Depends where it is and what else there is to do. I have family in Arizona so i fly Tuesday to Tuesday. No family in Vegas but it’s Vegas so I also do Tuesday-Tuesday. Did Indy once and flew in on Thursday afternoon and back home Tuesday evening in case eliminations were pushed back to Tuesday because of rain. When I do Topeka it is in Thursday night and out Sunday night.
My wife and I are going to this year's Gatornationals. We're flying into Jacksonville on Thursday and leaving the following Tuesday.
We're going to Friday qualifying and Sunday eliminations. Saturday of the race is our 34th anniversary, so we'll probably go over to St. Augustine. It's a neat town. We discovered Yuengling beer at a little outdoor cantina there in 2010 when we went to watch the launch of shuttle Atlantis.
But, I'm trying to talk her into us going back to Garlits' museum. We went there in 2010 and like it much better than the NHRA museum.
I always tell people that if you're going someplace you've never been to take a day on one side or the other to do something away from the track. Just as an example, if you have never been to Gainesville and were going for the race, go in a day early and go to Don Garlits Museum. You won't be sorry.
Every place we race have cool things to see in the community, and if all you see is the hotel and the racetrack I think you are missing an opportunity.
All of the races I’ve been to are within driving distance but in the next few years we will be going to races where we will have to fly. We will get there a day or two before the race and leave Monday.
Not much of an NHRA vacation this year with our daughter off to college but we'll road trip to Seattle and get there Thu afternoon. 3 days at the track and drive home Mon. Probably fly to Ontario on Fri for the Finals and out Mon morning. Don't need to spend anymore time in SoCal than need be. Been there, done that down there. Me and the Sunset Strip....no bueno! I'm too old for those shenanigans
If anyone is going to Phoenix, we have tons of stuff to do in Arizona. Drive 2 hours north & go skiing in Flagstaff. Grand Canyon. Meteor Crater. Bearazona. Phoenix proper has lots to do. We even have go kart racing. Plus, this is the time of year to visit, before we get into the crazy heat. Altho, hotels are way cheaper in summer, if ya don't mind 300 degrees. OK, 118....
When going to Pomona or if I were to go to Vegas since it is only a five hour drive I will usually leave about midnight or so Friday night and generally leave Monday. I always plan on staying into Monday in case it rains and the race gets held over a day. Even if everything gets in on Sunday it is nice to get a good nights sleep before heading back late Monday morning. Also if I am going anywhere near or through LA I usually plan my drive on avoiding LA rush hour......got stuck in it once, will never do it again.
When Ive gone to Sonoma & Denver it is a 12 hour drive so I leave Thursday morning so I have a full day to drive. I dont like driving more than 3 hours without a half hour or hour rest so a full day to get there helps stay fresh. Then I usually leave Monday morning so I am rested enough to drive.
One thing I use to do the first 3 or 4 years when I traveled to a race was sleep in my car to save a few bucks. However as I've gotten older Ive learned the value of having a nice hot shower and comfortable bed to sleep in.
I am planning a trip to Charlotte this year to see the 4 wides for the first time. Flying in friday morning and flying out sunday. I could probably stay through the end of eliminations and catch a later flight, but I think friday and saturday qualifying should be enough. I don't think they do night qualifying there anymore and Saturday is usually over even earlier so if anyone who has been there can recommend anything to see that'd be great!
If there is one thing you DON'T do when going national event (or any drag race) is, don't go it in a hurry. Go a day before and enjoy walking through the pits and any local attractions.
If one ever goes to the Gatornationals, a trip to Garlits Museum is required by the Drag Racing Gods.
Schedule your trip back a day after the races because you never know how late the race will end.