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Flying to a NASCAR race...

ILLINI

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
495
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++++
I was considering flying to a NASCAR race sometime this season with a couple other pilot friends. This would be our first time flying to an event like this and we were looking for some advise and experience from pilots that have done this before. I'm not sure which race we will try to go to, so info. for any race is appreciated. I'm specifically interested to find out if it is generally better to fly into a smaller uncontrolled airport near the track, if there are any additional ramp or landing fees during race weekend, is it difficult to find parking b/c of all the drivers personal aircraft, and any personal stories.

I look forward to reading your experiences on this thread!

Fly safe!
I
 

falconpileit

A/C Management
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Dec 28, 2001
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major pain

Flying into a NASCAR event is like flying into the Super Bowl or the NCAA finals. There are literally hundrends maybe even thousands of planes. The last race I flew to, which was Taledega, I was issued holding instructions 2 hours before I even got to Alabama. My advise is to try and fly in the day before and leave the day after. Of course you can't do that though because there is usually not a hotel room available for 200 miles around the track.

A lot has to do with the airport and with the weather also. Flying into taledega was next to impossible. I've had pretty good experiences flying into Bristol and Ft. Worth.

Don't even think about arriving just a couple of hours before the race starts........and really don't try and depart right after the race. You'll be in line for hours trying to get to the end of the runway.......and do you really want to be in the air with hundreds of other airplanes, both IFR and VFR departing all at once?
 

trainerjet

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I agree with falconpileit. I lived in Richmond for a while, and during the 2 races held there annually, it was busy, but nothing like Talladega or Daytona. I would recommend one of the smaller tracks like Richmond, Martinsville, Bristol, and those closer to Charlotte (Concord, NC). Obviously, at the smaller tracks there are less people, hence less traffic. The large superspeedways that attract in excess of 200,000 fans create an enormous amount of traffic. Especially, as falconpileit mentioned, when everyone tries to leave at the same time after the race.
 
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jaybird

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Nov 25, 2001
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In Daytona it's absolutly nuts. The day of the race, in the hours before it, only arrivals are allowed, and then after the race only departures are allowed, and you need reservations. There are NOTAMs and information for special traffic operations should be available at the FBO's in the area. Flight service or the FBO's should help you out if you call.
 

OtterFO

Flying Again!!!!
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
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Last season I flew on contract for a couple of Winston Cup drivers. First thing to remember is there are usually published routing NOTAMs, they will include arrivial and departure procedures. Link to FAA NOTAM site

On the way out remember, after the car race ends, the airplane race begins. Everyone wants to be first off the ground, and first back home. I spent 1.4 taxi time at Talladega last fall. The flight time back to Concord, NC was only about 1.0.....

Also, the closer a race is to Concord, NC, more teams drive in vs fly in. So races at Bristol, Rockingham, Charlotte, and Darlington will all have less turbine powered traffic than Daytona, Homestead, Talladega, Atlanta, and so on.....

When you go, if you can maintain VFR, do it. some of the IFR routings they give take you all over heck and back.

Enjoy the trip, I had a ball flying the races...
 

aero99

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Nov 26, 2001
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Well be glad you didn't attempt tp fly into the Texas Motor Speedway for this weekends race. The weather has been pretty bad.

I will tell you how it is here. On Friday's news they showed the drivers arriving at Alliance Airport. (For those that don't know Alliance, it is a major feeded hub for Fed EX and Gulfstream has a few hundred thousand square feet also. No carriers are allowed, but freight and private are. I think it is a 10k+ foot runway and nice and wide.) Problem is, approximately 400 aircraft flew in there last Thursday and Friday and they will all want to leave at the same time after the race. Do you wanna be sitting there with 400 Biz Jets and their owners all wanting to leave at the same time?

If you chose an alternate airport than where the drivers come into, better make sure it is open. Alliances airspace was increased to help with the heavy load of aircraft, and the small uncontrolled field I office from was closed all weekend. I did try and attempt to go to the office today, but with a 2-3 hour back up to go about 4 miles I gladly turned around and went home. Point is, even if you find an airport open for the TMS you are gonna be sitting a while.

Take TMS off your list unless you have lots of time and patience.
 

falconpileit

A/C Management
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Dec 28, 2001
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Texas Motor Speedway

I flew into the race at Alliance last year and it was actually one of the better experiences I've had flying to races. They were very organized and the ramp space available there is about 10X what is available at most of the races. We stepped off of the plane and right onto one of their shuttle buses. It had an almost direct road into the race. After the race we stepped back onto a shuttle, right to the airplane. That's where it started looking like all the other races however we were about #50 for departure, but probably was in the air in an hour or so.

Bristol, the week before last was not a bad experience as well. I tend to agree that the smaller tracks and the proximity to N. Carolina has something to do with your experience.:D :D
 

aero99

just a member, not senior
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
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394
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10PM
Good to hear that. Alliance is a really nice facility and they do have a ton of ramp space.

I guess its all what your used to. I wouldn't want to fly into that mess, but then again, I don't get the whole NASCAR craze anyways.
 

OtterFO

Flying Again!!!!
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
201
Total Time
3300
The first race I flew for was a real eye opener. I got my a$$ chewed on by my driver's PR lady because the pit crew's airplane was able to get off the ground before we did. It was because the airplane was parked where she dictated that it should be... oh well....
 

Speedtree

lovin' life
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Jan 6, 2002
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193
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Texas Motor Speedway

I flew into Alliance/Texas Motor Speedway for the Texas 500 about 4 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the only time I've flown into a busy airport for a Nascar event but it is similar to Augusta for the Masters, etc. You need to check all the Notams and make sure you have reservations etc. Do your homework thoroughly and be prepared for almost anything including a delay or two. I believe there were 200,000 + people there that year. We fly a turbo-prop and as soon as we landed we were whisked to a helicopter and flown to the race-track. Our VIP was nice enough to get us tickets. We didn't have time to talk to the ramp personell, order fuel or anything. Afterward we had to wait almost two hours for the line for the return helicopter flight so I had to call and update our flight plan. I would reccommend calling the FBO and getting any special arrival or departure instructions. It was relatively simple. You called clearance delivery and picked up your clearance, got in line behind the last aircraft and only talked on the radio only when you were number one for takeoff. It made it simpler that they only had one runway.
If you like that kind of experience it is a blast. You see all the big-iron you can handle. Just be ready to jump when they say.
 
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