Charlotte Motor Speedway warns campers of bad weather twice Thursday

Tony Stevens of Greer, SC, is spending a few days in this camper at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Tony Stevens of Greer, SC, is spending a few days in this camper at Charlotte Motor Speedway

CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Severe weather and even tornado warnings Thursday morning and afternoon raised concerns in Concord at Charlotte Motor Speedway where thousands of people are already in the campgrounds for this weekend's All Star Race.

Since campers wouldn't be the safest shelter in a storm, the track has an emergency plan, and part of it was implemented twice on Thursday.

Heavy rains this morning soaked campers and muddied parking lots, and for folks living in these temporary homes for a while it looked pretty bad, said camper Tony Stevens.

Stevens can laugh about it now, but track officials were taking it very seriously and warning campers that severe weather was in the area.

"They came through and gave us a warning here," Woody Dishon, camping at Rock City told WBTV. "If it had been necessary we would have probably gotten in the pick up and drove somewhere for a more sturdier place to be at."

With so many campers here for a few days or a few weeks, the track has a comprehensive way of letting folks know if they could be in danger.

Warnings are broadcast over loudspeakers all over the property, and campground workers go to warn campers.

"Camping staff and our security office go through the campgrounds and vehicles looking for additional people trying to spread the word that it may be time to take shelter," Scott Cooper of Charlotte Motor Speedway told WBTV.

And for fans who might be in the grandstand or camping in the infield, the speedway also uses that giant HD video board to flash warnings.

Shelter is provided as well.

"We do have several structures in the area that we open in the case of severe weather.  Bath houses, shower houses, and of course, Smith Tower, and in the case where fans are in the grandstand then we invite them to take cover and go back onto the concourse areas," Cooper added.

And Cooper says the staff stays in touch with Concord emergency management and the National Weather Service when there is a threat of severe weather, or even if the forecast is for sunnier skies like they hope to see this weekend.