By Marianne Martinez, CBS 11 News

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – This is an important race weekend for North Texas! NASCAR fans are expected to start packing the Texas Motor Speedway starting on Friday. But even if you are not a race fan, the big NASCAR events may impact your weekend plans.

In fact, thousands of race fans have already arrived in Fort Worth, as NASCAR Nation invaded North Texas days before the festivities got underway. “I love NASCAR. I just love it,” said fan Tammy Mills, who was one of the many to show up early to find a perfect camp spot. “It’s a lot to take in. I can’t believe how big it is, and the spectacular of it.”

Mills and her friends are relatively new to the sport. This will be one of their first NASCAR races. “I came to the fall race, Triple-A 500,” said Brett Rice from Lubbock. “It was my first NASCAR race and I was hooked. I had to come back.”

But for countless others, the NASCAR races at Fort Worth’s Texas Motor Speedway have become a family tradition. “We come every year – twice a year, every year,” said Scott Johnston from Oklahoma. “We cook out, sit around, sit around each other’s company.”

This year, however, fans will have to adapt to a new schedule. The races which have typically been held in the afternoon will now take place on Friday and Saturday night. “It’s going to be competitive,” said Rice. “A lot more rubbing, a lot more racing. Boys can’t see what’s going on all the time. I expect to see a few wall hits. We’re here for action!”

And while the night races could make things difficult on the professional drivers, average commuters are sure to face their own problems as well, as event traffic will coincide with Friday evening’s rush hour. Both race fans and non-fans should expect major traffic delays. Officials with the Texas Motor Speedway have actually advised drivers to avoid Highway 114 west of Dallas, if not trying to reach the track.

Meanwhile, NASCAR fans are revved up, and looking forward to a weekend full of racing fun. “I’m going to enjoy that,” said Johnston. “First time under the lights!”