Brandon McLain - From Janitor to Racer...

Thursday, June 9, 2016
Hemby Bridge, NC – A few days before Nascar’s All-star weekend, my best friend from college who manages a janitorial company called me up begging for help cleaning the suites at the Speedway all weekend, including the infield media center.  Low on cash and needing a little tow money, I gave in and promised him I’d be there bright and early. 

I’ve performed many tasks at motorsports facilities across the country from racing, crewing, promoting, officiating, and selling Speed Sports under the grandstands.  I even wore a Velcro suit with bags of Perky Jerky stuck to it while running through a sea of drunk fans at Dover as they snatched energized dry meat from my sweating armor. 

But, I’ve never been a janitor…

With most of Friday’s events being canceled, the Saturday of the Allstar race was about to become the longest day of my life.  With a 5:30AM show up time and the truck race starting at 11, everyone was in rush mode to make sure Bruton Smith and company were constantly taken care of.  Since fans hadn’t arrived yet, most of the morning was spent at the media center wiping tables and empty trash cans. 

Being the competitive racer I imagine myself to be, it’s a tough pill to swallow being among so many of the motorsport elites carrying leaking trash bags and asking Cup drivers if they are finished with their plates.  But if it could afford me a new right rear tire, I’ll take it.

As fans showed up, it was time to head up to Suite Level to ensure a clean atmosphere for the sponsors and their guest.  As food and beverages arrived, trashcans would fill quick, clumsy hands would drop stuff, and guys would aim less if you know what I mean. 

As the hours crawled by, the temp staff’s excuses for leaving the jobsite early would become more creative.  Eventually getting their way would mean more work for this writer.  As the laps of an extremely confusing Allstar event wound down, I found myself staring more and more at the dirt track across the street as I was shoving buffet leftovers down a garbage chute. 

My mind started wondering off into the distant with crazy scenarios like winning an Outlaw show six days from now.  I came up with several different victory lane speeches about mopping floors at the speedway to sweeping the competition at the dirt track.  Anything to get your mind off of having to push a trash can from Suite 86 to Suite 165 a quarter-mile away.   

The checkered flag would fall and we eventually got the thumps up to go home.  I would head home for a nap before I started a tough week in my primary career as realtor. 
Several real estate appraisal issues would damper my week and create a few more grey hairs, but at least I could look forward to the Outlaws coming to town on Friday!  It would feel great to just sit in the stands with a beer and enjoy the gorgeous Carolina weather.

Then dad called twenty-four hours before hot laps begging me to put my 360 together to go try and make the show.  Already worn out, my vision of a relaxing day at the track turned into an all-night cram session to get the car ready.  If I didn’t believe in his passion for the situation, I just don’t think I would have done it.  But you never want to let your father down and he really wanted to see both his boys make the show. 

Before I left for the track, I called up Bart to see if I could get paid for the previous weekend and if at all possible, in cash.  He handed me $320 worth of 20’s and I was off to the races. 

Jake and I would eventually make the feature and dad would eventually get to see his kids do the Four-Abreast with the greatest show on dirt. 

As we were crossing the start finish line with the massive fireworks display going off in the infield, I stared off at the garbage chute across the street I become mortal enemies with just last week.  I didn’t get to give the victory lane speech I had prepared, but I did get to write a pretty neat story. 

Hope ya’ll enjoyed…

Oh, the Outlaw officials made me buy the required mufflers and spec right rear tire to pass inspection.  Cost: $320.  It was worth it…