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ThatsRacin.com


NASCAR fans’ gift guide

Ideas abound with or without treks to track

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Dec. 14, 2012

What do you get the NASCAR fan for Christmas?

Well, it depends whether the fan gets to the track very often.

Those who do can use any number of electronics to keep in touch with the action, get clothes adorned with the name and colors of their favorite drivers or find items to help make their experience more comfortable.

Those fans who don’t get the opportunity to see NASCAR racing in person probably would be thankful for opportunities to get as close to the action as the real thing.

Gift suggestions for fans who might not get to the track:

Championship gear: The 2012 season is complete and fans of the drivers who won the season championships in NASCAR’s three national series – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck – certainly would like to help celebrate with some championship gear.

NASCAR.com’s Superstore offers a wide selection of apparel and diecast cars honoring Cup champion Brad Keselowski and Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Championship T-shirts for Truck champion James Buescher are available at JamesBuescher.com.

Hall of Fame admission: There is only one place you can find access to NASCAR and its history 365 days a year (well, 362 actually) and that’s at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. A $50 charter membership gives a fan a year’s worth of access to NASCAR’s stories and history and includes free merchandise, discounts at the Hall of Fame and exclusive access to selected events. One-time adult admission is $19.95.

Speedway tour: Get an up-close visit to a track for a better perspective of what you’re missing out on. Charlotte Motor Speedway offers a couple of options, the “Feel the Thrill Speedway Tour” and “Over the Wall Tour.” These tours give fans the chance to see areas of the speedway not accessible on race days. Tickets range from $9 to $17. Call 1-800-455-3267 or visit charlottemotorspeedway.com for more information.

Drive it like they do: The Richard Petty Driving Experience gives fans a chance to get into a NASCAR race car and get as close to the action as the drivers do. The experience offers a variety of driving and ride-along options at 20 tracks across the country. Visit DrivePetty.com for information. Prices range from about $60 for ride alongs to $450 to drive a car.

Gift suggestions for fans who visit the track often:

Race tickets: NASCAR will sanction 36 points-paying races in the Sprint Cup Series during 2013, 33 in the Nationwide Series and 22 in the Truck Series. None are sold out. So, if you know friends or family who might be interested in attending an event in person, virtually every track which hosts the three national series have affordable tickets, including some packages that also cover driver visits. Contact your favorite track for more information.

Scanner: Many fans – and media – consider scanners indispensable at NASCAR races. There is probably no better way to get the inside story on what is going on during a race than following driver channels on a scanner, or the radio broadcast or NASCAR officials. There are many versions of scanners, with the cheapest about $50 up to several hundred dollars.

Tailgating supplies: What could be more helpful to the fans who make several trips to the track than supplies for tailgating? Some of the must-haves for hanging out at the track include: coolers, cup holders, portable grills and folding tables and chairs. Of course, there is a NASCAR-approved grill, which looks like a keg and is adorned with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s logos for about $145 at the NASCAR.com Superstore.

Cornhole game: A favorite of many drivers and fans, the lawn game in which players take turns throwing cornhole bags at a raised platform with a hole in the far end, is a staple around track campgrounds. Nice cornhole sets start at about $60.