Sunday, May 19th, 2013 11:17pm UTC
By Rick Herrin
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Chris Wied and his friends turn five rented spaces in the TMS infield into a fully equipped lounge.
Welcome to Billy Bob’s north, NASCAR style.
Die-hard race fans Randy Glover, Ron Hardy and brothers Chris and Kirk Wied have turned their choice infield spot at Texas Motor Speedway into a head-turning hot spot. These guys make a lot of friends on race weekends.
And why not? Their roomy corner spot on the infield serves as a honky-tonk, fully equipped buffet, excellent race-watching perch and a resting spot for their replica sprint-car smoker.
“It’s just the way we are,” said Kirk Wied, 50, who lives on Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma. “If you’re going to do it, this is the way you should do it.”
They call it Thunder Lounge, and they have banners to tell you. The centerpiece of the multiple rented spots is a 16-foot flatbed trailer with a homemade welding touch. A nearly 13-foot race-watching loft sits on top of the trailer. It’s the magnet that draws as many as 1,000 fans a night flooding the infield street shoulder-to-shoulder.
[thumb:80:l:s=1:l=x]The stage is equipped with lights, an ear-splitting sound system, spotlights, a wireless microphone for singing and a $300 disco ball that hangs over into the street.
There’s even a beverage-disposal set-up, with a metal chute from the platform to a trash can on the ground.
“Next year we may have to add a fog machine,” said Hardy, a 42-year-old general contractor from Frisco.
[thumb:68:r:s=1:l=x]By day, friends and fans flock to get a taste of the wood-fired brisket or sausage with a racing flavor. The grill is a 2,500-pound Outlaw sprint car with a No. 3 Dale Earnhardt paint job. Glover serves as the cook for the Lounge and provided lunch for the Richard Childress Racing crew Friday. He met a member of the team a year ago and offered his culinary services.
The Earnhardt cooker is an eye-grabber and has drawn a $10,000 offer. Glover said it cost $4,000 to build.
“It’s kind of sentimental,” said Glover, of Rockwall.
Inside the small compound, the friends have an eight-foot buffet table with a countertop stove, sink and cutting board.
The disc jockey is Hardy, who adds a high-tech aspect to the area. He has a laptop computer with 8,000 songs downloaded, providing any musical needs at his fingertips. He just has to put down the homemade beef jerky first.[newline]