SONOMA (KPIX) — Thousands of NASCAR fans were already camping out in the North Bay on Saturday. For many, it’s their one big vacation of the year and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Racing is much like any other sport where fans are loyal to their own teams. In this case it’s the drivers. The big difference is in NASCAR is all those teams compete at the same time, which makes for some interesting competition among the fans.
One of the big fan favorites is Kyle Larson, who is a native to Northern California. After 2 wins so far this year, his base is growing.
“I think I’ve got the best fans in NASCAR because I have a wide spread of fans from dirt track racing and my NASCAR fans as well,” says Larson, a top qualifier.
Andrew Cital is one of Larson’s biggest fans.
“He’s the hometown kid we are in Sonoma we’re in the Bay Area and Elk Grove is right up the road,” says Cital.
NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he’s got Kyle beat by a mile.
“We have a big group of fans who’ve been very loyal and just stuck behind us, and are very vocal,” says Earnhardt.
Heather Curtis has been an Earnhardt fan since she was a kid.
“I saw him race when I was 13 years old, I thought he was cute, and I’ve been a fan ever since,” says Curtis.
“I enjoyed watching his dad race and all the stories about being able to see the air,” adds Kevin Roy.
Drivers are known to get into spats on the track, but fans say it’s just as true in the stands.
The roar of 40 engines is music to the ears of Mindy Adams, who has been coming to Sonoma and camping here for 13 years.
“It’s just a great vacation and a great time and we all love racing,” says Adams. “We are down there and you’re feeling the vibration of the engines. It’s just awesome.”
But it doesn’t come cheap. There are about 1500 camp sites available for the weekend ranging from $440 to $3000 – a price Adams says is worth it.
Amy Roy agrees.
“It’s fun hanging out seeing the cars we usually meet some people on the RV lot we become friends with and hang out with,” says Roy. “Probably all things included, it’s $2500 to $3000.”
Race fans find all kinds of ways to pass time between races in the more than 50 acres of camp ground, but the big fan favorite is smack talking their friend’s favorite drivers.
“Everyone’s got their driver, and everyone’s got their driver they don’t like. But they all get along in the end.”
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series gets underway on Sunday, July 25. The green flag drops at 12:20. For a full schedule of events go to www.nascar.com.