Since 1987, Bill “Wild Bill” Daigle has been camping in turn two of the Charlotte Motor Speedway infield. The long-time fan, who was new to Charlotte, N.C. back then, had no idea what kind of world he had moved to. His brother sent him a book about Richard Petty and from there, it’s been a lifelong bond between man and sport.

During that first trip to the track, he borrowed a friend’s van and camper. He picked up his brother from the airport on the Thursday before the race and headed to the track to begin their weekend.

“There was only one tunnel into the infield,” Daigle remembered. “We had to get in line until 7 a.m. when they would open the gates. What a fun party waiting in line! Everyone was so fun!”

When the gates finally did open, Daigle said it was like the “Oklahoma land rush” to get to Red Neck Hill and he had a fantastic weekend.

Through the years, his platform had evolved from a piece of plywood on his minivan to 8’ x 10’, eight feet high with railings and carpet. Then in 2002, Irwin Tools held a “Best Deck in Racing” contest. Daigle decided to participate and “spruce up” his platform.

“Since Irwin Tools sells saw blades, I decided to make a small table in the shape of a saw blade, paint it steel gray and put it on the railing of my platform with their logo on it,” Daigle said.

Irwin sent a photographer to take pictures of the deck for the contest and Daigle went on with his weekend. Later on, none other than Irwin spokesman Benny Parsons came to his spot and awarded Daigle the “Best Deck in Racing” award, which included $1,000 in tools. Parsons got on the deck and took pictures.

“It was so much fun,” Daigle said. “I am honored to have been able to spend a little time with him.”

Returning to the track every year has become part of Daigle’s life and says it’s “just like family.”

“Over the years, our experience (with) camping, location and timing turned into a point where I now feel like I am the Mayor of the South Infield!”

Since he has been coming to the track for 25 years, Daigle is member of the Charlotte Motor Speedway long-time fan program as a silver member. He will receive a special hard card and lanyard, car decal, will have his name appear in the souvenir program, on the website and on the big screen during the race.

The long-time fan program benefits fans who have been coming to the track for more than five years. Depending on the amount of years the fan has been attending races, benefits can range from a special lanyard to a plaque hanging on the walls of the speedway. The program is free to those who have been attending races for 25 years or more.

Camping is still available for both the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 19 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 27. To purchase an infield camping spot with views of the world’s largest HDTV or a spot in any of the campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway, call the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). RV rentals are also available.

Tickets start at just $39 for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and $49 for the Coca-Cola 600. To purchase tickets, call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

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