Posts Tagged ‘Daytona International Speedway’

A patchwork quilt of recreational vehicles blankets the infield at Daytona International Speedway this week, but one stands above the crowd, literally and figuratively.

An elaborate semitrailer built by Rick Keller of York, Pa., may be the ultimate in infield engineering. Parked along one of the main thoroughfares, it captures plenty of attention, even in a place crowded with celebrities, oddities and the latest in luxury motor homes.

Perhaps it’s the burgundy canopy on the third-story deck, which can be seen from across much of the infield. Maybe it’s the deck itself, with its television screen and premium location offering a commanding view of most of the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

At night, colorful lights flash from the poles. The campsite has a fire pit — a must-have accessory for infield campers — and the requisite lounge chairs, but it also has so much more.

“It’s a good time,” Keller says simply. “I built it for my family and friends to come have a good time.”

It’s not just the average race fans who stop to gawk, envy and chat. It’s also haulers, crews and drivers, whose autographs now grace a dry-erase board on one wall. It even holds the name of NASCAR president Mike Helton, who also has stopped to chat with Keller. A full array of liquor spirals in an arrangement around a support pole. Bar stools with “The King” cut into the back sit along a counter, decorated with racing memorabilia.

All this is just what can be seen easily from the road.

A tour reveals a wall-mounted electronic system that controls the entire rig, from lights and dimmer switches to the deck and everything in between. Inside, an elevator hauls up all the equipment for the deck and canopy.

The kitchen, where friend Joe LoBianco was cooking Italian food on Friday, would be the envy of many home chefs. LoBianco pulled giant pans of meatballs and sausages out of double ovens, while stirring a large pot of sauce on a stove with six burners and a large grill. The end wall is lined with a stainless steel, commercial-sized double-door refrigerator and freezer.

A bedroom sleeps four, with a full bathroom. Immense toolboxes hold all the gear and supplies.

Keller and a group of employees, friends and family camp at seven races a year. They used to camp in a motor home. But Keller decided that situation could be improved.
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