Juanita “Lightnin’” Epton, whose tireless knack for selling tickets with a personal touch made her the longest-tenured employee at Daytona International Speedway, has died. She was 103 years old.

Epton was at the ticket window for the first Daytona 500 in 1959, hired a year earlier by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. while the circuit was still under construction. The speedway‘s ticket office was named in her honor in 2022, when she was still on the job.


Statement from NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France:
Lightnin‘ Epton and her husband Joe were part of my mom and dad Bill and Anne France‘s team from the early days of NASCAR. They were scoring races, selling tickets, and did every other job that needed to be done. The Eptons worked from the Carolinas, coming to Daytona Beach to help with races on the beach, and ultimately moving to Florida for the opening of Daytona International Speedway. She worked alongside our family from the very first DAYTONA 500 through this year‘s 66th running of the race, bringing an incredible passion for the track to the ticket office every day. Lightnin‘ was beloved by our staff, fans, and drivers alike. Our family will miss Lightnin‘ tremendously and our thoughts are with her family and friends as we celebrate her life.”

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