CONCORD, N.C. -- It's race day! Here is what you need to know ahead of the Bank of America 500.
NASCAR announced changes to its schedule for Saturday's events at Charlotte Motor Speedway as well as Sunday's big race.
Both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practices -- originally scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. -- and NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying -- initially set to start at 12:05 p.m. -- were canceled due to weather.
Sunday's Bank of America 500 will start at the new time of 1 p.m. due to "potential weather issues," NASCAR said on its website.
Thousands of country music lovers and NASCAR fans gearing up for a weekend full of fun events, but on the heels of last weekend’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, officials at Charlotte Motor Speedway are heightening security.
Fans across the world racing to the Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend for the Xfinity race Saturday, followed by a Brad Paisley concert and The Bank of America 500 on Sunday.
Campgrounds near the track filling up.
“We enjoy, just enjoy the NASCAR racing,” said Walter Baumgardner.
Officials expect more than 100,000 people to fill the speedway this weekend, with fans coming from all 50 states and 16 foreign countries, some coming from as far away as Australia.
And security is heightened following Sunday’s deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.
“People should absolutely feel safe. We will have more than a dozen local, state, and federal agencies” said Jonathan Coleman with Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Officials said there will be a lot of visible security with more than 300 uniformed officers, in addition to security fans won't see.
“I think the most important thing to expect is to have a great time,” said Coleman.
They remind fans: if you see something say something.
At a safety forum Thursday night, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney asked all event goers to be vigilant.
“Now we see you we have to not just look around, look down, we have to look up. So that is a part of how we are planning to keep our large event safer as well.”
We all know the saying, love what you do and you won't work a day of your life.
That certainly is the case for Arlene Stone. She has worked at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for 48 years and witnessed it grow into what is now regarded as one of the most renowned racetracks in the world. But her passion for racing didn't take the green flag right away.
"When I first came here in '69 it was just for a job," Stone said. "I didn't know I was going to be here this long, all these years."
Stone started her career selling programs and souvenirs in a small, white, two story house located in front of the track.
"Our whole family worked in it," Stone said. "My late husband, my sister-in-law Marie, our aunts and when the children got older they all had souvenir stands here."
But over the years, Stone's love of the sport has developed along with an impressive collection of memories and racing memorabilia.
Stone has pamphlets from the first Coca-Cola 600 race, a rock from the original ticket office's fireplace, car tags, driver badges and awards for her time and service to the speedway.
"This is like my second home," Stone said.
Stone had her first ride in a race car with NASCAR driver Neil "Soapy" Castles, worked the first race ever that had overhead lighting, befriended many drivers like Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty and watched as multiple movies and shows were filmed at the raceway like Days of Thunder, Talladega Nights, and American Idol.
After nearly half a century at the speedway, some would think that Stone would be slowing down. But any of her tour goers know that certainly isn't the case, as she zips her van around the racetrack at speeds that make you check if your seatbelt is on.
"The fans always ask me, since I've been here so long how many laps I've had around the track," Stone said. "I have no idea! I always say probably more than some of the race car drivers."
With the development of the track came the development of Stone's reputation.
"I have what they call probably a following," Stone said. "People from all over the United States come and they ask for me to take a tour. Even Canada."
In early June, a race fan returned to Charlotte Motor Speedway after 20 years and requested his second tour with Stone.
"We try to make them happy, the fans are a special type of breed... There's a lot of memories here," Stone said. "Some of the other drivers like to say I came in with the first load of dirt or I was directing the paving of the track, I ate lunch with George Washington. I mean they have so many stories about me."