A recent trend in race track design has been the addition of fan walks and infield fan experiences adjacent to garage areas and pit road. Tracks like Daytona and Las Vegas have high profile access for fans, but a lot of other tracks have them including Kansas, Kentucky, Nashville, Iowa, and Pocono. For a price, they offer race fans an excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with the action.
While they do give fans a unique view of the happenings in the infield, they can make us crew guys feel a bit awkward at times. Daytona is probably the strangest, because not only do fans have a window right into each garage stall, but they can also look down from atop the garage. You end up understanding what its like to be apart of the chimpanzee exhibit at the zoo.
But the awkward feelings aside, I think they are a great idea. Not only are fans allowed to get an inside look, but they give fans the chance to interact with drivers and crew alike. Walking through the Cup garage at Daytona and having fans wave, give you the thumbs up, and hollering good luck is pretty damn cool. I even enjoy those who boo or jeer you as you walk through, it makes me laugh. And I like the opportunity to answer fan questions at tracks like Kentucky and Kansas, where the fan walk is right next to pit road. I enjoy being able to help fans understand the sport a little better (which is part of why I write this blog).
Have you had a memorable experience while visiting one of these fan experiences? We’d love to hear from you. Comments and questions are always welcomed.