“Don’t pay no attention to the frostbite stain on the top.  I keep my Bristol envelope in the freezer so if the house burns down, I still got my tickets!”

I did literally laugh out loud with the bright-eyed and decked-out young man who asked me a question about an hour before the IRWIN Tools Night Race was to begin on Saturday.  He was ready to go, smiling from ear to ear, eagerly anticipating what he would experience once the racing got underway.  He told me he had been looking forward to this race for months, having bought tickets for himself and his 3 equally hyped-up friends in the spring.  It was their first time coming to a race here at Bristol Motor Speedway, and the explanation of his chosen spot for ticket safe-keeping was yet another reminder of the passion our fans have for this iconic coliseum of concrete and steel that we get the privilege of calling ‘the office’ each day. 

I was stationed inside the Bristol Motor Speedway Ticket Office this weekend, manning one of the “Will Call” windows.  The adjacent photo shows one of the few moments when fellow Will Call Window coworker Kathy Artrip and I slowed down long enough to catch our breath (and for me to snap a cell phone picture).  Kathy is one of the amazingly knowledgeable team members who work in the Ticket Office year ‘round.  I can’t tell you how many times she was asked questions by me, by other Ticket Agents, by coworkers and by fans during the course of our race week.  And I didn’t see an instance where she didn’t have an answer, the solution or a work-around.  She and the others in the ticket office make it their mission to delight Bristol fans – from the way it looked from my window they did just that time and time again.

Yep, the ‘tickets in the freezer’ story is one that will remain a memorable moment from this race weekend. 

So, too, will be the look on the face of the young man I was able to ‘surprise’ with Terrace Level tickets as a thank you for his military service, courtesy of two Bristol season ticket-holders.  Their friends couldn’t make the races this time, so they wanted to donate their 2 extra tickets to a soldier who may not have been able to come otherwise.  We did some sleuthing to find the right situation, and I wish everyone could have seen the smile that beamed from this young soldier’s face when I handed him the tickets.  It matched the ones that appeared on the donors’ faces when I told them the next day we’d been able to make it happen.  

I’m not sure I’ll forget the two guys from Hawaii walking away from the Will Call Window.  They bet me their surfboards that I’d find a Will Call envelope with their names on it and flashed ‘hang ten’ surfer hand signals as soon as their new Bristol tickets in hand.

And I know I won’t forget the thousands of smiles, the hundreds of ‘we drove here all the way from…’ stories and the overwhelming excitement of fans I saw through my window this weekend.  They each had contagious cases of Bristol fever, and they were gladly spreading it around.  I still can’t wipe the smile off my face today – and I just bet if you were here with us this weekend you can’t either.  Thanks for making my August 2012 Bristol Race Weekend so special.  We hope we did the same for you.