Before even pulling into the long, paved entrance to Texas Motor Speedway, the sound of Indy cars rumbling and roaring can be heard from the track. The line to get into the Speedway is long, and the bright sunshine on this summer day promises a hot, trying day in Fort Worth. All the cold drinks are tucked away into the ice-filled, 32 gallon cooler beside a stack of lawn chairs in the bed of the truck. The mighty race tickets and VIP passes rest safely in plastic cases on badge lanyards that hang from sweat dowsed necks.
But the preparations for this day are a couple weeks in the making. Only two weekends before, the truck sat in the hopeful race attendee’s backyard, empty and lacking Race Day modifications and decorations. The plans were set, tickets and VIP passes waiting patiently on Race Day coordinator’s beside table. The first task was to find the badge lanyards, packed away in an unknown place after the previous year’s Race Day. Closets and both sheds outside were stripped and searched, but to no avail. Luckily, the Race Day coordinator’s wife collected lanyards in many different holiday themes, so the decision was made to take two Halloween and two St. Patrick’s Day themed badge lanyards.
The next task became a difficult one to accomplish, for a busy work week tore into the very precise schedule set to prepare, and Race Day modifications took much of the weekend and three long nights to finish. But the truck was grand when they called it done. A canopy rose from the truck’s bed to offer a shaded seating area, and the once missing tailgate was replaced with painted plywood, speakers and an old radio built inside of it for between race entertainments. A flag anchor above the wheel would serve to fly Old Glory while the truck rested within the glorious domain of Texas Motor Speedway.
Exciting and stressful was the week leading up to Race Day. The week consisted of several shopping trips for lawn chairs, a cooler, snacks, and drinks. Lanterns were unpacked from the sheds outside to be used when the sun went down on Race Day, but the parking lot parties would still continue to thrive. All the supplies piled up in the coordinator’s house. Badge lanyards still hung, waiting for the big day, in the outdoor bar, and the tickets and VIP passes still lay safely on the coordinator’s nightstand.
The night before Race Day became a Friday that could define the meaning of T.G.I.F. Supplies got loaded into the truck after tests and final tuning of the modifications made the grade. A beer was enjoyed to celebrate the closing of the workweek, and the handing out of the badge lanyards, tickets, and VIP passes turned into a fantastical celebration of Race Day eve.
The next morning came with a full pot of coffee and doughnuts, and off to the races they were!
In the sweltering Fort Worth heat, windows roll down to hand over passes to the Speedway’s ticket taker. The truck made slow progress down the drive to the track, but eventually a parking spot became crowned as the truck’s final destination. Canopy rolling out and offering cover in the relentless, sun drowned Speedway parking lot, chairs unfold while the breakfast coffee disappears, and the cooler with cold drinks get prime seating.
Badge lanyards keeping torn ticket and VIP pass stubs safe, Race Day is enjoyed with good company, cheering fans, and fast, screeching Indy cars.