BARBERVILLE, FL: Parking Lot Attendant
One of the wildest parts of the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park doesn’t even happen on the racetrack. It happens when the pit gates are opened for the first time to park haulers.
This year, that happened on Tuesday afternoon. Parking Day for the Sprint Car and DIRTcar UMP Modified teams was originally scheduled for Monday, but storms that blew through left the grounds extremely soggy and pushed the process back one day.
Tuesday saw much better conditions, which allowed us to start the move-in process. The line of haulers made its way from the parking lot outside the track, past the front of the track office and through the pit-entry gate on the outside of turn one. Everything seemed orderly. Inside the pits, however, it was a different story! Picture 100 kids on bicycles all ready to ride to where they want to go – and most of them are oblivious to where YOU want them to go. They lined up O.K., but when one hauler driver would be instructed to go, two or three more would start moving as well. Then you had the task of satisfying this driver who wanted to park next to that driver, and that driver who wanted to save a spot for his buddy who was either 20 haulers back in line who was two hours away from the track! It’s always a treat on parking day.
Once the haulers all were in position, it was time to get ready for the first of 12 nights of racing. My task during this first week of Sprint Car and UMP Modified racing is to keep the cars flowing through the pits, with the Sprints in the pit area outside turns one and two and most of the UMP Modifieds parked in the ‘Gator Pond’ pit area down the hill from the backstretch. (And yes, there usually are two gators that frequent the pond that is surrounded by haulers.) I monitored the scoring trailer in the pits and kept the flow of race-car traffic moving safely during the night’s event. All in all, everything went off without a hitch for the first couple nights of racing.