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The Hot Lap

My second or third week on the Transmission line crew we traveled to South Carolina to look at a 100’ bucket. We were in line for a new bucket and our fleet guy said there was one that was available, a sister to the one in South Carolina.

All six of us (the superintendent didn’t go) loaded up in the suburban we had. It was lifted with oversize tires. A front winch with a brush guard and roof rack for the spare and two toolboxes. It was not easy to miss.

Down the road we went to Darlington, S.C. After looking at the truck and visiting with a SCG & E crew, we headed home. There we were at Darlington Speedway, a NASCAR track. With minimal encouragement and a swap in drivers, into the open entrance we go. There was no one in sight.

We drove right onto the track and proceeded to take a lap. The suburban got up to about 85 on the high banked turns. As we came down the front straightaway a red pickup pulled out of the infield headed right at us. Our driver moved over, and the pickup moved right towards us. We slowed to a stop.

An extremely hot and red-faced man looked at all of us not knowing what to say. We didn’t say a word either. Finally, he asked us what we were doing. Phil (the driver) said something like “well we just thought we’d come in and see what the track was like.” Sputtering the man says, “you can’t just come in here and take a hot lap.” Then, he informed us that the owner of the speedway was a personal friend of our company’s CEO and with a phone call, he could have us fired. There was a large billboard with our company logo at one end of the track. I thought my career with the power company was going to be short lived.

As we drove out of the track there was a guard in the guardhouse. He had not been there when we went in. He just looked at us like we were aliens.

Fortunately for us we never heard a word about it.

Dick Weaver – Retired Lineman

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