There are tents, sleeping bags, coolers and grills, but these campers aren't in the middle of the woods. Hundreds of people have staked their place at Watkins Glen International in anticipation of this weekend's NASCAR event. Our Bill Mich caught up with some fans who are calling the Glen home for the next few days.
SCHUYLER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Wednesday at Watkins Glen International could be described as the calm before the storm as the NASCAR weekend officially kicks off on Thursday. But that did not stop hundreds of people from making their way to the track to start camping out, bringing along only the essentials.
"A grill, beer and a place to sleep."
Camping at the track is something that many fans look forward to all year long. Some people we spoke with say this is the one vacation they get a year. Others say if you are going to take the time to camp out at the track, it's go big or go home.
“Basically we take up an acre of land. We have a couple of RVs that are coming in. We've got some tent campers. We've got some RVs and it's like Christmas time, only in August," said Stephen Meyers of Syracuse.
Merchandise trucks have made their way to the Glen and final preparations around the compound are being made in anticipation for NASCAR. The green flag on the Sprint Cup race drops at 1 p.m. on Sunday and for some, that is the week's main attraction. But for many fans, the time spent in the campgrounds is the best part of the experience.
"We just love the racing but more importantly, we actually like the camping better than the racing. It's a real nice atmosphere, really relaxed," said Tommy Dunfield of Ontario, Canada.
"Just hanging out man. We play a lot of cards, walk around, get to know a lot of people. I mean, everybody here is real personable. You can strike up a conversation about just about anything. You find friends. You never see them again, but you find friends here every weekends," said Tom Summers of Amherst.
For these fans, the action may take place on the track, but the experience comes full circle out in the campgrounds.