Headed out to Texas Motor Speedway? Here‘s what you need to know

kicks off its 2018 racing season this weekend with a NASCAR double-header.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ is set to get underway at 1 p.m. Sunday and the is set for 2 p.m. Saturday.

On-track activities got underway on Friday with Cup practice from noon to 12:55 p.m., Xfinity practice sessions (1:05 p.m. to 1:55 p.m. and 3:05 p.m. to 3:55 p.m.) and then Cup qualifying at 4:35 p.m.

Oh, and there’s dirt track races on Friday night starting at 7 p.m.

For those fans making the trek to TMS, the Star-Telegram has you covered.

Best time to arrive?

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Traffic issues going to the race aren’t what they used to be. Still, it’s recommended to arrive at least three hours before the race. The track has plenty of pre-race activities on the midway and in the pits.

Best routes?

From Fort Worth: Yes, I-35W is a beatdown but this is the best option. Exit 72 (Dale Earnhardt Way) as opposed to Exit 70 (TX-114) is usually a little freer and less congested for race fans.

From Dallas: 114 is the main access road into the track and the best option for the Dallas-based fans.

Weather update?

A cold front is coming in this weekend, but that’s OK. You can always add more layers for what should be a day in the 50s on Saturday and up in the 60s Sunday.

As long as the rain holds off, the races will go on. And, even if it does rain, the track repaved its racing surface a year ago to help make any possible weather delays as short as possible.

Parking

TMS is one of the few DFW sports venues that provide free parking.

Driver appearances

Chevy drivers scheduled to appear at its tent in the Fan Midway near Gate 4 for Q&A sessions:

Friday

Noon: Daniel Hemric

Saturday

9:25 a.m.: Spencer Gallagher

9:40 a.m.: Matt Tifft

10:15 a.m.: Matt Mills and Vinnie Miller

11:30 a.m.: Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr.

12:40 p.m.: Ryan Truex

1 p.m.” Garrett Smithley and Greg Stumpff

Sunday

9:30 a.m.: Kyle Larson

10 a.m.: Alex Bowman

10:15 a.m.: Ryan Newman

10:30 a.m.: Chase Elliott

Other appearances —

Friday

6:45 p.m.: Brad Keselowski (Walmart, 1228 N Hwy 377, Roanoke)

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7 p.m. — 9 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr. (Cabela‘s, 12901 Cabelas Drive, Fort Worth)

Saturday

3 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Michael McDowell (Love‘s Travel Stop, 4800 TX-114, Rhome)

Sunday

8:15 a.m.: Matt DiBenedetto (TMS Can-Am Display between Gates 6-7)

9:10 a.m.: Joey Logano (TMS AAA Fan Stage between Gates 6-7)

9:30 a.m.: DiBenedetto and Brent Dewar (TMS Tweet Up outside Gate 3)

Don’t forget …

Earplugs. They sell them at the track, but are available at hardware stores for a lesser price. It gets loud. Trust us. Earplugs are highly recommended.

Cooler. Hey, the track lets you bring in food and beverages (including alcoholic). Might as well take advantage of it. Just bring cans, no glass, in a 14” X 14” X 14” or smaller cooler.

Paper. You’re probably reading this online, but we still print a newspaper. And it’ll have everything you need to know about the race from the starting lineups to the latest news. Plus, cell phone reception is always dicey at big events with thousands of people so an old-school paper could come in handy.