CORNBREAD & CHILI
Tailgating at NHMS is a Way of Life
At New Hampshire Motor Speedway, tailgating isn’t
just an extracurricular activity designed to kill time.
It’s a way of life.
“We get to the track at about 8 in the morn-
ing,” said Bill McRae, of East Taunton Massachusetts. “I really like the N3 lot. That lot sort of
overlooks the frontstretch of the track. We set up
our spot the same way every time, flagpole stand
under the front tire, and we raise the American flag
with a smaller Carl Edwards flag underneath it. We
have a 12-by- 12 canopy. We set up the small grill
and propane stove and get the percolator going
for coffee, or more than likely open the cooler and
crack a beer.
“On the grill is anything from steak tips, burgers
and pulled pork, to bratwurst. The crowds in the lots
are always the same. Everyone is in a great mood
and having a great time, listening to music and
playing cornhole. After the race it is much of the
same. Traffic is backed up, so why rush to get out?
Fire up the grill and have supper. We pull out around
7: 30, and every time I think to myself, ‘I can’t wait to
Jeff Brown, of Manchester, New Hampshire, has
enjoyed an equally positive tailgating experience.
“NHMS has done a lot to give fans something to
do in the downtime; in the last few years they’ve
added attractions like a zip-line, a Ferris wheel and
go-karting, to the fan Midway outside the track,” he
said. “There are a couple different stages with live
music, plus a pre-race concert for early grandstand
dwellers. But it’s more restful to just chill back at
the car with friends.”
HOW LONG HAVE YOU
BEEN A RACE FAN?
I’ve followed racing for just
over 20 years now. And I’m a
Matt Kenseth fan.
Breakfast is sausage and
eggs, cooked in a cast-iron
pan. Lunch is hot dogs, grilled
up a little early so we’re fed
before we hit the track gate.
For dinner, we’ll grill up some
marinated steak tips.
WHO AT TENDS YOUR
Since we got our current
tickets for New Hampshire,
it’s been just my dad and
me, and the family pickup
truck is long gone, replaced
by a Honda minivan with a
wheelchair conversion for
my dad. The wheelchair van
is actually a great tailgating
vehicle, though I’ve taken
to calling it “liftgating,” for
WHAT MAKES FOR A
I’d argue the crowd makes
the tailgate every time. Over
the years, we’ve upgraded
from old folding chairs to
comfortable camp chairs,
from the tailgate of a truck
to a small folding table, from
a pile of Match Light in the
dirt to a small gas grill.
There’s cornhole –
and then there’s the official Dale Earnhardt Jr. Pit
Row Cornhole Game Set,
which takes this popular
tailgating experience to
an entirely new level of fun for Junior fans.
Painted like the No. 88 car belonging to
NASCAR’s most popular driver, the Dale Jr. cornhole
game set comes equipped with folding legs for
portability and a clear gloss sealant for protection.
It also includes a complete cornhole bag set made
of Duck Cloth canvas. Officially licensed and made
in the USA, the game is high quality and sturdy
enough to last for many years – even for NASCAR’s
most frequent tailgaters.
Bill McRae and his wife share a campfire chili and cornbread recipe:
■ Start with about 20-25
charcoal briquettes and
a 10-inch cast-iron Dutch
oven. Once the charcoal is
ready, set the Dutch oven
on the coals, with the lid
on for about 15 minutes.
■ Add two pounds of
ground beef to the pot.
Then add one chopped
onion and two chopped
Add your desired chili season-
ings, stir it all up and add:
■ 1 large can of tomato
■ 1 can of diced tomatoes
■ 1 can of red beans
■ 1 can of black beans
■ Return the lid and let it
all come to a simmer,
stirring occasionally. Mix
up two packages of your
favorite cornbread mix.
■ Once your chili is how
you like it, spoon the cornbread mixture evenly over
the top of the chili. Return
the lid, split up about
half of the coals from the
bottom and arrange them
evenly on top of the lid.
■ After about 20 minutes,
check the cornbread. It
will have puffed up and
absorbed some of the
chili. Poke a toothpick a
few inches down in the
middle, and if it comes up
clean, it’s ready to go.
JARED TURNER GE T T Y IMAGES