Burning the midnight oil. Working 'round the clock. Doing whatever it takes. All of these clichÃ©s apply to the hard work put in by Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course staff in the wake of Thursday afternoon's powerful storm that swept through the historic...
Burning the midnight oil. Working 'round the clock. Doing whatever it takes. All of these clichés apply to the hard work put in by Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course staff in the wake of Thursday afternoon's powerful storm that swept through the historic facility, downing trees and power lines and leaving a trail of damaged tents and awnings.
Track officials estimated that the storm - with winds in excess of 50 mph and several funnel clouds touching ground - was the worst it had experienced in 25 years. All corporate hospitality tents were destroyed, severe damage was reported in the midway vending area, and the parking, camping and RV areas were flooded. Several permanent buildings lost their roofs, one TV camera was toppled, dozens of large trees were downed and at least one racing team's trailer was flipped on its side.
Despite the carnage, the thousands of working personnel and fans at the track escaped without any major injuries. As soon as the high winds left the area, the Mid-Ohio staff sprung into action. In order to avoid accidental contact with any possible downed power lines, people were cleared of the stricken locations and the Mid-Ohio staff went to work.
A command center was established and Mid-Ohio staffers reported to that central location. In conjunction with Grand American, the track's emergency action plan was implemented and numerous private and public organizations were quickly called on for help. Among those quickly answering the call for aid were Norris Tree Removal Service, the Morrow County Sheriff's Office, Troy Township Trustees, Kokosing Construction, Lake Erie Electrics, SM Donaghue Construction and Consolidated Electric. Additionally, Dominos Pizza and Pepsi provided food and drink for the all-night clean-up, M&B Equipment supplied several chain saws and the Miles Tent Company traveled from Detroit to salvage and replace damaged tents and awnings.
"We are very impressed from the efforts of the Mid-Ohio staff," said Roger Edmondson. "Even though the damage was extensive, they worked through the night to ensure the race would go on. It is a testament to the professionalism we have come to expect."
Grand American's Sahlen's Hospitality tent was recovered and repaired on Friday and will be open for service to Grand American competitors for the rest of the weekend.
As well, the weekend's on-track activities never missed a beat despite the debris and isolated power outages that temporarily knocked out timing and scoring, phone service and some building power and light service.
Mid-Ohio is grateful to its loyal fans that patiently waited at the entrance gates in their campers and RVs while the clean-up took place. The track also extends its gratitude to the Grand American officials and competitors that pitched in to help in addition to its own hard-working operations staff that coordinated the efforts.