Although I have entered many National and International races over the years (over 30 years!) I still remember my first National race. I was worried about making an idiot of myself, and slightly intimidated by the occasion...
...until someone said to me "when you're on the drivers stand, look at the track as if it was your local Club, and drive like everyone else in your race is a local driver." Made a world of difference! Here's my top five 'things to do wrong' at your first big race
1. Assume you know what to do to get from your pit to the drivers stand! You probably don't - watch heats before yours so you know where tech is, when to tech, where to get your Tx (if there's an impound), where the start line is and what the start sounds are.
2. Forget what you do at the Club to change your set-up! Don't get overwhelmed by the race, remember to think a bit about what your car is doing, and what you want it to do. At big races, be brave, and go ask the fast boys how to change your car.
3. Go slow because you're afraid to make a mistake. Go fast, and make sure you learn from every mistake.
4. Forget to tech your car before racing starts! The best way to screw your mind, and your meeting, is to get failed in tech because you didn't know the Rules. Take your car to tech before the first race, and make sure you pass.
5. Ignore the announcements from race control! Listen carefully, and if in doubt, ask.
Oh, and Rule 6 is, when you've had a good time, find the organiser, shake their hand and say thank you.
I'm coming 6000 miles to my first US race, and I reckon it will, in some way, feel just like my first National all those years ago. I'll be taking my own advice if, in the thrill of it all, I can remember it!!