The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America 500 is quickly approaching on October 8. For the first time since 2002, the race will begin at 2pm, and weekend events will operate on a Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule that’s ideal for families.
Here are some race weekend tips for both seasoned NASCAR fans and first-timers:
- Find the Perfect Place to Stay
Does your crew still need accommodations during race weekend? Here’s a full list of hotels, campgrounds, rental homes and other lodging options. You can also find this helpful info inside the Cabarrus County, NC Destination & Motorsports Guide. Order a copy or view the digital version at VisitCabarrus.com, then keep this resource handy for finding local restaurants, shopping, race shops and more spots to explore during your stay. Need additional assistance with finding your home away from home for race weekend? Give us a call at 800-848-3740.
- Download the Charlotte Motor Speedway App
There’s a ton of race day information on the Charlotte Motor Speedway website, at customer service areas, and maps located throughout the facility. But, if you download the CMS app you’ll have all of that information right at your fingertips. Updated in real time, it’s the best way to stay informed on race day.
- Be Cool. Wear Suncreen, Layer and Stay Hydrated!
The Carolina sun can be scorching in the afternoon, but the evenings can cool off pretty quickly. Prepare by dressing in breathable layers or bringing a jacket for later. Don’t forget to lather on the sunscreen before you arrive, and pack a tube to reapply. Beat the heat by packing a cooler with drinks and snacks for the whole family. If you run out, make a pit stop at concession stands and food vendors located around the track. Note the restrictions—Coolers can’t be bigger than 14x14x14 inches, and you can’t bring any glass bottles or containers.
- Arrive Early to Explore
Charlotte Motor Speedway offers dozens of pre-race activities for the whole family including a play zone, food trucks, rock climbing wall and more. Take part in a ton of fun activities in the Fan Zone located outside of the race track in front of Gates 6-8. Shop for souvenirs, interact with sponsor displays, sample treats from special food vendors and stop by the Visit Cabarrus mobile Visitor Center. We’ll be hanging out with you all weekend to point you in the right direction and help you make the most of race weekend.
- Get the Full Effect on Friday
Bojangles’ Pole Night holds more excitement than just qualifying for the Bank of America 500! See the ladies of NASCAR battle in the Better Half Dash, a 25-lap Bandorelo race benefitting Motor Racing Outreach. Afterwards, cheer on your favorite Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver during knockout qualifying that will determine the pole sitter and set the field for Sunday’s main event. Stick around for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, a non-points special event held on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s frontstretch quarter-mile oval.
- Don’t Miss a Beat on Saturday
First, put on something pink and catch the NASCAR Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 300. This race is dedicated to raising awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Your ticket also includes two afternoon Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions, so be sure to reference your race day schedule for planning. When the checkered flag drops, refuel and head to zMAX Dragway to see award-winning country music singer, songwriter, guitarist and entertainer Brad Paisley! This spectacular pre-race concert is a rocking salute to race fans with hometown hero Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Nation Appreci88ion Tour. Be sure to bring your Bank of America 500 ticket—it’s required for entry.
- Catch a Fan Shuttle
Charlotte Motor Speedway provides fan shuttles from all of the parking lots to help you get straight to the action. Before you wave down the next one passing by, be sure you have all the items you need (especially those listed above in #2). Hop on and off shuttles as you navigate all the fun around the speedway before the races.
- Rent a Scanner
One of the most exciting parts about motorsports is the ability to listen in as the drivers and pit crews communicate throughout the race. Get in on the action and trade your ear plugs for a headset and scanner or a FanVision device! They are available for rent at Racing Electronic haulers in and around the Fan Zone, infield, and on the concourse. Fast fact: Racing electronics is located right here in Concord, NC on Derita Road just minutes from the track. Plan to stop in if you’re spending extra time in the area or racing go-karts at K1 Speed next door.
- Upgrade For More Access
Make ever-lasting memories with exclusive access to happenings on race day! Be up close to the action during driver introductions, get infield access and entrance to special driver appearances, and so much more. Visit one of the ticket booths at Charlotte Motor Speedway to upgrade your ticket.
- Connect and Share
From high-octane excitement at Charlotte Motor Speedway to behind-the-scenes experiences inside NASCAR race shops, a visit to Cabarrus County, NC offers so many opportunities for amazing photos and action-packed videos. We want to see how you and your crew are living it up during race weekend! Post your photos with #WhereRacingLives and tag us using @VisitCabarrus!
While you’re here, squeeze in as much action as possible! Check out the other family-friendly activities, and don’t forget to fuel your fun with these great places to eat in Cabarrus County.