8 Tips for First-Time RV Tailgating at the Daytona 500

Written by H. Fishman on February 5, 2013

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of auto racing. Why would anyone get an adrenaline rush from watching cars drive in a circle for hours on end?

tailgating umbrella, RV umbrella, auto race umbrella

Having some shade at your tailgate is a lifesaver when you want to cool off and get out of the sun, which is why bringing a JoeShade portable tailgating umbrella is a perfect RV accessory to have on hand!

There are millions of people, though, that do get excited from watching auto races on TV or from their seats in the bleachers and some love to hear the roar of the crowd as they continue to party under their tailgating umbrella. Admittedly, people like me don’t understand the excitement that NASCAR fans feel when their favorite driver wins the big race, or the sadness when their drivers crash into the wall and can’t finish.

What I can relate to is what auto racing has in common with any other major sporting event – the opportunity to tailgate with friends and family during the race.

Daytona International Speedway is the home of NASCAR’s biggest and most prestigious race, the Daytona 500, which kicks off the NASCAR season and is coming up in a few weeks at the end of February. The speedway offers plenty of opportunities for auto racing fans to purchase a parking space for their RV and enjoy tailgating on the infield before and after the race.

If you’re an RV enthusiast heading to your first auto race, and plan on tailgating, here are some tips on how to throw a great tailgating party for your family and friends.

1. Plan your tailgate party menu ahead of time

Plan out all the food that you’ll need for your tailgating menu so that you can bring it with you to the party, including:

  • The ingredients for the food you want to cook
  • The equipment to cook it on
  • The containers and/or coolers you’ll store it in

The convenience of an RV’s kitchen and the well-designed kitchen appliances they come with are perfect for preparing food for a tailgating party, so there’s no reason you’ll have to skimp on the food!

Just remember: nothing is worse than having an amazing hamburger fresh off the grill with nothing to put on it. Be specific when making your list and you’ll be prepared for an awesome tailgate!

2. Pack up the RV, and don’t forget your tailgating umbrella

Tailgating isn’t just about the food – you’ll want something to do besides feast! You could, of course, just stand on top of your RV and watch the race, but you’ll want some other entertainment as well.

Bring some music and yard games to give you some easy entertainment other than food. I’ve heard that people even bring portable satellite dishes and TVs to these tailgates – can you imagine? But if nothing else, just bring a football to toss around.

And don’t forget to pack a tailgating umbrella in your RV! At most tailgates you could be sitting out in the sun for hours on end, which doesn’t make the experience too pleasant. Having some shade is a lifesaver when you want some time to cool off and get out of the sun, which is why bringing a JoeShade portable tailgating umbrella is a perfect RV accessory to have on hand! It’s easy to set up, and you can adjust the height and angle to get the most shade possible.

3. Buy all your supplies before you leave home

If you’re traveling in an RV you’ll have plenty of space for all the supplies for your ultimate tailgating party. Don’t wait until right before you leave home for the race – stock up ahead of time on food, snacks and drinks, especially when you see them on sale. If you try to shop locally near the trick, you’ll find higher prices and less variety than you would at home.

4. Plan for extra guests under your shade umbrella!

Tailgating is all about the people, and when you’re having a tailgate party at an auto race, you’re likely to meet and greet lots of other race fans. There’s a sense of camaraderie to tailgating at a big race, which is party of the fun of being there in the first place.

So be prepared for extra guests, both invited and uninvited. It can’t hurt to have some extra food, drinks, or even lawn chairs with you – if you do have extra food, an extra cooler filled with ice is a great way to store any leftovers, assuming there are any!

Your extra guests will want some shade too, and there’s plenty of room under a JoeShade RV umbrella! It’s a full 60 inches in diameter, and you adjust the height and angle of it to maximize the amount of shade you need. This way your new friends, whether you wanted them or not, can also stay cool and protected from the sun!

5. Don’t park your RV in the first spot you see

While this may be your first time tailgating in your RV, there are some hardcore tailgaters that have been coming to the race for a lot longer than that. Such passionate fans may have a regular parking space that they’re been parking their RV in for years, so you stealing that space is a big no-no.

Make sure you ask before you take an empty parking space, especially one right up against the rail or in another prime viewing area. You may also want to do some research on the track ahead of time to figure out where you want to park your RV. For example, are parts of the infield higher in elevation that might allow you to see more of the race?

6. Fly a flag so your friends can easily find you

If you’re going to be meeting friends on the infield, have a plan for how and where you’ll meet. Cellphone coverage may not work, so a great way for them to find you is by flying an easily recognizable flag. The more it stands out, the easier time they’ll have trying to find where your RV is parked.

7. Dress for success

Being outdoors all day long means you’ll want to dress accordingly by wearing:

  • Layers that you can easily take off or put back on
  • Comfortable shoes for walking
  • Sunscreen to protect uncovered skin form harmful UV rays
  • Sunglasses or hat to keep you shades

You may also want to bring a change of clothes in case you’re caught in the rain or someone spills a drink on you. You’re driving an RV, you should have room for that!

8. Mother Nature may bring the sun, the rain, or both

You never know what the weather will throw at you, even if you do check the weather forecast before you start driving your RV to the race. Always be prepared with anything you might need to cope with the weather, from extra ponchos or rain gear to extra blankets and a first-aid kit.

It it does start raining, from a monsoon to a passing drizzle, you can also huddle under your tailgating umbrella! The same wide diameter that will keep you protected from the sun will also keep you dry from the rain – and there’s even room for some of your friends under it too!

If it’s windy, don’t worry about your portable umbrella blowing away – it comes with stakes to anchor it into the ground. Your friends will stay dry and secure knowing your shelter isn’t going anywhere!

Of course, if the weather gets really bad, that’s what your RV is for! Just head inside and watch the race on the TV with satellite reception that you brought with you!

Now that I’ve shared some of my essential RV tailgating tips, tell us about yours! What tips do you have for making your auto race tailgating party enjoyable?

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