Infield Harry: Making the Charlotte Motor Speedway Camping Experience Even Better
For more than a decade, Harry Shaner, better known now as Infield Harry, has been working for Charlotte Motor Speedway, helping to ensure fans have the best time possible when camping for the races. But if you would have asked him 13 years ago if he would eventually work at the track, he never would have guessed it.
Shaner, originally from Endicott, N.Y., moved to Charlotte in 1978 to work for IBM and retired from the company in 1992, not knowing what to do next.
“I was playing golf and I wanted to do something else,” said Shaner. “In 2000, a friend of mine got me hooked up with working and parking cars at the speedway and that’s how it all started.”
Since then, the 77-year-old has worked every race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, most of them spent helping in Peninsula Campground. Last year he received a promotion and became the speedway’s infield camping manager. He took ownership immediately, helping with improvements.
“Harry is so dedicated, so focused with the whole infield,” said Frank Sarano, senior manager of camping operations and travel package sales for Charlotte Motor Speedway. “Any ideas I have to make entry, camping, parking any easier, Harry is always up to the task.”
Neither rain nor shine has ever kept Shaner from working at the speedway since he first started in 2000. Shaner says it’s the people who make his job so enjoyable.
“I like to have the fans come and have a good time at the races. Anything I can do to help them enjoy their stay more, I am willing to do. I really wish the race weekends were longer.”
Many infield campers know Shaner well and look forward to seeing him at the races riding around on his golf cart.
“Harry is friendly as can be and is a real go-getter,” said Bill Montgomery, who has been camping at Charlotte Motor Speedway since 1976.
Now in his second full year of control over the infield, Shaner and his crew are busy making upgrades to the infield campsites. He’s particularly proud of the brand new premium campsites in front of the world’s largest HDTV, which is centered along the backstretch of the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway.
“We are going to have 18 spots and we’re going to have electrical power out to each one of the sites,” said Shaner. “That’s something we have never had, and that of course is going to mean a lot to the fans coming in. We are about sold-out of them already.”
Camping is still available for the 10 biggest days of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which includes the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 19 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 27. To purchase one of the premium spots in front of the world’s largest HDTV or at any of the other campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/camping/. To reserve a campsite, call the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). RV rentals are also available.
For daily updates, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Camping Facebook page.