TALLADEGA, Ala. (WIAT) — Preparations have begun for this year’s YellaWood 500 race at the Talladega Superspeedway – but with it comes a lot of steps that will take place over the next few days.

Monday’s prep day is full of all of the things you might not have thought about that must be done to pull off a successful race weekend.

This includes trimming the hedges, checking water pressure on emergency trucks and putting stickers on the cars to designate where they are to quickly respond during the race.

Patrick Barfield oversees the experience at the superspeedway.

“We’re always trying to tweak things and make the experience that much better,” Barfield said. “We’re just doing those little checklist things that you have to do before a big event to make sure everything goes off seamlessly when it gets to be Saturday and Sunday.”

The gates opened early Monday around 9 a.m. letting some of the first campers in – including the Houchens – who were rewarded for being the first to enter.

“If you don’t get here, you won’t get your spot,” Richard Houchens said. “And everyone knows I’ve been sitting here for 20 years, and I sat yonder for 20 years. Everyone knows I park here and ain’t no body bother my place.”

This year is a bit different for Houchens, who is battling stage four lung cancer. He just got out of the hospital two weeks ago. His son, Ricky, is grateful to bring his father here for what could be the last time.

“It makes me feel good for the old man,” Ricky said. “I’m just glad to bring him this time.”

The big events lined up for this weekend include the Buck ‘n Wild Rodeo, Saturday night’s infield concerts with Headliner Hardy, then of course the big race at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

The City of Talladega has partnered with the Talladega Superspeedway to offer discounted tickets.