In April 1997, Schaefer Hall of Famer co-founder Philly, my sister, my brother-in-law Chuckles, and I attend the inaugural race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Chuckles arranged a special event at the track on Sunday morning for he and my sister. But when my sister learned how early they had to be at the track, she declined and gave me the offer.
I was all-in even though it meant we had to be at the Dallas Cowboys' Texas Stadium at o'dark early to ride city buses to the speedway. After check-in and a biscuit, we loaded the buses for the ride. Not long after departure, Chuckles cracked a joke and proudly popped a cold one. *P'st*
After downing a couple of more - at around 6AM mind you - he started getting a bit antsy and began to look behind him for the bathroom. One problem: we were on a city bus - not a chartered coach. No facilities.
As the bus crept along a road leading to TMS, he started brainstorming out loud. "There's a 7-Eleven. I wonder if I could make it." His co-workers and I all laughed as we told him no way.
We finally turned onto track property, and Chuckles was about to burst. The bus stopped as did all in-bound traffic. Chuckles spotted a single port-a-john in a grassy area about 100 yards from the bus and bolted for the door.
Somewhat a bit surprisingly, he sort of just ambled his way to the can. On the other hand, I've never seen him run - then or since. The rancor at the back of the bus rose as we all wondered if he could pull the return trip. Sure nuff, the door opened - and out he strutted with a smile of pride. But then...
His face fell a bit as traffic opened and the bus began moving forward again. At first Chuckles tried a quicker walk - and then a light jog - and then a full run. A once in a lifetime viewing. But it was too late.
The bus proceeded through security and stopped near the hospitality area. I knew I was good. I was behind the secured area, and I had Chuckle's bag with the race tickets. How he planned to get into the area he arranged, I had no idea.
After a quick recap of his planes, trains, and automobiles to those under the tent, his radar then led him to the tub of iced brews.
And then things got really fun, but I'll save that story for part 2.