Matt Kenseth (20) battles for position during the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, Feb. 28, 2016.

Tailgating at Atlanta Motor Speedway: A Complete Guide

We're gearing up for another NASCAR season in Georgia, and it's time to start planning the tailgate cuisine you'll serve friends and family at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). If you've never been to AMS in Hampton, you're going to love the way Georgia's premier racing venue welcomes tailgating NASCAR fans.

The 1.54-mile track at Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of the premier motorsports facilities in the country.
The 1.54-mile track at Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of the premier motorsports facilities in the country.

The Speedway's hundreds of acres of free parking provide the perfect tailgating venue. If you plan to come early and stay late on race weekend, you also have the option of spending the night in one of several camping areas, which will expand the tailgating possibilities. Whether you enjoy camping at the racetrack in your tent, pop-up camper or RV, there's a place to do it at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

There's nothing quite like being surrounded by the roar of the cars and the tangible excitement of thousands of fans to make a tailgate party unforgettable. So, what do you need to know to get started on tailgating stardom at Atlanta Motor Speedway? Here's a quick list of tips to start your engines revving:

NOKDUE; Shutterstock.com
NOKDUE; Shutterstock.com

Let’s get down to planning your AMS tailgating menu. Never cooked a meal on the pavement? Here are some basic rules:

Plan appetizers, entrees, desserts and beverages around available space, equipment and time. Bringing the grill or smoker or cooking it all on the RV cooktop? As you create your menu, make a list of the prepping, cooking and serving equipment you’ll need to be successful.

Serve fan-friendly food. Georgia favorites like barbecue and burgers will always please a crowd. Or go wild and create something completely unexpected, but do a qualifying run at home to smooth out the bumps first.

Shop local for the freshest produce, meat and seafood.

Combine colors to make your menu memorable. Throw a few personal touches into tried and true cookout favorites. Don't be afraid to mix cuisines — think eggrolls with tiny tacos, or Brunswick stew with dessert crepes.

Keep the party between the lines. Contain your festivities to your own parking or camping space. The neighbors will love you for it!

Spice things up by giving your creations NASCAR-themed names.

Keep food safety in mind while prepping, cooking, serving and storing your specialties. Bring plenty of ice and the proper equipment to keep hot foods hot throughout your party. This is where shade canopies can help, as well, by protecting your creations from the heat, wind and dust.

Use available resources for more ideas for your tailgating menu. The internet makes this part easy. Virtually every cooking show's website offers ideas for food that's easy to cook at the racetrack or stadium. Even NASCAR gets into the act! Here's a fun article from the NASCAR website on how to maximize your tailgating experience, written by a tailgating expert.

Hear the roar of the engines at the Atlanta Motor Speedway
Hear the roar of the engines at the Atlanta Motor Speedway

Ramp up anticipation as we race toward this year's NASCAR season by planning for food your racing fans won't soon forget. Atlanta Motor Speedway is ready to play host to your epic tailgating event, so get your tickets, get your gear together and get there March 5. The season's just getting started!

Published: February 2017