If you've never been to an auto race you may not be sure what to bring, so I'll offer some hopefully helpful tips.

Let's say you're going to the Daytona 500 in Florida in February for the first time. The track has some pretty strict rules about what you can bring in, so I will fill you in.

You're only allowed certain size cooler that must fit under your seat. The food and drinks at the speedway are expensive, so you may want to fill that cooler with snacks and drinks from home.

I always cook a ham the night before the 500, and it's become our tradition to bring ham salad sandwiches to the track for lunch for family and friends.

Most of the new sections of Daytona grandstands have seat padding, but if you're sitting where they don't have padding, you may want to bring a cushion. Remember, however, at the 500 you don't sit very much.

Any items you may want to bring in the track have to be in a clear bag that also has to fit under your set.

When I go to the Daytona 500, my bag is filled with a racing radio so I can listen to the drivers and crew chiefs talk; a camera, because you never know what might happen; and binoculars in case something does happen and it's on the back stretch and you can't see well... the track is two and a half miles around.

On a sunny day you may want to wear a hat and sunglasses. The glare at Daytona Speedway is almost blinding if you're trying to see the cars in the backstretch.

And don't forget the sunscreen. You'd be amazed at how quickly you can burn sitting in the grandstands on a hot, sunny day.

Volusia Speed Park in Florida is a dirt track. They provide big, plastic safety glasses for protection from flying dirt. If you don't want the dirt to stick in your hair, you'll want to bring a hat or wear something with a hood on it.

At some of the more local tracks, the grandstands are not very comfortable. They're mostly bleacher type seating and really hard to sit on. I highly recommend a blanket or cushion.

Some tracks allow coolers, but not all of them. If you're planning to bring one, I would call ahead to make sure it's OK to bring it in.

Most tracks don't allow umbrellas, so pack a poncho if there is rain in the forecast.

The Waterford Speedbowl has a section of grandstands that's family friendly. There's no swearing, smoking or alcohol allowed.

You would think they wouldn't need a special section for that, but if you've ever been to one of the local tracks, you know why it's necessary.

So, now that you know some of the do's and don'ts at the racetracks, start getting yourself ready for next season.


The Sprint Cup guys are at the Lowe's Motor Speedway Saturday night.