Drivers give fast food new meaning Some NASCAR stars eat snacks even while on the track

Some NASCAR stars eat snacks even while racing on the track

When I sit down to watch a NASCAR race with friends I like to have cheese and crackers. That got me wondering what race car drivers like to eat before a race.

I have to admit I was a little surprised at what I found out.

Some of the drivers start preparing the night before a race by drinking extra fluids and eating certain foods.

Water and carbohydrates are top on the list as most important, followed by proper nutrition, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.

I used to go to about 10 Sprint Cup races a year and, when I went to Pocono International Speedway, I would bring driver Ken Schrader and his pit crew a big tray of baked ziti. They were always more than happy to have a tray full of carbohydrates to eat before the race.

The NASCAR hauler always had a bowl of fruit on the counter for everyone. Bananas made up most of the fruit bowl. I remember always seeing the late Dale Earnhardt eating a banana before a race.

Of course, like anyone, the drivers all have a favorite food.

Tony Stewart loves chili, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s favorite snack is chips and salsa, Jimmie Johnson likes cheeseburgers, Jeff Gordon enjoys rocky road ice cream and Kevin Harvick likes Mexican food.

I learned Carl Edwards likes anything that's high in carbohydrates and Kyle Busch doesn't eat or drink anything particular to prepare himself before a race. He doesn't even start hydrating himself until the start of the race.

Some of the drivers eat protein bars in the race car during caution laps to help keep up their energy.It's not just the race car that needs fuel... so does the body.

In one race, drivers can lose five to 10 pounds of water weight by sweating in the race car.

Like the drivers, race fans have their favorite foods and snacks while watching a race.

I asked Matt Carey of the Carey and Coffey radio talk show, that talks about NASCAR Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. on 940/1510 am radio, if he has a favorite food he likes to eat while watching the race.

"At home watching the race, it's always beer and peanuts," Matt said. "Depending on the start time of the race, pizza or something on the grill. If the race is boring then grilling is great because you can half listen to the TV and half grill."

And speaking of grilling, most of the Sprint Cup teams have a person who travels along just to do the grilling prior to the race.

It's not just the drivers that have to prepare themselves. The pit crews do, too.

I remember being in Dover one very hot day in June a few years ago. It was 104 degrees and the asphalt on pit road was 112. The commentators wanted the people at home to see how hot it really was, so they cracked open an egg on the hood of one of the race cars on pit road, and fried it.

That's how hot pit road can be for the crew guys.

nWhip City Speedway: Peter Dance (4).

nStafford Motor Speedway, Lebanon Valley and Accord Speedway were all rained out.

The Sprint Cup guys are at Watkins Glen this Sunday.