WOW! What a Daytona 500. When we took the job for speed week we didn’t know they meant one race. In 54 years of running the race, it’s never been rained out, untill now. From a historical point of view, this is an interesting statistic. From a workers point of view, it’s a logistical nightmare.

After working through all the other race events, here comes the big day, Sunday, the Daytona 500. Knowing it’s about a four hour race, we should be expecting a 10 hour day. Being one of 8 tram operator teams for turns one and two of the track ( with another 8 in turns three and four), and  an estimated 200,000 people expected, it should be a busy day.

We show up at the designated parking area (lot 10) at 5:30 am. Get on a school bus that drops off about 1/2 mile walk away from the time clock. Report to work, clock in, watch it start pouring rain. Still the NASCAR fans want in the track. So we transport them through the tropical weather to their seats and to the Fanzone (infield). It rains, it stops, they dry the track. it rains, it stops, they dry the track, it rains, etc. You gotta hand it to NASCAR, they tried, but eventually the inevitable happens. So we transport the fans through the tropical weather, from their seats, from the fanzone, back to their cars. Thirteen hours later, back on the school bus, back to a giant dark mud hole called lot 10, step off the bus, look around and see shadowy figures looking like zombies saying “where’s my car?”. Next thing you know, we are mud covered zombies ourselves. Luckily, we drive a Jeep and we’re able to avoid the tow truck step in this process.

Monday morning back at lot 10 at 6 am to repeat our trip from the day before. When we get to the office to clock in, everyone expresses their appreciation to the almost half of the employees who actually showed back up to work for today (no free coffee or donuts, but they did say thank you). Today we were assigned the Talladega 2011 pace truck (Toyota Tundra) instead of the Silverado we had yesterday. Nice ride. Not that the Silverado wasn’t. Yes, it’s still raining. So, back to the Fanzone!

Around 11:00 am it was announced that the race would be delayed untill 7:00pm. But people still want to move around, so we keep trucking. We were allowed to go retrieve our Jeep and move it to a lot right by the office. This was nice as it looked like this work day would be another long one. NASCAR must have had a good weatherman, because the 7 pm green flag worked. Who knew that 3 hours into the race Juan Pablo Montoya would slam his car into a jet dryer that was cleaning up after a blown engine on a race car. Man 200 gallons of jet fuel makes for a nice fire. Anyway, after a 2 hour race delay and another forecast for thunderstorms, we were wondering if the Great American Race would ever end. In true american fashion, we all persevered and at 12:55 Tuesday morning, the checkered flag finally fell on Matt Kenseth. Now, everybody out of the Fanzone and out of the stands. Hard core race fans do not leave the race early. Luckily they are anxious to get to their cars after the checkered flag waves and to all of our amazement we clocked out around 2 am and we’re back to camping by 3.

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We guess this is why they call it WORK/camping but man we had a blast. We met a lot of nice fun loving people, hard working people who don’t give up until the job is done, saw and met a lot of celebrities associated with the sport, and are glad to have been a part of a race that we are sure will go down in history.