There are those who make only periodic visits to the series of Tuesday night races while the others can best be described as true fanatics, those who attend each night of the 10-week series.
Charlie and Janie Ferrell of Harrisburg, N.C., fall into the latter category.
"We usually get a group of about 20 people together and dress in tie-dyed shirts. We call ourselves the 'tie-dyed posse' to show support for Ryan Zeck in the No. 95 Thunder Roadster and George 'Cotton' Spry," said Janie Ferrell.
It is not unusual for Hardee's Summer Shootout announcer Steve Post to point out the couple during breaks in the action. In fact, it was Post who gave Charlie Ferrell the unforgettable nickname "Elvis Decanter Man."
"I went to Memphis in February of 1998 for business. I visited Graceland while I was there and purchased a decanter with Elvis written on it," explained Charlie Ferrell, a senior technology analyst for Philip Morris USA. "When I started coming to the shootout, I needed something to keep my drinks chilled. That's when Steve noticed it and gave me the nickname."
The Hardee's Summer Shootout has become an integral part of the couple's lives.
"We will be married 18 years on Aug.15 (the day before the Hardee's Summer Shootout season finale) and we'll celebrate our anniversary at the Summer Shootout," said Janie Ferrell. "We usually have the guys play an Elvis song for us."
In addition to their weekly attendance and striking attire, the Ferrells are also known among Hardee's Summer Shootout officials for their generosity as they deliver an array of homemade goodies to the control tower each Tuesday night.
"We bring anything from peanut butter and banana sandwiches to cheese puffs every week," said Janie Ferrell. "It's just our way of saying thanks for putting on the Summer Shootout."
The Ferrells have been attending the Hardee's Summer Shootout since 1998 and, even though they are a bit melancholy about the season finale drawing near, they are already looking forward to next year.
"We plan to continue showing our support at the Summer Shootout for as long as it keeps going," concluded Janie Ferrell.
The 12th annual Hardee's Summer Shootout runs each Tuesday night through Aug. 16 and features three classes of Bandolero racing, three divisions of Legends Cars, and the Thunder Roadsters.
Admission is just $5 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free. Contact the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS for information or to purchase tickets.
Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:25. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and is scheduled to conclude by 10:15.