Everyone travels to Lincoln for the intense autocross competition, but there is also usually something going on in the paddock during the entire week of Nationals. Some competitors choose to stay in Lincoln for a few days and leave when their runs are through, but if you can manage to get the vacation time, hanging out on site for the entire week is definitely worth it.
The ProSolo Finale happens the Saturday and Sunday before Solo Nationals competition, so if you arrive during the first weekend, you can check out the final battles for the ProSolo championship. The CAM invitational happens on Sunday, and the hopped up muscle cars are exciting to watch.
The Spokes Biergarten (towards the back of paddock on the Goodyear building side) is usually set up on Saturday night or Sunday, weather permitting. There is a lighted marquee pointing to it, so it’s easy to locate. The Road Trip Racing Team (RTRT) is housed there for the week, and they welcome any fellow racers, regardless of your hometown. Bring a beverage and a chair and meet some of the Austin, Texas based RTRT crew. During Solo competition, there is usually a group at the Biergarten listening to the incoming times on the radio.
Monday (Labor Day) is usually laid back, and if you run Tuesday/Wednesday, you’ll probably be doing a practice session or two. The Welcome Banquet starts around 5:30. The National staff feeds us grilled food and there is a kiddie pool full of ‘reasonably priced’ beer. It is located at the Big Fun Tent (BFT) near the site entrance on the corn side of the airport. Afterwards, there is a Talent Show hosted by Grassroots Motorsports on a stage set up near the BFT. There has even been talk of a live feed for the people that can’t make it to Nationals.
After the banquet and talent show, you have a few options. Some go downtown to check out the Lincoln bars, but there are a few things happening in paddock Monday night. Spokes hosts a Big Wheel Pro Solo near the Biergarten, and anyone is welcome to take a turn.
Since 2014, team Canada has been hosting the (international) ‘Nats Beer Exchange.’ If you’d like to participate, head over to the Canadian section on the corn side of paddock a few rows in front of the Texas regions. There will be many large coolers filled with local craft brews. If you’d like to contribute something from your region, try to find a local beer that isn’t widely distributed – this lets other people try a beer they might never have the chance to see otherwise.
Tuesday through Thursday are competition days, but there are still mid-week paddock activities. If you drive a Mazda, you can get some free food at the Mazda dinner Tuesday night in the BFT.
Tim White’s Trasharita parties (tentatively Tuesday and Thursday) at the Carolinas region is a big hit. There is a crowd at the Spokes Biergarten most nights, and if enough people are interested, the Big Wheels will be rolling.
Wednesday and Friday nights are the awards banquets, and they last for several hours. Some head back to paddock for general social time while others head downtown. Saturday we all pack up and head home to think about 2018!
Check out the #SoloNatsHasStarted hashtag to see what other people are posting about their Nationals prep or trip to Lincoln.
This article is a few years old but still relevant for a newcomer, check it out for some additional information about attending Nationals: https://www.scca.com/articles/1997604-dont-panic-the-first-timer-s-guide-to-solo-nationals
This map shows the general location of things in the paddock, and you can view it on your smartphone: