for an upcoming trip to Bristol Motor Speedway, I found out i can bring a monopod as long as it collapses to fit in a 14" bag can anyone recommend a fairly inexpensive monopod that collapses that small?
Ah, of course. the 18-55 will not be in use for the race. if push comes to shove i will use the 70-300, whic bottoms out at f6. if things go as planned i'll be breaking in a shiny new F2.8 70-200. (maybe a rental at that) i am just unsure of the lighing in the raceway. if i can push ISO to 1k and get decent shutter speed i won't need the monopod. I'm just looking at worse case scenario where i'm needing the stability. it's strange the raceway oked a monopod but not a tripod
While the monopod will help with the stability of a long lens and/or slower shutter speeds, it's not going to help with the lighting situation related to freezing the action. In other words, if you can't get the shutter speed short enough for action stopping exposures the monopod will not help you. Only fast glass, high ISO and most importantly, light, will help to get the speeds you will want for the speedway. However, there is the comfort factor, and if you are good at panning from a pivot point (monopod) you can get some nice effects.
Monopods are cheap and will last you a long time. Get a good one. I recommend Feisol. Its light and can handle anything you will ever need. There are many other options as well. For racing, I found that I didn't need a monopod head, but I did want an Arca Swiss clamp and lens plate. I got a Sunwayfoto discal clamp and a Kiwifotos LP-86 lens plate. Just make sure that you get a setup with safety stop screws if you add a quick release.
The problem with a monopod that collapses to 14", and also goes to standing eye level height, is that it will need more than 4 leg sections. When you go beyond 4, the lower section(s) are very thin and the result is not terribly stable.
This is the same problem with travel tripods, although the need for absolute stability is less critical with a monopod, especially for a high speed sporting event.
I would look for something with an upper tube diameter of at least 32mm, and preferably more. That may lead you into something relatively very expensive, such as a Gitzo.
I assembled it and put a d600 and a 24-70 lens on it and it appears to be very stable assuming you don't mount the camera and take your hands of it. The feet appear to be very stable. It collapses to 68cm but comes with a handy carry bag with strap. The need for good weather means a delay in trying it but indoors it seems fine.
Small, affordable and stable. Most likely you are only going to achieve two of the three. Manfrotto makes some very compact monopods, but they are not that stable, especially if you mount a 70-200. It will reduce some of the weight load from your hands while shooting, but it cannot be act like a more stable monopod. A Gitzo CF monopod might meet your needs, but at almost 10x the price.