Bring your own food to Track Days – Save money while eating better. Part 2

Last week, we shared a guest post by Amanda Leahy with great strategies to save money at the track, by bringing your own food. Amanda had some great tips and I thought I should share a couple of my own tips and favorite recipes as well.

While some tracks may have some pretty good food options on site, most charge theme park prices for typical junky food. Also, with the current Covid-19 landscape, many clubs are cancelling BBQ’s so you may be left fending for yourself more than usual. With the remote nature of tracks, most don’t have nearby “grab and go” options for lunch or dinner so you’re at the mercy of these food stands… unless you planned ahead:


The Basics:

My preferred tool to bring for food/drink is an Electric Kettle. Boiled water can not only help make the most important beverage: Coffee. but can also help with breakfast, lunch and other snacks.

Electric-Kettle-Trackday-Food-Cooking-Tools

An Electric Kettle is cheap, small, and portable. Even tracks with minimal electrical availability usually have at least one plug you can borrow to boil water (Try the registration office, garages, or bathroom). If not, you can try begging a RV friend to borrow a few minutes of generator power, as long as it can spare at least 1500 watts.

Helpful Tip: Pack an extension cord. Available power isn’t always in a convenient spot.

pocono-speedway-garages-power-trackday
Hanging power outlets in the Pocono Speedway garages.

Coffee:

I, Like most adults have a serious coffee addiction. I also typically sleep at the track in a trailer or my truck’s back seat, so I’m obviously not passing any Dunkin Donuts on the walk from my truck to the Driver’s meeting. Some clubs are generous enough to provide Keurig pods or the track breakfast shack may sell a coffee-like beverage… but being a snob, that doesn’t cut it.

I bring something to make my own: You can bring a drip machine coffee maker, but I prefer the simplicity of just one electric-requiring appliance (Kettle). I can boil a full pot of water, make my coffee and use the extra hot water for breakfast.

making-good-coffee-at-the-race-track-trackday

I got this fancy “Chemex” pour-over coffee maker as a gift. Any French press could do the job well too (while being a bit smaller and less fragile for transporting). You can find either style new as cheap as $15-20. Feel like checking out your local marketplace or yard sales? Can probably find a lightly used one for $5 or less.


Breakfast:

The one meal I like to indulge on during track weekends is breakfast. I love trying out small off-the-beaten-path local restaurants like Verna’s Flightline Restaurant in Millville, NJ (I Highly recommend it if you’re at NJMP). However, I typically sleep at the track, keep my truck+trailer hooked together, and start the day very early so I’m usually stuck on site. On Days when I can’t get out, I’m left fending for myself:

vernas-flight-line-restaurant-millville-njmp

Most tracks in the northeast have some sort of breakfast option (before Covid Restrictions, at least). The food is typically “meh” and prices aren’t shy. The pre-packaged, microwaved Watkins Glen breakfast sandwich can get the job done, but there are better options. The one At-Track breakfast I always make a point to get are the Tater Tots at Lime Rock. Their breakfast sandwich is decent, but the tots are always great.

Lime-Rock-Park-Track-Classic-Breakfast-Tater-Tots

Breakfast to Bring:

Instant Oatmeal Cups – Instant Oatmeal is a great way to feed yourself a filling, healthy breakfast at the track. Amanda’s post last week mentioned finding a microwave for oatmeal, but it can also be done with boiling water. When the Electric Kettle boils, I use a bit for the oatmeal and the rest for coffee.

Breakfast-At-RaceTrack-Lime-Rock-Oatmeal

Cereal – Are you one of those people who don’t mind cereal without milk? I enjoy a few handfulls of cheerios sometimes (especially if the previous night included a lot of “post-race festivities”).trackday-breakfast-cereal-cheerios-chex

PB&J – Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches work well for everything, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, it doesn’t matter. They’re cheap, easy to pack, and easy to make.

track-food-lunch-peanutbutter-jelly-pbj


Lunch & Snacks:

I used to eat big, heavy lunches at the track and would very often spend the afternoon burping concerningly strong burrito and hotdog smells into my helmet. This can get especially bad when instructing with someone else driving. Now, I try to keep lunch pretty light and snack through the day.

Cheese/Fruit – A good way to mix up lunch is a fancy cheese plate. Hard Cheeses like Aged Gouda and Cheddar don’t really need refrigeration so they’ll hold up fine even if your cooler starts to run out of ice. Add some Cherries and you’ve got a meal.

Trackday-Snacks-Lunch-Cheese-Fruit-Crackers

Pre-made Salads – Another quick and easy light meal is a pre-made bagged salad from the grocery store. I’m not a big salad person, but it’s another welcome break from a typically BBQ & Chip heavy weekend.

trackday-lunch-food-snack-salad

Dehydrated Soups – If you already have an electric kettle these soups can be a nice simple, hot meal that won’t have you searching the paddock for a microwave. Soup may not be ideal in the heat of august, but the warmth is welcome for cold early and late season events.

Track-Day-HPDE-Snack-Soup-Lunch

cup-of-noodle-racing-windshadow-lunch
Cup Noodles are a staple in the budget racer’s pantry and look fantastic as a livery.

Pickles – Pickles are a good way to replenish some of what you sweat out during a day at the track.

PB&J – Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches work well for everything, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, it doesn’t matter. They’re cheap, easy to pack, and easy to make.

trackday-sandwich-lunch-pbj

 


Dinner:

Around the paddock, the smell of fantastic BBQ cannot be avoided. I only eat meat about once a week at home, so if I gorge myself on grilled meat through a whole weekend I usually spend that whole time feeling like garbage.

My solution: Some easy to grill veggies. Vegetables are often omitted from grill feasts. Make a boat from Aluminum foil, sauté some Garlic and Onions for flavor, and toss in whatever veg you’ve got. Brussel Sprouts, Zucchini, green beans, mushrooms, etc.

If you don’t have access to a grill, bring some that are good raw (Cucumbers, Broccoli, Bell Peppers, Carrots, etc.).  They all help fill you up with good food so you’re not eating pounds of BBQ and regretting it in the morning.

track-day-hpde-dinner-grill-vegetables



 

Don’t forget to pack double the drinks you’d expect to need. Water, Sports Drink, Even an occasional soda can taste great (just don’t drink them all day long). I put one or two Gallon sized water bottles in the cooler and refill an insulated water bottle with it. It helps keep the water cool and I know it’s mine (vs a sea of half-drank plastic bottles).

no-money-motorsports-water-bottle-hpde-drinks-track-day



What are your Track Food tips? Send me a message here, on Facebook, or Instagram I’d love to hear what you have to share!

ThisCanBeYouRacingAtWatkinsGlenRaceway

 


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click the links for products, I get a small portion of the sale (At no cost to you!) So help support No Money Motorsports by using the links above.

2 Comments

  1. I prefer rehydration salts over any sugary sports drink, e.g. Trioral. People complain that it tastes salty but I guess this is not a surprise. Please don’t forget to let your coffee bloom when you do a pour-over coffee and I really like your casual comment “any French press could do the job well too”. Some coffee connossieurs may hate you for that since they consider it the gold-standard.

    Like

    1. Rehydration salts seem interesting, thanks for the suggestion, I’ll have to check them out. I like a mix of pickles and watered down sports drink.

      Laughing at the French press part. I believe that’s very true. I’m only enough of a snob to hate most convenience store joe and talk myself into trouble.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s