After our training last weekend to learn how not to serve alcohol to drunks so we wouldn’t end up in jail and liable for a $350 million lawsuit, we were prepared for our day selling beer at Infineon Raceway to NASCAR fans.
Given that my only previous encounter with NASCAR was watching “Talladega Nights,” why was I volunteering to work at Infineon? The beer booth is a fundraiser for Petaluma High School Cheer, so our being there was another one of those “it’s amazing the things we will do for our kids” kind of experiences.
We parked, took the shuttle and were at the six-square feet of dirt that would be our home for the next eight hours with our purple ‘Petaluma Cheer” shirts on by 8:30 a.m. Probably not more than 10 minutes had passed before we had our first customer asking if he could buy a Bud. “Sorry, we’re not allowed to begin selling beer until 9:00.” While I don’t think that volunteering at a beer booth is doing the devil’s work, it is a little strange to remember that if I weren’t here, I would be sitting in church.
We were faithful to our training and checked almost everyone who didn’t have any gray hair for ID. I liked the fact that all the women over 30 actually enjoyed being asked to prove that they were over 21.
During the first part of the morning when business was still relatively slow, Steve and I had a chance to explore the spaghetti of paths that comprise the Infineon venue. It wasn’t until we walked through one of the tunnels and came up on the grandstand side that I understood what the huge trailers emblazoned with logos and driver’s pictures are there for. They are all about the merchandise. Judging from the long line to buy stuff at his trailer, Dale Jr. was clearly a crowd favorite.
Steve and I made our way back to our booth and sold a heck of a lot of beer, and $4 sodas and water until the concession officials told us there were 25 laps remaining in the race and no more alcohol could be sold. Let’s hope those are slow laps so more of the chain-drinking fans that we served during the day had time to sober up.
Infineon is a lot like Disneyland. You just can’t adequately describe it to someone who hasn’t been there. It brings together a cross section of 100,000 people to watch very fast and very loud cars, while consuming carnival food and booze on 720 acres next to vineyards in Sonoma County. It is a world unto itself.