A mysterious cash rush targeted a NASCAR garage on Sunday night and frightened drivers and witnesses alike before crashing to a screeching halt.
Thousands of dollars left the Speedway on Speedway Road and raced across the unfinished new QuikTrip south of the ballpark on Sunday night. Witnesses said the quick encounter threatened to spiral out of control and lead to panic and arrest.
“I’m losing my mind right now,” said Lora Perry, who said she was driving nearby in North Port at the time. “I had just left work and I was hoping to be off of work by 10 to 11, and it was almost midnight by the time I got here. I could have been standing there in that parking lot waiting for the police.”
“You could see [the money] flying everywhere, and I didn’t know what it was,” Perry said. “It was just so crazy.”
A traffic control officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity described the scene as like a “Mardi Gras” crowd. “No one knew what it was. I knew it was people. It was crazy.”
He said the money was scooped up on a sheet, then dumped on the ground outside a parking lot off the QuikTrip Plaza building on Broward Boulevard, between Tampa and Hillsborough counties.
The officer said that if the horde of people behind him, who were almost crushed as they moved in an orderly line, wasn’t there for the “reason to break into a Truck Stop?”
“I called the cops,” he said. “I was just trying to keep everyone calm so everybody was not rushing back to the Speedway.”
“They smashed through a gate and took off,” he said. “The Sprint Cup drivers were leaving for the race and all they were doing was to make some quick money, make some quick cash.”
“They broke through the gate, they drove through here like crazy — the cops they had out here with them stopped the car, they got it stopped, [but they were] just all full of cash,” he said. “It was just crazy.”
“I was really at a loss for words. It was just kind of getting out of control,” he said. “There were people running from here to there and then back, there were people running from here to there, and it was just bad. I was just like, wow.”