Tennessee’s relationship with NASCAR racing dates back generations. Drivers have been racing in Bristol since 1961, and the Nashville Fairgrounds held races from 1958 to 1984. And racing legends Sterling Marlin and Darrell Waltrip are Tennessee natives — as iconic to the sport as left turns.
The Nashville Superspeedway, on the other hand, is a newcomer on the scene. Here’s everything to know about attending a NASCAR race in Nashville.
Nashville Superspeedway + NASCAR = NASHcar
In Nashville, they call it NASHCAR.
The Nashville Superspeedway is located about a 40-minute ride from downtown Nashville off of I-840 Exit 65 in Lebanon.
During its early days, the Superspeedway hosted Indy Car races from 2001-2008 and NASCAR Series races from 2001-2011. Then in 2021, it brought back NASCAR’s top level Cup Series with the inaugural Ally 400.
The Superspeedway is a 1.33-mile D-shaped oval. Technically, it’s not a superspeedway (those tracks are 2 miles or longer, and wider). It is, however, the largest concrete-only track in NASCAR. It’s also the only track that country superstar Eric Church has ever filmed a music video on.
Make your race a weekend affair
If you’re not already a NASCAR fanatic, you might assume only one event takes place over the course of a race weekend. However, weekends usually always feature three races. NASCAR events feature two other smaller circuits (think of them like the minor leagues) that typically race on the same track Friday and Saturday before the big Cup Series race on Sunday.
Those looking to make the most out of the event hitch their house on wheels and make an entire weekend out of it. RVs are a staple of the NASCAR scene, and the Nashville Superspeedway features multiple RV lots on all sides of the track. These lots open up on Wednesday of race week and close down at noon the following Monday.
Three large campground areas sit outside of Turn 4. Campers can also make use of the Fiddler Flats by Turn 1 and Turn 2. A smaller (and more expensive) lot is also available inside the infield at Turn 3.
Campground rules & guidelines
When it comes to what is and isn’t permitted on your camper, the Superspeedway campgrounds have strict rules. And keep in mind — all vehicles are subject to search.
Guests are not allowed to sleep in tents, nor can they save spots for fellow RVers (RV spots are usually assigned by a number).
Typically, the track sponsors its own fireworks show on Saturday night, thus fireworks are also not permitted in the campgrounds. Nor are weapons, open fires or drones. And as an additional safety precaution, RV-ers are not allowed to bring golf carts, ATVs or motorized scooters.
Parking & tickets
The grandstand features a permanent seating structure for 25,00 fans, and tickets can be purchased ahead of time on the venue website.
The Superspeedway advises guests to download the Nashville Superspeedway App available on the App Store or Google Play Store. This is how you access your mobile tickets and accounts.
Those that don’t plan on camping can find parking lots all along the access road into the Superspeedway. The yellow lot has room for 7,300 cars, the red for 3,500, the blue for 750, and the infield also has a few precious parking spots for cars. For the 2022 Ally 400, 2,600 additional parking spots were added along McCrary Road.
Is tailgating allowed?
Of course, no NASCAR race would be complete without some tailgating.
Elite tailgaters (you know who you are) can apply to reserve an extra-large parking spot for the weekend, where they can roll out their giant meat smoker and various other pre-race party favors.
Permitted & prohibited items
Once you’re ready to enter the Superspeedway, there are a few final guidelines to be aware of.
Fans are allowed one clear bag or backpack of a small to medium size.
Sunblock and bug spray are both recommended. Cameras, iPads, soft seat cushions, strollers and service animals are all welcome. And small flags are allowed as long as they are on pencil-sized sticks.
Insulated bottles and containers are OK as long as they are empty. But keep the moonshine in the parking lot.
Knives must be less than three inches long. If your multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife is too big, they will confiscate it.
Nashville Superspeedway’s list of banned items includes:
- Confederate flags
- laser pointers
- selfie sticks
- collapsible chairs
- indecent clothing of any kind
Keep it classy, Tennessee.
What if it rains?
Don’t even say it.
Rain means a slippery track — which means no racing.
NASCAR has a fairly extensive rain policy. But in a nutshell, if it rains and the race isn’t completed before midnight, you’ll receive a free rain check coupon. Rather than receiving a refund, you’ll be able to apply the amount you paid to a future race ticket purchase.
The good news is the Superspeedway has lights, so races can take place at night.
What if I want to drive on the Superspeedway?
Thanks to Speedway Children’s Charities, fans can take part in a Laps for Charity event before each major race at the Superspeedway. For a donation of $60, drivers can take three laps around the Superspeedway in their own personal (street-legal) vehicle.
Although you might not be able to set the track record (23.27 seconds by Scott Dixon in an IndyCar), you can still put your skills to the test. Dixon, by the way, was going 206.211 miles per hour.
Did Eric Church Really film a video there?
It’s true. Country music star Eric Church filmed the video to his song “Talladega” right in Nashville’s very own Superspeedway. In a fitting not to NASCAR, Church pays homage to good times spent with friends at the races.
Friends, music and racing.
That’s NASHCAR, baby.