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.