NASCAR races are long. Cup Series events often last three hours or more, and that’s without any unexpected delays. One common thing many people may wonder about NASCAR events is what happens when a driver needs to relieve themselves during a long race.
NASCAR drivers do not wear diapers or catheters during a race. Most say they rarely ever feel the need to the use the bathroom or can hold it until after the race. However, racers are known to unglamorously relieve themselves within the car if the need becomes too powerful to ignore.
It may seem strange to think drivers could sit in place for such an extended time period without needing a bathroom break, but there are logical reasons for this. In the article below you will learn about these reasons and what happens when nature does come calling.
Do NASCAR Drivers Pee In Their Suits?
NASCAR drivers will pee in their suits if they must, but it’s not common. Anyone who has taken a long trip has felt the overwhelming need to use the bathroom at an inconvenient time. NASCAR drivers are no different, but they have fewer options to solve their situation than someone on a trip.
Drivers don’t enter a race planning to use the bathroom and they are not equipped with diapers or catheters in the car. This means they are left with two options when the issue arises: hold it or let go in their suits. What happens next depends on who you ask.
Differing Thoughts On The Subject
Drivers sometimes pee during races. Not everyone is comfortable having this conversation with media members or fans, but enough drivers have confirmed its occurrence to know it happens when there is no avoiding it. Others deny ever having gone in their fire suits.
Former driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. admits to peeing in his suit but only when he absolutely had to. Responding to a fan on Twitter, he says he would go to the bathroom during a race “once or twice” over the course of an entire 36-race season.
Earnhardt later elaborated about how feeling the need to pee can be a distraction. So, he says, if the distraction of having to go becomes too great you just need to get rid of it. Apparently, the distraction of having to go is greater than the distraction of knowing he has gone inside his car and fire suit.
Racing With Control
Retired racer Danica Patrick denies ever peeing in her racecar and says she fought off the urge the only time she experienced it. Other drivers say they have mastered the art of fluid management. Joey Logano claims to have the water control of a camel and can essentially store however much water needs to be stored, thus avoiding many in-car bathroom anxieties.
A funny variation of the issue occurred in 2018. Driver Austin Dillon radioed his crew, telling them he was attempting to pee while driving wide-open around Talladega Superspeedway. The problem? His body would not let him. Like Logano, Dillon’s body had complete control – just maybe a little too much for his liking that time.
How NASCAR Differs From Other Sports
Many sports have scheduled breaks where participants can privately and properly take care of business. Fans can even sometimes see a player leave the field or bench at an odd time and disappear into the locker room for a brief period, often leading to speculation of an unplanned bathroom visit. NASCAR is different in this regard − there is no getting away.
NASCAR has no halftime breaks where drivers can get out of their cars and regroup. Barring a prolonged weather delay where NASCAR allows all drivers to exit their cars, they are strapped into their seats for three hours or more. Add on at least thirty minutes on pit road for prerace ceremonies and sponsor obligations, and they must last a long time without bathroom access.
How A Driver Can Last A Race Without Having To Go
NASCAR races can be grueling. Cup Series driver Aric Almirola, speaking on the Whoop Podcast, says temperatures within a racecar are often at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit and can rise over 140 degrees as the air temperature rises in the summer months. Almirola also says he loses “six to eight pounds, on average, every race.”
When the body exerts itself to such a degree, it releases lots of water as sweat, potentially lessening a driver’s need to go during a race. Add in the adrenaline that comes with racing over 180 miles per hour near 39 other cars, and it’s understandable their bodies and minds are often focused on the primary task over any downstairs discomfort.
This helps explain why even the drivers who do admit to having occasional on-track bathroom breaks say they are very rare occurrences. But when the need arises, there sometimes is no other option but to take care of business right there in the car, as this next story grimly attests to.
Do NASCAR Drivers Poop In Their Suits?
While not 100% confirmed, there may have been incidents where a NASCAR driver has pooped their suit. Since drivers don’t wear diapers, the only way this happens is if something goes terribly wrong. There is at least one suspected example of a driver pooping during a race.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart raced through severe stomach cramps and a messy cockpit on his way to a victory at Watkins Glen in 2004. Stewart entered the race feeling under the weather and reported to his team early in the race he was experiencing stomach cramps and may need to exit the car.
His team arranged to have a relief driver on standby and was ready if a change needed to be made. A team doctor gave him some medicine during a pit stop, and Stewart remained in his car for the entire race.
A Gutsy Win
Stewart finished the race in style, winning the race and leading the most laps. After pulling into Victory Lane without doing his usual burnout, Stewart bypassed all the customary interviews and celebrations and instead took a golf cart directly to his motorhome. His team told reporters he would be changing into a fresh fire suit before visiting with the media.
Stewart’s condition was a focal point of the race broadcast, making it perhaps the most high-profile instance of a driver having this most unfortunate accident. But it’s important to note even though he felt ill entering the race, there was no in-car contingency plan made for this scenario. Stewart, like all drivers, was left with a choice, and he elected to make the best of a bad situation.
Do NASCAR Drivers Drink During The Race?
NASCAR drivers do drink during races because they need to replenish fluids during the long events. Drivers start races with a full bottle and sometimes additional water bottles are handed to them through the car’s window net during pit stops when they are requested.
Water bottles can also become the cause of interesting moments on track. Drivers sometimes throw their empty water bottles out of the car while racing. Normally an innocent and inconsequential act, water bottles have been used as the basis for debris cautions. These cautions can anger drivers and fans, especially if the race’s outcome is impacted by one.
One strategy NASCAR drivers use to avoid any messy issues during a race is being aware of fluid and food intake in the hours leading up to the race. Just like any other athlete, drivers must be careful about what they ingest before they go to work because they want their bodies performing at peak physical levels. If they monitor all of this, they have a better chance to feel how they hope to.
Most NASCAR drivers in today’s era are health conscious. They eat healthy to increase their focus and endurance for the grueling challenges of weekly racing. Former champion Jimmie Johnson describes needing to calorie load before a race to maximize his efficiency on track, but his prerace meal consists of bland food like mashed avocados and brown rice, something unlikely to upset his stomach later.
Anything that takes a driver’s focus away from driving can pose issues for them and anyone racing around them. This is their job. They need to make necessary preparations and take precautions to increase their on-track productivity. Of course, sometimes bathroom issues happen seemingly out of nowhere. But if the driver is doing what they are supposed to, these issues can be kept to the minimum.
NASCAR drivers are not equipped with diapers or catheters in the car to relieve themselves during a race. This means they must hold any bathroom urges until the checkered flag waves or let it go in their suits. Although some drivers deny ever soiling their suits, others readily admit to doing so.