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Signed, Sealed & Delivered: Daytona's Sign Guy

Sign Supervisor has been a staple of Daytona International Speedway for two decades

Glen Morris does not consider himself a NASCAR fan.

Yet he's worked at "The World Center of Racing" for 21 years.

How?

"I'm a sign fan. I love to make signs," Daytona International Speedway (DIS)'s Sign Supervisor smiled. 

"I saw an ad in the paper for 'an artist with sign experience.' And it was like I was reading a call for me."

Morris interviewed on a Thursday. He quit his job at the local paper on Friday. He started at DIS Monday morning.

And he's never left.

"There’s not a moment where I don’t think of signs," Morris continued. "I drive by signs and I think ‘is that a good one, or a bad one?'

“There's gotta be a message. .. if it’s a sign saying ‘the men’s room is here’ with an arrow, and whoever needs to get there – and they get there? Then I’ve done my job.”

Morris makes dozens of signs each day -- sometimes hundreds. All that in addition to painting the start-finish line of the most iconic track in all of racing. 

And yet, in 2010, there was one sign Morris missed. 

“I was told this guy from Vermont won this opportunity to come to the Speedway and work in the departments -- and they chose mine," Morris recalled. It was the week of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 -- one of Morris' busiest weeks of the year. 

It was also in the midst of his young son, Daniel's, battle with leukemia.  

But, like any of the other 364 days of the year, Morris remained committed to doing his job to the best of his ability -- and with a smile.

"We really hit it off," he recalled of his relationship with the "contest winner," Kevin Thomas. That included painting the start-finish sign together, as the sun rose. "We were talking the whole time. I told him about my son, having cancer and all.”

But Thomas left as quick as he had arrived: he was soon escorted to his next "station." Morris assumed he'd never see his new friend again.

A few days after the race, Morris was summoned to the International Motorsports Center.

“I’m sitting there and in walks Kevin, in this suit that probably cost about as much as I’d make in a week," Morris chuckled. "He says, ‘well I gotta tell you, my name’s not Kevin. Its Steve Phelps. I'm the marketing director for NASCAR…. Come to find out I was on Undercover Boss."

Phelps presented Morris with a helmet signed by all the drivers from the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Morris was excited to give it to Daniel. 

But Phelps had an additional gift to bestow.

"[He goes,] also, on behalf of the NASCAR family, we’d like to pay your medical bills. For your son. And they did," Morris said quietly. 

"That sealed the deal. Like, I’m never going anywhere. This is gonna be my job for the rest of my life.”