I had one of the coolest life experiences yesterday. We had just finished morning radio on the Bob and Sheri show in Charlotte and we jumped into a car with our manager. All day we were hearing mentions of this secret lunch that we needed to wear pants and closed toe shoes. I was also told that I needed to bring the flip cam so I knew something was up. I had my suspicions with all these hints and they were 100% right on.
We drove for about 45 minutes and then all of sudden we see the massive Lowe's Motor Speedway in front of us. So we were going to get to go in a NASCAR stock car as part of the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Check out the link: http://www.1800bepetty.com/Experience
Our management had set it up for all of us to get a ride in a stock car for 3 laps. If we had more time we could have took the driving school and actually learned how to drive the stock car. I definitely want to go back to the Richard Petty Driving Experience and learn how to drive solo. I don't think I will be going 180 mph like I did as a passenger but it would be fun to drive on the track and shift gears.
The whole experience was just amazing. We got their got signed in and were given little USB key chains that were going to video our 3 lap experience. Every one at the Richard Petty Driving Experience in Charlotte were just so hospitable to us and went the extra mile. They got us fitted into our fire retardant jumps suits and our safety helmets and helped get us into the cars. They hooked us up to a neck brace that connects to the helmet and then strapped us in tight to the 3 point harness inside the racing car.
Getting into a stock car is nothing like jumping into the General Lee especially with that huge helmet on my head (there are no door handles just in case you are wondering) and it takes some wiggling to get your head and body down into the car. I had a second to say hello to driver and thank him for this amazing opportunity and then it was show time.
The driver dropped the hammer down and I felt I was like Cole Trickle in "Days Of Thunder". We started at a dead standstill in the pits and the driver just floored it and started shifting gears as we headed into turn 1. I could not believe that we were accelerating into this massive 24 degree turn. I just held on and took it all in. We hit the back straight away and we were probably a foot off the wall and the driver had it wide open or as fast as he was going to take me which was somewhere between 160-180 mph. Going into the next turn I could see him down shifting but halfway through the the turn he was shifting up again and accelerating. We hit the grandstand straight away and we were probably at top speed racing by the pits. We did this for 3 more laps and then we down shifted into the pits to end this ride.
Oh my god!! You cannot comprehend what those race car drivers go through on a average race. I thought after attending a race in person I had a good perspective but no way. Not until you get in a stock car and go over 150 mph and feel what it is like to hit those high embanked walls and go down the straight ways inches of the walls will you know. I could not do that for 250 laps by myself.