Bring lots of snacks and water. Driving while hungry or dehydrated is not only uncomfortable, but it’s also unsafe. Food and drinks at the track are usually not healthy, won’t improve your energy level, and tend to be a bit expensive. We brought tortillas, meat, cheese, protein bars, fruit, nuts, and of course, water. For particularly hot or strenuous days, bringing a drink like Gatorade or Powerade will help keep your body balanced.
Don’t set yourself up to fail. Start in the beginner’s group and don’t graduate to intermediate until you find yourself fighting traffic an unpleasant amount of the time. Being faster than half of your group is a great place to be. If you move too early, you may be a constant traffic obstruction, which isn’t fun for anyone. These were the only vintage cars of the day. All three were comparable in buildup, but each of us were in a different run group based on skill and experience level.
Trailer Your Ride
Even if you are sure you’re a magnificent driver and your car is in tip-top shape, you never know what can happen at the track. The track is a place of high speeds, engine revving, and heavy braking. You must accept the risk that something can break and having a trailer ready to bring your car home is invaluable. If you don’t have your own, or can’t borrow one from a friend, the U-Haul Auto Transport is a surprisingly good trailer that’s about $50 a day to rent. You will need straps of your own to add to their front end tire nets.
Don’t Fixate on the Rearview Mirror
It’s courteous to be mindful of your fellow trackers, but not at the expense of your concentration. There are bound to be much faster cars out there but don’t let them intimidate you. Focus on where you want to go and save the rearview check for straights.
Stay on Line
The line is defined as the fastest way around a track with the least amount of turning, as shown on the diagram below provided by NCRC. No matter if you’re holding up a crowd of faster, more experienced drivers, stay on the racing line. It’s the job of the faster cars to go offline in order to pass. If you’re already driving at or above you and your car’s ability, venturing off line can make you lose control.
Bring your bicycle, a bicycle makes trips to the restroom or cruises around the paddock quicker and more fun. We strapped a milk crate to the back of ours so we could bring things along. The bike came in extremely handy when we had to source a magnet to pull our pushrod fragment out of the lifter valley and when we were out taking photos.
Don’t let the rules, risk, and stress take over. There are a lot of things to think about in planning and executing a smooth track day but don’t let it overwhelm you. The whole point of a track day is to have fun. Take your friends and family along, share this accomplishment with people you like having around. Having a couple extra hands is always helpful as well.