Sebring’s First Arrival
Joe Villone is the first fan in line at Sebring: he arrived on Monday of this week, and parked his motorhome at the front of the queue.

It’s not the first time he’s been first. He arrived in January of 2002, and stayed there for two and a half months – prior to the 50th anniversary race.

"This is more or less my vacation," he said at the time: he was also first in the line in 1998.

The modern-day record for arriving early is held by Patrick Taylor. The former Palm Bay resident arrived on Christmas Eve of 2002 to be the first in line for last year’s race. It was a rumour that Villone had planned to arrive on New Year's Day last year that sparked the early arrival by the Palm Bay man.

Sadly, Patrick Taylor won’t be joining Joe Villone. Taylor first began coming to the 12 Hours in 1980, when he was introduced to the endurance classic by his then girlfriend. The relationship didn't last, but his love for Sebring continued. But Patrick Taylor died on June 26 of last year. He was 50 years old.
Barry Foster
News-Sun

 

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