One of the great parts about racing is checking out all the different bikes. Of the racers, the majority take a ton of time selecting their bike, wheels, and components. It's great to see all the different ways people decide to do it - alu bikes with high end components, older high end carbon frames with new components, and plenty of sweet bikes with the newest frames and builds.
There are also some racers who aren't quite as interested in their bikes, only that they perform well .... "The guy at the shop said it was top of the line and the price was right. Felt pretty good to me!" or "It still rides fine, why upgrade?"
If you're a non-racer but into bikes, I think races are something to still go to. You'll see such a variety of custom and hard to find bikes you won't see anywhere else.