Coca-Cola 600 Pit Note # 8
Charlotte Motor Speedway Honors 50-Year Employees - In a special ceremony held in the Time Warner Media Center this afternoon, two veteran Charlotte Motor Speedway employees were recognized for their 50 years of service, and for attending every Coca-Cola 600 here at the speedway.
The two honorees are Earl Springs, who has sold programs for each event, and David Suddreth, head of speedway security, who also has worked every race. Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, made the presentation, and gave each a gold key mounted on a plaque and Speedway Club VIP membership.
"Fifty years is a special milestone, as you know," said Smith. "And we have some special people here who have been here for every one of those 50 years. Two people have been here for every Coca-Cola 600. It's a special thing - 50 years of hard work at every event. These guys have been just phenomenal. Thanks for everything you have done for us. It's really been great having you here for all 50 years."
For Earl Springs, who sold programs at the old Charlotte Speedway dirt track because he lived across the street, the journey has been rewarding.
"I was raised on old Little Rock Road," said Springs. "NASCAR ran the first Strictly Stock race there. My neighbor owned the place, and he had two sons, and we sold programs that day. They sold for a quarter and paid a nickel. That's how I got started. I enjoyed it. I needed the money. But, I was a farm boy and just have done it ever since. I have to hire all the program sellers now, and I am responsible for all that."
(On his best memory at the speedway) - "I have enjoyed all of them. I think the most programs we ever sold for the Coca-Cola 600 was 60,000. When we emptied the trailer, we all said ‘hoo-ray.' I love all the things of it, because I enjoy it so much. I wasn't expecting all this. When we started out doing this, I needed the money. Now, I do it because I like it so much. I am tickled to death. I didn't know they were going to do this. We are just a big family, really. I have my own business, and my children run it now. I like the people. I love being around and talking to the people."
(The biggest changes he has seen at the speedway) - "They have got everything so much more modern than what it was. When we started out, we sold from the old log cabin over there. It had one window, and we signed out the souvenirs out of that window. It's not all just rednecks, anymore, because you have got so much money involved in it now. But they are still good old people. I'll hope to keep doing this as long as my health will let me."