BRISTOL, Tenn. — There are probably many campsites surrounding Bristol Motor Speedway this week that could claim the title “Camp Hangover,” but one group that made the 10 hour trek from Eldred, Penn., has a banner making it official.
Early campers continued filing into the Earhardt Campground adjacent to Bristol Motor Speedway Sunday vying for a good piece of real estate close to the track.
Sunday’s arrivals were a day behind the occupants of Camp Hangover, which consists of about a half dozen Earhardt Campground regulars who have dubbed themselves the “Pennsyl-Tuckey Rednecks.”
The main group arrived Saturday evening in time to get their favorite campsite located in the grounds across the Volunteer Parkway from the racetrack in the shadow of the turn one bleachers.
There’s no mistaking this group with their large banner proclaiming their Pennsyl-Tuckey Redneck status. Sharing space on that banner is a photo of Kasey Kahne and his Budweiser sponsored race car.
No one in the group is a Kasey Kahne fan, however.
“We’re beer fans,” Pennsyl-Tuckey resident Stephanie Burrows said.
Despite high gas prices members of the group said they would never consider missing a Bristol race.
For the past 10 years the Pennsyl-Tuckey Rednecks have been camping in the same location for both BMS NASCAR race weeks. They like the spot because it’s a short walk, and/or stagger from the race track.
Another half dozen Pennsyl-Tuckey members are expected to arrive at any time with more banners. They’re also going to install a swimming pool when the other group arrives.
“Not an in-ground pool — not yet,” Nancy Williams said. “Maybe next year.”
Fred Williams, the unofficial mayor of Camp Hangover, said the group is spending the whole week at the campsite, although they’ll probably take a field trip today.
“Tomorrow (Monday) we’re going to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, and then Wednesday we’ll hit the truck race,” Fred Williams said. “Tuesday we haven’t got plans yet. It’s Bristol. We’ll find something to do.”
There are campers at Earhardt from as far away as Canada and North Dakota and as near as the Tri-Cities and Knoxville.
Some are in rusted aging pop-ups and tents. Others are in brand new six-figure motor homes complete with satellite TV and flat screen TV.
Not everyone has the means to bring their own restroom facilities with them, but the campground does rent portable toilets to make life easier for its temporary residents.
Ron Kongzcich of Ohio rented a portable toilet, but he also brought a padlock to keep usage down to a exclusive few. He said he plans to be frugal with the keys and post a sign on the door stating “Members Only.”
Kongzcich and his friend who identified himself as “John Browning” — although probably in jest — were enjoying a few cold beverages Sunday afternoon only a few feet from their newly arrived “facility.”
“If you don’t have one in your camper, an outhouse is the next best thing,” Kongzcich said. “It’s a lot of walking if you don’t have one.”
Every day camped outside of BMS is like Christmas for John DiGiorgio of Greensboro, N.C.
He’s got Christmas lights and a neon “Merry Christmas” sign hanging around his campsite.
DiGiorgio arrived Saturday and waited three hours in line to get his prime spot just outside the front stretch of the Speedway.
“It was the best three hours I spent all year,” DiGiorio said. “Look where I’m at. It’s Bristol, baby.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else this week.”