Bees take over flag stand

FONTANA, CA - MARCH 18:  The flagstand sits abandoned after a swarm of bees took it over prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

FONTANA, CA – MARCH 18: The flagstand sits abandoned after a swarm of bees took it over prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

FONTANA, Calif. – When NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice started on Saturday morning at Auto Club Speedway, there was a flag man on his usual perch atop the flag stand at the start/finish line.

That was noteworthy only because an infestation of bees had driven the flag man from his usual station on Friday, forcing Sprint Cup qualifying to be flagged on a temporary platform behind the grandstand fence.

Bees are an important part of the ecology, and in California, invading swarms must be relocated rather than killed. Accordingly, the speedway called in a beekeeper who immobilized the unwelcome visitors with a spray and collected and removed the swarm.

So when Sprint Cup practice began at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, the flag man was back in his usual spot – with no bees in sight.

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