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Early RSVP totals indicate ‘World’s Largest’ Daytona 500 watching party to be bigger, better in February

by Mike Haag | Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Courtesy of Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations

FORT WORTH, Texas – The “World’s Largest” Daytona 500 Watching Party at Texas Motor Speedway is less than three weeks away, and early returns on RSVPs indicate that it’s going to be an even bigger and better bash than the record numbers the event produced last year.

With more than 200 spots already secured, RV camping is up 20 percent from this time last year. Tailgating is also booming, up 68 percent from a year ago. All told, the guest list is currently 30 percent ahead ­- and growing.

More than 300 RVs and in excess of 3,000 guests watched last February’s Daytona 500 on the world’s largest TV, “Big Hoss,” from the infield at Texas Motor Speedway. Those totals should be exceeded by the time the green flag flies in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 18.

“I can’t think of a better way to kick off the 2018 NASCAR season than to welcome the greatest fans in the world into our living room to watch the big race on the biggest TV in the world,” TMS President Eddie Gossage said. “We received tremendous feedback from last year’s watching party, so I think it’s great to see it.”

The Texas Motor Speedway infield will be open Feb. 17-18. The two-day public event begins when the gates to the South Tunnel open Saturday, Feb. 17, at 8 a.m. CT for those looking to camp overnight. It also will be open to those tailgaters interested in watching the season-opening XFINITY Series Powershares QQQ 300 race from Daytona, beginning at 1:30 p.m. CT (TV: FOX Sports 1). The weekend culminates with the 60th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18, beginning at 1:30 p.m. (TV: FOX).

In addition to the racing action and pre-race shows on “Big Hoss,” there will be plenty of additional entertainment throughout the weekend. There will be free Chevrolet Camaro pace car rides on track; a corn hole tournament; campsite and tailgate area decoration competition; promotions and live remotes from 95.9 The Ranch and Hank FM; and the NASCAR-themed “Talladega Nights” for the Saturday night movie entertainment on “Big Hoss”, beginning at 7 p.m.

O’Reilly Auto Parts will provide gift cards to the top-three finishers in the corn hole tourney as well as gift cards and trophies to the best decorated campsite and tailgate areas. O’Reilly Auto Parts also will provide tailgate goodie bags to the first 500 attending the weekend event. 

Fans can even ensure they have the best seat and camping spot available in 2018 as speedway ticket representatives will be on hand to provide interested fans a guided tour and allow them to make their seat or camping selection in person.

Fans are permitted to bring their own food and beverage to the infield.

Those interested in camping or tailgating must RSVP at before Sunday, Feb. 11. Spots for the watching party are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For a complete Daytona 500 Watching Party schedule, visit or download Texas Motor Speedway’s free mobile app.

About the Author

Mike Haag has covered motorsports in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 30 years. In addition to working for the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 28 years, Mike also has co-hosted TrackSmack with Dawn Murphy for 15 race seasons. In addition to being a writer, Mike also teaches English at Floresville High School.

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