NASCAR Etiquette for Newcomers
Before you start your engines, check out my top three quick and dirty tips for how to be a proper NASCAR fan.
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Before you start to roll your eyes at the mere title of this episode, let’s make one thing clear: there is in fact etiquette when it comes to NASCAR. Sure, when you think of NASCAR you don’t think white gloves and proper table settings, but just knowing which glass is yours does not mean you have a firm grasp on manners. It’s more than that. See, the beauty about following a proper lifestyle is that you can bring manners into any element—regardless of its “image”—and always come out the other end enjoying yourself even more than you imagined.
After all, if you know my background, from wrestling to children’s books to business and art and of course manners, I have taken the skills I’ve gathered over the years to find that being mannerly is a universal way of living … even in NASCAR. So, before you start your engines, check out my top three quick and dirty tips for being a proper NASCAR fan:
Tip #1: Know the Crowd
NASCAR king Jimmie Johnson said, “NASCAR fans are very knowledgeable and very passionate,” when describing his fan base. With that, regardless of if you’re a fan or not, before venturing into the NASCAR community, it’s only proper to understand what you’re getting yourself into. After all, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds nearly a quarter of a million people for a good reason—people love this stuff! They didn’t just happen to pass by a venue on the way to the grocery store, and think, “Hmm … let’s see what they have here,” and hope others will be there as well. NASCAR crowds plan all year for these races and because of that are a force to be reckoned with … and not because of the stereotype that it’s all drunken, shirtless cowboys, carrying coolers of Bud Light (check out this article from BleacherReport.com, where I referenced this stereotype). NASCAR crowds are so intense because the sport itself has created an environment to encourage people to simply have an absolute blast the entire time. And being a mannerly person (as you are) regardless of if you like NASCAR or not, you should know the crowd you’re about to go into could be one of the wildest (in a good way) bunch of dedicated fans in sports today.
As I said before, the sport of NASCAR itself is designed to create an intense fan base just by the nature of the event. For starters, it’s always outside, so you have to dress accordingly. It’s not like football, where sometimes it’s a dome and sometimes it’s an open-air stadium. So if you show up to the Richmond International Raceway, a 3/4-mile, D-shaped, asphalt race track in July, wearing jeans and button down shirt, I promise you the Virginia sun will not be kind to your pores. Along with sweating like there’s no tomorrow, you’ll also stand out and not fully be in the in crowd, if you aren’t prepared for the noise. See, when you have dozens of cars racing at over 100 mph, this is not a quiet event. With that, if you roll up to a track and complain about the noise, the crowd will think you’re not only being whiny, but also very rude. That point bothers me the most. Even if you're new to environment, you can’t assume you know the crowd or understand them if you start to nitpick every detail.
Tip #2: Embrace the Culture
Martin Scorsese once said, “People have to start talking to know more about other cultures and to understand each other.” When I came across this quote, I thought it would be perfect for proving my point about etiquette in NASCAR. I mean, you’re about to enter one of the single largest sporting communities on the planet. After you acknowledge that fact, it’s only right to admit that NASCAR is not only a key player in sports, but that the fans are the reason for it. Like I mentioned above, before you enter any community—sports, business, religion, etc.—it’s only proper (again, regardless of your preconceived ideas) to walk right into the crowd and embrace the culture. Sure, you can be nervous in new settings, but if you ever hope to enjoy yourself and/or find success in a new area, you can’t sit idle and wait for someone to bring you in. Yes, most times it’s easy to make friends after someone invites you in by hand, but when you enter with optimism and a proper mindset of, “When in Rome,” it shows that culture you may be a newbie, but you’re willing to invest your time into their community whole-heartedly.