On Saturday I attended the Nascar K&N Pro Series East race at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP). Wondering what a regional developmental series race is like compared to big-time racing? Glad you asked!
THERE’S MORE ACCESS—There’s a “fan walk” for fans before opening ceremonies—Cup races usually have this as an add-on, but the K&N Pro Series provides this to all fans for no additional charge. Fans also have much easier access to the drivers themselves for autographs and pictures, although this is because…
YOU WON’T KNOW ANY DRIVERS—Unless you have a personal connection to one of the drivers—or you’re the hardest of hardcore fans—you’ll have difficultly recognizing any of the drivers in the race. Unlike, say, ARCA, the K&N Pro Series is populated almost solely by young up-and-coming drivers. While there’s a chance you’ll know a driver, it’ll likely only be a second-generation legacy kid with a famous father.
LOWER PRICES, LESS SELECTION—Similar to minor league baseball, the K&N Pro Series is a lower-cost alternative for race fans. Tickets themselves were reasonably priced while premium add-ons (indoor seating, food/drink included, etc.) wouldn’t break most banks. One downside to this, however, is that there’s far fewer spending options—don’t expect to find driver/team concession trailers, as most of these drivers have no merchandise to speak of.
TOUGH TO FOLLOW—New Jersey Motorsports Park is a road course, and the lack of TV coverage made this race particularly difficult to follow. There was no camera feed to show, and no scoreboard on-site to track the leaders. One silver lining, however, was not being bombarded by constant ads.
LESS OF A HASSLE, BUT STILL A HASSLE—There’s far less fans at K&N Pro Series races, which means less trouble getting in and out of the track. However, as usual, all it takes is one jerk to ruin it—the woman who was in charge of directing traffic through the gates was obnoxious and rude.
LESS DRIVERS—There were only 17 cars entered in Saturday’s race—one withdrew prior to arrival and another withdrew the day of the race. With only 15 cars on the track, action could get a bit thin, although this was likely exacerbated by the road-course format.
In summary, if you like your racing to be close to the roots of the sport, with less bells-and-whistles and more drivers with potential to be future stars, get yourself to your nearest K&N Pro Series race.