Why Are NASCAR Tickets So Expensive? (Cost Explained)

If you ever watched a race in person, you probably know how expensive NASCAR tickets are. And while purchasing your passes for the next race, you might grumble at the ever-increasing price. This can leave many fans wondering just why NASCAR tickets are so expensive.

NASCAR tickets are so expensive because demand is far greater than supply. The cost of NASCAR tickets varies depending on the event, the year, and where you plan on sitting. However, even the cheapest NASCAR tickets cost at least $30 dollars per person at Cup Series events.

Below, we will explore why NASCAR tickets are so expensive and what drives up their prices. We will also look at NASCAR’s biggest events and determine how much it costs to see the race live at even the cheapest price of admission, and whether tickets are truly refundable.

How Much Do NASCAR Tickets Cost?

The cost of NASCAR tickets varies by season. In 2022, tickets at the NASCAR Cup Series level usually cost at least $30 to sometimes $60, depending on the event. Some tickets can run as little as $27 at lesser-known or newer events on the Cup Series schedule.

However, it’s important to remember that NASCAR has multiple divisions below the Cup Series. Tickets start at prices around $25 to $50 for Xfinity Series events, while the Camping World Truck Series tickets often start between $15 and $40. Like their Cup Series counterparts, events that have difficulty drawing crowds may run even cheaper

If you’re looking for the ultimate experience at a major event, the most expensive tickets lie at the start-finish line on the middle to lower levels. These tickets may cost an astounding $1,800 or more.

So, if $30 is often the lowest for a typical NASCAR Cup Series event and $1,800 is the highest, what is the average cost?Luckily, you won’t need to spend four-figures if you plan on taking a family of four or five to an event since the average NASCAR ticket price is roughly $120.

NASCAR Ticket Prices At Notable Events

Depending on the number of tickets available, start times, the overall demand, and the year, the average price for NASCAR events vary. For example, the Daytona 500 will always cost far more than the Goodyear 400 at Darlington.

Even mid-tier events like the Talladega races and the Sonoma Raceway event cost more than the $120 average. In 2022, Talladega’s spring race averaged $127 per ticket while the Sonoma event ran at $125.

In contrast, the 2022 Darlington event averaged $98 per ticket. Newer events at raceways the NASCAR Cup Series hasn’t been to in the past, like the Enjoy Illinois 300 at the World Wide Technology Raceway in 2022, may have ticket prices starting at just $99.

The same holds true for races NASCAR recently started racing at. In 2022, the NASCAR Cup Series raced at the Nashville Superspeedway for just the second time, and its prices averaged a low $87. With new events added to the NASCAR Cup Series circuit yearly, they could cause demand for popular events at Sonoma and Talladega to decrease.

This may lower the prices admission at the two tracks in following seasons and lead to higher prices at the new tracks. Or, the newer NASCAR events won’t take off and demand for Sonoma and Talladega increases, thus increasing prices at the two tracks. Prices fluctuate each year, so it’s always difficult to judge how much tickets might cost in the future.

When Do NASCAR Tickets Go On Sale?

Since the NASCAR season spans nine months, they release their schedule during the second half of the season. Once the new schedule emerges, tickets for all events go on sale. NASCAR, however, makes exceptions for the most popular races on the schedule.

For example, tickets for the following season’s Daytona 500 go on sale the second NASCAR announces a date. Another exception is the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race. Like the Daytona 500, tickets for Championship Weekend start presales early.

What Are The Cheapest NASCAR Tickets?

The downside to purchasing cheap NASCAR tickets is that you won’t catch ideal views of the track or catch the unique experience sitting in front of the catch fence brings. And while the lowest levels do not always give you a view of the entire track, you are paying to experience the cars’ sheer speed as they race in front of you.

Cheaper tickets, unfortunately, will put you in less-than-ideal places. This varies from track to track. At some NASCAR events, the higher you are, the better the view. Other events contain tracks so large it’s impossible to see what’s happening on the opposite end of the track. However, some common denominators exist. Every track on the NASCAR circuit consists of turns.

And often, lower-level seats at the turns provide for less-than-ideal views. Therefore, if you’re looking for something cost-effective but not overly cheap, opt for seats higher up, but in the turns.You still won’t catch the best views at the track, but the higher levels will let you see most of what’s going on at smaller speedways and short tracks.

If you want the absolute cheapest tickets, then your best bet is to buy tickets both in the turns and at the lower, but not the lowest level. Tickets all around the track at the lowest level always provide fans a sense of speed, meaning they will almost always cost more, even with marginal views.

How Much Do Daytona 500 Tickets Cost?

Tickets for the 2022 Daytona 500 cost around $500 on average. Tickets started at $178 per person, and two-day passes started at $230 per person. There is no other race on the NASCAR circuit in higher demand than the Daytona 500, so the ticket prices are naturally higher than for other races.

Like other NASCAR events, tickets at the lower levels on the end opposite of the start-finish line and on the turns are often the cheapest. The middle to higher level tickets cost more. The only exceptions came in the first few rows. 

The Daytona 500 is one of those racing events that also sell tickets to fans who plan on spending an entire weekend at the track. They also have exhibition races and other events at the track during Speedweeks like the Duels, plus the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races.

Keep in mind that the costs listed above were pricing ranges for the 2022 event. Expect prices of the Daytona 500 to fluctuate depending on how many fans sign up for the waiting list during presales. Expect tickets to the Great American Race to go on sale in June of each year. However, presales begin up to a year before the event.

Tickets sell out fast so, if you’re interested in purchasing tickets for the Daytona 500, it’s best to sign up for the waiting list during presales. This is especially true if you’re looking for specific seating for the event.

The Best Seats At Daytona International Raceway

If you visited Daytona International Raceway, you are already aware of the track’s size. As you may have guessed, its grandstand holds a capacity crowd of over 100,000 fans, with the exact capacity estimated at 101,500. The 100-level seats are ideal if you’re looking to experience the speed at the Great American Race, given its closeness to the track.

It’s hard to gain access to the ideal 200-level since they are luxury suites reserved for sponsors. If you’re seeking a bird’s-eye view where you can catch the action all over the track, check out the 400-level. The 300-level will place you in the middle of the crowd, but it will also give you a solid view of the track without breaking the bank.

The best seats in the venue are between 140 and 152, plus 344 and 358. Located near the start-finish line, you will see the cars zip by for 200 (or more) laps while the roar of each car’s engine fills your ears.

Why Are NASCAR Tickets So Expensive?

Like any major sports league, NASCAR tickets are in high demand. It goes back to supply and demand of Economics 101. There are millions of NASCAR fans near each track, especially as NASCAR continues to migrate into denser metropolitan areas. With a limited supply of tickets coupled with millions seeking to attend a race, NASCAR has little choice but to raise their prices for Cup Series tickets.

It also explains why NASCAR tickets run cheaper at the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series levels. Most fans would rather attend the Cup Series events to watch established stars instead of up-and-coming stars at the lower levels. It’s a fan mentality that’s no different than the cost of NFL tickets versus tickets to minor leagues, or of an NHL game versus an AHL game.

Coupled with demand, NASCAR must also consider the event’s prestige. Tickets to the Daytona 500 will always cost more than tickets to an event at a venue NASCAR has never raced at. Besides Daytona, expect to pay at least three-figures per ticket for events like the Bristol Dirt Race, the 600-mile race at Charlotte, the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race, and events at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

How To Pay Less At A NASCAR Event

If you are cash-strapped but would like to attend a NASCAR race, you don’t need to pay an astronomical amount for NASCAR tickets. First, buy cheaper tickets to NASCAR Cup Series events. Find tickets in the turns or in the lower levels. While they will obscure your view of the track, you will still get a unique racing experience.

Or, if you would like better seats but cannot swing the high prices, opt for an Xfinity or Camping World Truck Series event. While the best seats at the track still cost three figures, lower demand will naturally drive down prices.

Also, tickets to the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series make for ideal family-friendly outings. Like minor league baseball and AHL hockey, expect more laid-back atmospheres at the lower series with less die-hard and more casual fans in attendance.

Save Money At NASCAR Cup Series Events

You can also get thrifty if you do still pay premium prices for NASCAR Cup Series tickets. Costs like merchandise, concessions, parking, and overnight stays near the track add up fast and you may wind up outspending your budget. So how do you spend within your means at a NASCAR event?

First, find the cheapest parking possible. Some NASCAR venues offer free parking. Often, these parking spots are farther from the track, so expect to walk a little more. If you are driving in from outside the area, look for hotels farther from the event. While you will need to drive longer distances, hotels closest to the track will fill quickly and the venues raise their prices on race weekends.

Set a pre-planned budget for all merchandise purchases. Your best bet is to carry cash and leave the debit or credit card in a safe at the hotel. This will keep you from succumbing to impulse buying, because there will be some nice driver memorabilia at the event.

However, many tracks have gone cashless. So, before you leave your credit or debit card behind, double check with the track’s website to ensure they accept cash.

Bringing Food To NASCAR Events

Refrain from buying food and beverages inside the venue. Instead, eat lunch at a local restaurant before you head into the racetrack. Following the race, swing back around at another restaurant for dinner.

Many NASCAR tracks allow you to bring select food and beverages into the grandstand. Note that tracks require you to bring either clear bags or soft-sided coolers. And be sure to check the track’s website for permitted dimensions and maximum number of coolers.

Can You Buy NASCAR Tickets At The Race?

You can sometimes buy NASCAR tickets at the race, but this won’t be possible for all races. The actual ticket policies for individual tracks vary, so always be sure to visit their respective websites to check for their ticket policies.

You can find information in the FAQ section of each website, and they will give you step-by-step guides in purchasing your tickets. Most tracks share contact information for their ticket office, which are open during regular business hours five days a week. They also list their operating hours at the ticket office, and whether they allow you to purchase tickets at the gates.

Other venues open select offices for fans to purchase tickets on race day. However, they encourage you to buy tickets in advance online given their high volume of ticket sales for each NASCAR event. All tracks may have ticket agents and ticket booths available on race day. But their websites are not always clear on whether they sell tickets at the track.

For tracks that do not clearly state whether they sell tickets at the track, contact them ahead of time for confirmation. It is also wise to remember that each NASCAR track can change their ticket policies at any time.So, before you venture to a track without tickets, contact any respective track and inquire about ticket availability on race day.

NASCAR’s Will Call Policy

Many NASCAR fans continue to ask about whether they can pick up tickets at Will Call.The answer at many tracks in the 21st century is no. Since NASCAR tickets are available for digital download, Will Call is not necessary.

NASCAR tracks also have mobile apps where you can access and download your tickets. If you have never used an app to download tickets, you can speak to on-site ticket agents who will be happy to assist you.

Are NASCAR Tickets Refundable?

In most cases, NASCAR tickets are not refundable. Some tickets are fully refundable if a unique situation arises and NASCAR permits a refund. Select jurisdictions require, by law, NASCAR to issue refunds. NASCAR also allows for ticket exchanges for canceled events.

When NASCAR postponed the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at the New Hampshire Speedway because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they offered a 120% credit toward any NASCAR sanctioned event at Speedway Motorsport-owned venues. Fans could go online and request refunds if they could not attend a race in 2020 or 2021 at New Hampshire, Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Sonoma, or Texas.

Can You Resell NASCAR Tickets?

Most NASCAR venues strictly prohibit the reselling of tickets at the track venue on race day. Doing so will result in serious consequences including but not limited to an indefinite ban from the track. Each NASCAR track has varying policies, so check the FAQ section on their websites for the respective resale policies.

What If Inclement Weather Postpones The Race?

Rain will always wash out even the most prestigious NASCAR events.However, most NASCAR tracks have Weather Guarantee Policies, which will allow you to use the same tickets that you purchased for the rescheduled event, which often occurs the following day.

However, NASCAR and their respective tracks understand that life and other commitments get in the way and the Saturday night or Sunday afternoon race was your only bet to attend. In this case, tracks will often provide credits for future events at the respective track.If you are in from out of town, you may not be able to attend another event at the track.

Fortunately, organizations like Speedway Motorsports own multiple tracks on the NASCAR circuit and they may even credit you toward a race at a different track. Refunds from inclement weather also vary from track to track. Check out each track’s policy regarding inclement weather before you purchase to be absolutely sure of their refund and credit policy.

Final Thoughts

NASCAR tickets are expensive because, as America’s premier racing organization, they have a limited supply of tickets amidst high demand. However, ticket prices vary depending on the venue and seating arrangements. Some NASCAR events sell tickets for far lower prices than others.

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