NASCAR racing, once thought to be the preferred form of entertainment for only those living in the South and related to their uncle by more than marriage, is now the second most popular professional sport, based on television ratings. Founded in 1948, the sport has surpassed its humble beginnings in Daytona Beach to become one of the highest rated and most attended events with a large and avid fan base.
If you have a NASCAR fan in your life, you know that Sunday afternoons and the occasional Saturday night are reserved strictly for watching the race from early spring until November. If your fan is lucky enough to have attended a live race, he or she is probably even more enthusiastic! Outside of tickets to a race, here are 10 items that will fit in your budget and please almost any NASCAR devotee.
1. Die Cast Car Replica
These cars are available for almost any driver, in a range of sizes from 1:64 to 1:24 scale and larger. Some drivers, such as Tony Stewart, even have a Home Depot branded truck with boat trailer available as a scale replica. Drivers change the look of their cars often and sometimes even drive for a different sponsor so even if the fan in your life already has a die cast car, there may be alternates available. Prices range anywhere from $9.99 up to over $100, depending on rarity.
2. Ball Caps
If your fan is like most NASCAR enthusiasts, he can never have enough hats! From a generic NASCAR insignia to a particular raceway or different versions of his favorite driver, many options abound. From $12.99 to about $24.99
T-shirts, denim button down shirts and jackets are all good bets. Retailers are realizing the popularity of this sport with females and many are marketing items in pink and other more feminine colors and styles. T-shirts start at $12.99 and jackets can run up to $249.99 with all pricing in between.
4. Beverage Containers
From a set of drinking tumblers to a shot glass, this is an item almost everyone needs. Why not have it emblazoned with your fan’s favorite car number or driver? A Dale Earnhart, Jr. stein and shot glass set runs $19.99 while a freezable can cooler for beer or soda is only $6.99.
If your NASCAR fan loves to play games, how about a Nextel Cup Series Monopoly set for $35.99 to give him or her something to do until race season rolls around again next year? There is also a checkers/tic tac toe set for only $14.99 or a 150 piece puzzle of Dale Earnhart, Jr. for $12.99 more suited for the younger NASCAR enthusiast.
6. Kart Racing Gift Certificate
If giving your NASCAR fan a dream gift of race car driving school (from $500 on up to thousands) is out of the question, how about a gift certificate to a kart racing track? Many metropolitan areas offer either indoor or outdoor tracks where your fan can strap himself behind the wheel of a small motorized kart going up to 45 MPH for a real adrenaline rush! Some race tracks allow you to attain the coveted pole position after qualifying and there are even leagues for kart racing. Prices will vary but it usually costs between $35 – $50 to get someone set up for the first time.
7. Car Rental
Most of us can’t afford to buy a pretty new sports car but you may be able to afford a half day rental. Purchase a gift certificate for a Corvette or Mustang rental for several hours and present to your NASCAR fan or just rent the car yourself, throw a picnic basket in the back and hand your fan the keys! Set out for a winding mountain road or long straight stretch that will give him or her the thrilling feel of shifting a high performance vehicle.
8. Computer Accessories
Would you prefer your NASCAR junkie kept his obsession out of your home? How about a gift consisting of a mouse pad (from $2.97), a CPU tower skin ($34.99) and a race screen saver (free or $4.95 with subscription to Ad Free Eyetide) that he/she can use at the office?
9. Barbecue Accessories
Does your NASCAR fan love to barbecue or tailgate before the race? You can purchase a four piece barbecue set with the logo of his favorite driver for $26.99 or a grill cover for $39.99. Add a metal drink pail for $24.99 or Chef Mario Batali’s Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style cookbook for a great barbecue sauce recipe ($12.97 at Amazon.com).
While tickets to the actual NASCAR race tend to be a bit pricey, tickets to the qualifying event or other special races on the Friday and Saturday prior to the big day are very reasonable. Although it is not as grand as the official NASCAR race, the thrill of speed and the smell of exhaust are just as real! Check online for the best prices.