If April will be your first time at Richmond International Raceway, this list is for you.

What to know before you go to Richmond International Raceway

Though the season has already started, Richmond NASCAR race enthusiasts have been waiting all year for the Toyota Owners 400, eager to hear those immortal words: “Start your engines!”

But with NASCAR implementing a new point system this year in an effort to draw casual fans to the need-for-speed sport, new attendees are likely to be among the capacity crowd. If you’re one of them, here are a few things to keep in mind before you head to Richmond International Raceway

Bring ear protection

It’s one thing to watch a NASCAR race from the comfort of home. It’s quite another to see one live and in person, and perhaps the biggest difference is just how loud things can get as participants speed closer to the checkered flag one lap at a time. If you’re sensitive to sound – or your kids are – consider bringing ear protection. Whether in-ear or over-ear, the protection will help mask the roaring engines and squealing tires to make the experience more enjoyable.

Wear comfortable clothing

Anyone who has been to the Richmond International Raceway knows it’s an all-day affair. The race itself is several hours long, and when you combine that with the hard benches lining the track, you could be feeling sore not too long after taking your seat. RIR has cushioned seating available on a rental basis. Prices start at just $10 for a day or $20 for two days. Check out RIR’s website for more details.

Look for signs indicating if you're in a smoke-free zone. Look for signs indicating if you’re in a smoke-free zone.

Smoking prohibited in most areas

An ever-increasing number of public places in Virginia are smoke-free. This includes most of Richmond International Raceway. Be they e-cigarettes, vapes, cigars, or regular cigarettes, no smoking is allowed in the grandstands, in front of them or in the portals and aisles that lead to the seating areas. The only places where smoking is permissible are underneath the grandstands and in places designated as such, like the parking lots and Commonwealth Mezzanine.

Food free to bring in, but with exceptions

Of course, there is plenty to eat and drink at the RIR, but if you’d rather bring something of your own from home, that’s fine as well. However, it must be transported in a soft-sided cooler, no larger than 14x14x14. Additionally, it should only have a strap to carry it with, as wheels or telescoping handles are prohibited. Lightweight backpacks are also allowed, but no more than one per person.

“All umbrellas, regardless of their size, are prohibited.”

What NOT to bring

Having the creature comforts of home are nice, but there are several best left where they are. Most prohibited items are those that may prevent viewers from seeing the track. For instance, umbrellas of all sizes are not allowed anywhere in the grandstand seating areas, nor are flag poles permissible. Flags, on the other hand, are fine to bring in, but beach balls, strollers, and pets also aren’t allowed on the premises. Take a look at this list for others items that get a green or red light.

Come as early as possible

To get the full Richmond International Raceway experience, try to arrive as early as you can, ideally before the gates open. In addition to avoiding the hectic crowds, you’ll also be able to take advantage of driver appearances, as some will be on hand to sign autographs. Check out RIR’s homepage for more details as the race date draws closer.

Have other questions? Just check the “Guest Info” tab at the top of RIR’s website. See you at the finish line!