Camper couple: 30 years and counting at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Longtime Charlotte Motor Speedway Campers

Ted and Carol Everts of Chambersburg, Pa., have had season tickets to the track for 30 years.
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Ted and Carol Everts of Chambersburg, Pa., have had season tickets to the track for 30 years.

Ted and Carol Everts have camped at Charlotte Motor Speedway for so long they feel like they’re a part of its history.

The 64-year-old retirees from Chambersburg, Pa., have had season tickets since 1985 and attended races at the track for several years before that.

Richard Petty, Harry Gant, Dale Earnhardt and the Allison brothers were in their heyday when the Everts first made the 400-mile trip down Interstates 81 and 77.

Bruton Smith Boulevard didn’t exist, and neither did zMax Dragway, the speedway condos and so many other features of the track and its surroundings.

“We came in on Harris Boulevard, but it didn’t go all the way to (U.S.) 29,” a main highway to the track, Carol Everts said. “We had to pick up some dinky road to get here.”

Back then, Ted Everts was even able to become a “Weekend Warrior,” one of the volunteers who helped motorsports teams on the track.

“A gopher,” he fondly recalls of his volunteering for the teams of Derrike Cope and Bobby Hamilton Jr.

Ted Everts has been a race fan since he was a boy watching the action at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway, about 60 miles from his parents’ former 180-acre milk cattle farm. Carol has been a fan since she was 15.

Ted Everts retired as a ready-mix concrete plant supervisor and Carol as a project manager for Sprint.

They’ve always loved hopping in a camper to attend races at Pocono, Bristol, Dover and Charlotte, with their two sons when they were young and, for the past seven years, with Boston terrier sisters Angel and Sunshine.

“They were 12 weeks old when we took them on their first trip,” Ted Everts said of the mild-mannered dogs. “They think this is every dog’s life.”

The couple’s latest perch is at the Tom Johnson Camping Center Racing Resort, at the zMax entrance. Their speedway seats are between the dogleg and the start-finish line, about three-quarters of the way up the stands.

Carol liked Richard Petty back in the day, and Ted’s favorite was Taylorsville’s Harry Gant.

They have no favorite anymore, and just like watching “good, hard, close racing,” Ted Everts said.

Their latest camper is a 40-foot Winnebago Adventurer to which they’ve affixed a flag pole with a U.S. flag atop the Charlotte Motor Speedway flag.

Inside the camper is a display of some of the miniature lighthouses Carol has collected in various states, along with orange-and-yellow fall garland.

Ted also built his wife a book case for the crime novels she likes to read on the road. She’s reading Scott Turow’s “Innocent” this week.

The camper has three flat-screen TVs, a full-size refrigerator, a stackable washer and dryer, a microwave, a gas stove and an induction burner.

Carol makes crock-pot casseroles, including chicken cordon bleu and lasagna casseroles and a pork and sauerkraut casserole from an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. They also grill steaks and ribs, burgers and sausages.

They attend every race and other activities. They watched the hauler parade at zMax Wednesday night and were at the opening of the speedway’s 10-acre Fan Zone Thursday.

Before Saturday’s Bank of America 500, they’ll see Erendira Wallenda, wife of world-famous daredevil Nik Wallenda, as she’s suspended high above the infield and hangs by her toes on a ring connected to a cable under a helicopter.

The Everts will have a member of their family’s latest generation tagging along once school’s out Friday. One of their sons, Shane, lives in Stanfield in Stanly County. His son, Tyler, 9, has been a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan since he was 3 or 4 years old.

Shane used to bring Tyler to his parents’ camper on the Saturday of the race, but Tyler successfully lobbied his grandmother this time to pick him up after school.

“It gets in your blood,” Ted Everts said of the family’s love of racing. “It’s part of your enjoying life.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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