A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Fans on Millionaires Row, Backstretch RV, rough it in style during NASCAR weekend at KY Speedway

By David Kubota
NKyTribune reporter

Devoted fans showed up to the Kentucky Speedway with campers that lined Millionaires Row and across the Backstretch RV.

Stephen Harnings elaborate camper setup on the Backstretch RV behind Kentucky Speedway (photos by David Kubota).

These spaces are filled with some of the most devoted NASCAR fans out to watch the Xfinity Series at the Speedway.

The spaces are crowded with campers, bumper to bumper, and many fans have to book their spaces months in advance. Some of the fans follow NASCAR races all across the country, while others are Indiana, Ohio, or Kentucky residents looking for a fun atmosphere with the family.

Bringing campers allows fans to enjoy the utilities of home like air conditioning or television, while still having a great view of the track.

Those in Millionaires Row are only a few hundred feet from the track itself, separated by a fence and several yards of grass,with a view that is hard to beat.

The view should be great – fans pay upward of $600 for the spots on top of the electricity that their campers require.

Brian Wilcox, a statistician from Mason, Ohio was enjoying his third consecutive year at the Kentucky Speedway. Bringing a camper along allows him and his family to enjoy the race while still being able to escape to a place that feels like home.

A panoramic view from Millionaires’ Row above the Kentucky Speedway (click to enlarge).

Wilcox also attends the Indy 500, but says the appeal of the Kentucky Speedway is far superior.

“Being able to hitch your camper in a position looking down on the track, can’t be beat.” He said, “You can’t get that close in Indianapolis.”

The short hour drive also means he’s able to travel home quickly if needed, but Wilcox says the camper turns the Speedway into a weekend event.

There are also those from outside the tri-state that come just for the Kentucky Speedway ambience. Trey Bower, a contractor from Pennsylvania, has been following NASCAR for seven years.

He says the atmosphere of the races is the reason he keeps coming back.

“I love coming out here with some friends, playing some cornhole and watching the races” he said.

The proximity of spaces in Millionaires Row and the Backstretch RV often leads to interactions between neighboring campers.

“I’ve definitely met my fair share of interesting people out here.” Bower said.

One of the drivers is a family friend that he goes to every race in support.

Many of the attendees fly flags off their campers. Flags for the United States, President Donald Trump, or their favorite college teams.

Stephen Harnings, of Warsaw, was flying about five flags off his camper.

“It’s pretty easy when you’re from around here to get that sort of stuff.” He said. “My son goes to the University of Louisville so I threw that one up there too.”

NASCAR fans at the Kentucky Speedway really love their flags

Harnings wishes the race would bring more business to Warsaw, located only about 10 minutes from the track itself. He uses the race as a good reason to bring friends into Warsaw and admits that he loves the race regardless.

“There’s just something about things going really fast that’s exciting.” He said.

Money issues stopped Harnings from chasing NASCAR around the country in 2008 but he hopes to one day return to traveling to places like Chicago and Florida for the races.

Found in the middle of Millionaires’ Row was Amy Strout. Living about an hour and half drive away in Dayton, Ohio, she brought her kids to the race with her husband.

“We use this camper and take our boat onto the Ohio River during the summer.” She said, “But we try to make it to the nearby races when we can”

Strout says she used to come to the races with her parents. She loves grilling out but the intense heat today kept her inside and thankful for her camper.

With temperatures reaching into the 90s on Saturday, a lot of people were desperate to stay under the shade and hydrated

However, the atmosphere of the race kept other fans up and about on Millionaires’ Row and into the Backstretch RV. Tradition and family fun create an atmosphere welcoming to all fans of NASCAR.

David Kubota is a Scripps Howard Foundation intern at the NKyTribune this summer. He is a student at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media.

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