared.


Whether you follow stock cars, dragsters, open wheel, or trucks, a good portion of the racing season is in the summer. And a lot of the races are in the South or the desert. It's hot. Really hot. Dangerously hot. Especially for tailgaters who are camped outside the track for four or five days.

So what's your plan? Wear shorts and a T-shirt? That's not enough.

Here's why: people suffer heat-related illnesses when the body's temperature-control system gets overloaded. Normally, your body will cool itself by sweating. But sometimes sweating isn't enough. When the humidity is high, sweat doesn't evaporate as quickly, which prevents the body from releasing heat. When you add other conditions like advanced age, obesity, sunburn, and alcohol, the problem just gets worse. The result can be heat stroke or other ailments that can damage the brain and other organs. Yep, that will ruin your tailgate party in a hurry.

To prevent that from happening to you or your friends, just follow some simple rules and you'll keep your cool.


Excerpted from THE ULTIMATE Tailgater's RACING GUIDE by STEPHEN LINN Copyright © 2007 by STEPHEN LINN. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Tailgating Racing Style....................5
The Gear....................9
Tailgating Setups....................32
Themes and Games....................37
Planning Guide/Checklists....................49
Tailgating Recipes....................55
Track Guides....................111
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