I had never been in a NASCAR track garage before and I had no idea what to expect really. There were 30 + garages open on one end. At 0.526 miles, Martinsville is the shortest track on the NASCAR circuit. They call it the “Paperclip.” Because of its small size there isn’t a lot of room in the middle of the track for the garages for both the Cup and Truck Series, all the haulers and the other things needed. It is crowded! Each car requires lots of tires and tires take up a lot of room. They had tires anywhere they could put them! The lug nuts were already glued on for faster work in the pits.
We saw the haulers for each driver. Chairs are outside each one and a cooler. Some had grills right beside the door. One of the grills had a pot of soup cooking on top. The big teams had a tent with hired help who were grilling chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and other food for the team members. Teams with less money or on their own cooked for themselves. Some of the track workers had grills right on the side of the track cooking their food and men were getting their hot dogs eating with their trucks still running. They were ready if they were called upon to clean up during a practice or during truck qualifying that was also happening this morning.
The media had haulers and they were eating lunch, too. There was one public concession stand and one set of bathrooms. Even the drivers had to use the restrooms with us regular people! Steve saw Matt Kenseth in the bathroom! lol
The most amazing thing to us was that if you had the HOT PASS displayed, you could go just about anywhere you wanted. You could approach anyone, you could get right up into the different garages, or up to the haulers. It was so accessible.We wondered before we came if there would be areas roped off or lines we couldn’t cross. But it was pretty open to all. The only exception was Jimmie Johnson and Dale, Jr’s areas. They had a rope up behind their cars to keep people from getting too close. You could still see everything but it was obvious they wanted you to stay back. But the free reign was surprising to us.
But there was one very special event that happened in the garage area…one that I didn’t know we would get to share in. I will tell you about that in my next post.