I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but not all bachelor parties are made equal.
There are some pretty bland bachelor party ideas out there. If you’ve ever had a year with a string of multiple bachelor parties across a couple different friend groups, you know just how vanilla and repetitive things can get, quick. Day drink by the lake, play a round of golf, maybe hit a ball game or hockey game, grill some meats, maybe hit a casino or a strip club later in the evening, when you’re quite a few deep. Rinse, wash, repeat.
It’s a sacred cadence amongst a group of Bros, but let’s face it – It gets old after a couple times of the same thing over again.
I’m here to suggest something radically different for your next destination bachelor party or boys weekend hootenanny: A NASCAR race.
Without a common event for everyone to enjoy, a bachelor party is just a weekend with close buddies and a couple randos friends just doing the same old same old. You need a common thread. You need an event. You need *that thing* to look forward to, as a group, for the weeks and months leading up to a bachelor party. You need anticipation, which collectively builds excitement over the course of a weekend. Even destination bachelor parties in Vegas, Nashville, Atlantic City, and New Orleans get stale after the third pool party or fifth trip of the weekend to the same bar so your single friend can flirt with a bartender that clearly hates him.
I’m here to preach the gospel of a new kind of bachelor party, one I witnessed a myriad of Bros participating in at the Daytona 500 a few weeks ago. The NASCAR bachelor party – A dudes destination trip to a race track for a weekend of hangin’ and high speed race shenanigans.
You don’t have to know a damn thing about NASCAR to enjoy yourself, too. All you need is ear plugs (…tracks are LOUD), a soft cooler to fill with beer for the day, a race day outfit with your favorite throwback NASCAR scheme from a vintage store (… Try to find yourself a good Rusty Wallace Miller Genuine Draft shirt from the ‘90s, if you can), and an open mind for immersing yourself in the wild and wonderful world of left-turn motorsports.
Here’s how to do it right:
Step #1: RV, hotel, Airbnb?
In terms of pure group finances, this might be the most important question, perhaps even more so than deciding what race you actually want to attend. The campground experience at a race track is a wild one, where strangers become new best friends over the course of a weekend from lining up beer bongs and shot skis together. It’s a place where you’re welcome to let your freak flag fly, take a few showers as humanly possible, and many bask in the glory of a great camp set-up. I’ve seen my fair share of blow-up dolls, Natty Light wizard staffs, inflatable hot tubs, and Kid Rock 4 President signs.
Most race track campgrounds aren’t ideal places to actually watch a race, but if your group is dead-set on watching Saturday or Sunday’s action from the roof of your Rent America RV, infield life is made for you.
That said, RV rentals + camping passes aren’t cheap, especially when the double-whammy cost of air travel is involved. Like packing for a music festival or any RV trip, it takes a good deal of planning.
That’s why it’s worth weighing options for hotel or short term rental near the track, especially if you’re planning on hitting up the local nightlife for race weekend. Sometimes the best options for group accommodations are away from the track but still adjacent to overall festivities.
Step #2: Pick a race weekend
Daytona. Bristol. Talladega. Darlington. Vegas. Richmond. Charlotte Motor Speedway. Watkins Glen. Martinsville. Michigan International. Dover. Pocono. Indy.
After you have an idea of where you’re going to stay, pick a couple races that line up with everyone’s calendars. Next, research everything there is to know about that particular track, including travel logistics and the racing format itself. Do you want a sacred chapel of 200MPH+ restrictor plate glory like Daytona or Talladega, where you’re truly immersing yourself in the pinnacle of NASCAR culture? Or are you looking for pure Thunderdome mayhem and a chance to get a little rowdy in town at night (Bristol, Richmond, Charlotte)?
Get a feel for the kind of racing you’re going to witness, along with after-hours activities in the destination track of choice. Did you know there’s a casino right next to Dover, a mere four hours south of NYC and a stone’s throw from Philly, Baltimore, and DC? Same with Pocono – Mount Air Casino is just down the road. The Brickyard is great because of the snake pit concerts on Saturday night, as well as the option to bar hop around Indianapolis.
Step #3: Educate yourself
If your unwavering attitude towards NASCAR is “this isn’t a sport!!!!”, then you’re probably not going to enjoy yourself very much at a NASCAR race.
If you’re open-minded enough to learn just how insane it is to drive around a race track at breakneck speeds, you’ll have a blast. Trust me: The deafening roar of Cup cars throttling up to full speed on a green flag is intoxicating. You’ll be peeling off your shirt, screaming LET ‘EM RACE!, and pouring beer on yourself to facilitate the tanning process by the end of the first stage.
To put it bluntly: NASCAR is the WWE in extremely complicated, well-oiled machines that can drive in circles for 200+ MPH. Drivers get fucking pissed at each other, just like you do at a stranger when you get cut off on your commute to the office. Besides engineering and pushing the technical limits of a race car, drama and storylines make the sport entertaining and, hell, that’s why you buy a ticket to a NASCAR race in the first place.
Rooting for heroes and heels all part of the fun. There are drivers some fans love (the redneck second-coming of Messiah himself, Chase Elliot) and some fans hate. And being able to engage with all that is part of the fun.
A couple years ago I rode around Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Brad Keselowski before the Brickyard 500. Everyone boo’d him, with some pretty pointed jeers of “YOU SUCK, BRAD!” from the crowd. He just laughed it off, then placed pretty high. The boos for Kyle Busch – who always has a fast car and gets the checkered flag constantly like the freakin’ New England Patriots of NASCAR – were even louder.
A great way to learn the drivers and follow-along with NASCAR storylines that SportsCenter straight up ignores is by playing fantasy NASCAR. It’s fun to play in a league with friends or as a daily fantasy.
Another important thing in your NASCAR education: Know the heritage that goes along with the sport. Bloodline and tradition is awfully important when it comes to knighting the next stars of the NASCAR circuit. Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr. aren’t in race cars these days (though they’re still around NASCAR aplenty in their roles as broadcasters). Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, and Martin Truex Jr. are still forces to be reckoned with, though some say approaching the twilight of their career. Emerging stars like Chase Elliot, Ryan Blaney, Bubba Wallace, Austin Dillion, Corey LaJoie, and Kyle Larson are capturing lots of race fan imagination, especially as NASCAR and their team sponsors push them to be the next ambassadors for the sport.
Also: Part of the fun of a NASCAR race is rooting for sponsors on a car. Sure, it’s cosmetic. Sure, purists will say that style doesn’t necessarily EVER mean speed. But it’s all part of the fun. The schemes these days are so brazen and garish, it’s impossible to ignore what it means to a sport and how it causes fans to gravitate towards certain drivers in the optics of a race weekend.
For example, Corey LaJoie’s Old Spice car at the 2019 Daytona 500:
How badass is it that Hooters and Mtn Dew sponsor Chase Elliot? When he wins a race on Sunday, free wings at participating Hooters nationwide on Monday for all!
Hot damn NASCAR is awesome.
Step #4: Perfecting your NASCAR group outfit with badass ‘MURICA gear or vintage NASCAR gear
Merch is a big part of expressing your newly-found NASCAR fandom and NASCAR has the best merch in sports.
Perfecting your race day outfit is an important one, in the spirit of letting your freak flag fly on race day. Unless you’re behind the wheel of a race day, in front of a camera, or a part of an official race team, no one really gives a fuck what you’re wearing at a NASCAR race. So you gotta prepare to have some merch that’s going to make a statement and make you a couple new friends.
But don’t think you’re just limited to NASCAR schemes of yore. In the spirit of race day, especially for a bachelor party, it’s about the group effort whether it involves jorts or something even crazier, like overalls and Joe Dirt mullets.
Look how much fun those grown-ass men are happening!
At Daytona, I met five different bachelor parties. All were having the best time of their lives together and really into their overall experience. Some rocked full patriotic red, white, and blues, others bought throwback shirts of NASCAR legends off Ebay for the day. IE: Budweiser Dale Jr. schemes from 2003 and Kyle Petty Mello-Yello schemes, all of which make for great talking points amongst race fans.
I wore a prized Harry Gant Skoal car shirt to the Busch Beer party on the Saturday before Daytona. People that work around racing sure as hell don’t dress like race fans, but damn if I didn’t make a couple new friends from it.
Those SKOAL racing cars were legendary. Hopefully they bring them back some day.
My other favorite NASCAR ‘fit, for anyone keeping track at home:
Step #5: Prepare for the party
Name another sporting event you can bring a trash bag full of beer that you bought at the gas station on the way to track into the grandstand.
Just make sure it’s in a soft cooler or a soft bag. At Watkins Glen this summer, my cousin and I filled up a hotel laundry bag with ice + beers. It stayed cold for about three hours in the sweltering August heat, which was plenty for the Xfinity race.
Step #5: Enjoy the spectacle of race day
There’s a special kind of energy around a race track on race day. It starts early, around daybreak on Sunday – the day of the Cup race – when spectators start pouring into track from miles around. By 8 AM, plenty of fans are slugging beers and tailgating, prepping for the festivities to come.
That sequence of events, usually starting just around the Driver’s Meeting at noon, is special. It varies from race-to-race, but NASCAR gives fans unprecedented access.
I’m a privileged asshole – I’ve watched most of my races in the past few years with a Hot Pass, from behind pit road. But I love the bleachers for watching a race itself, where you can see the turns and the field, along with hearing the call from the track radio broadcaster to know what’s going on (trust me, they know better than you do). If there’s a wreck, I want to see it up high and cheer (or boo) with lots of people around me doing the same thing.
Real talk: I’ve been to the Super Bowl. It’s boring as hell compared to the ceremonies leading up to a NASCAR race. Once you’re settled in, driver intros, prayer, Star Spangle banner, military fly over, and thunderous roar of “DRIVERS, START YOUR ENGINES” are a freakin’ adrenaline rush like nothing else in sports.
Having the experience with a group of your closest friends is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Seriously: Do a NASCAR race weekend for your next bachelor party. It’s guaranteed fun for all and, if you do it right, everyone will still be gitty about it by the time the wedding comes around.
Follow BroBible publisher Brandon Wenerd on Twitter.