The NASCAR experience at the Richard Petty Racing School was — in a word — OMFG! peanut butter jelly time! w00t! awesome!!
Without question, I am the luckiest man in the world — I'm married to a woman who wanted me to go fast for Christmas. And… I went fast. Although I still contend that my lead car intentionally slowed me down, I managed to run 116 mph in a car regulated to run 120 mph.
(No, I didn't run from the invisible fire, but I did mentally prepare to strip down to my boxers and crash helmet… just in case. I guess Tom Cruise and his witchcraft were on my side this round.)
A couple of observations:
– You really have no concept of speed when you're on the track. Since I was driving behind an instructors car, I could gauge my speed relative to the lead car. But — since the wall is white and you're really not doing a lot of site-seeing — you really don't have an appreciation for how fast or slow you are going.
– The RP crew at Walt Disney World is outstanding. I realize that it's their job to balance fun & safety, but the team really does an amazing job. The WDW track doesn't carry the cache of Daytona/Talledega/Indy, but if you were ever going to "give it a try", I highly recommend the WDW experience.
– I have a new appreciation for what a NASCAR driver must go through during a race. The cars are very physical – it's hot in the cars, you get pushed around in the corners, and you are fighting the steering wheel to track on the straights. Add in another 42 cars all trying to pass and you're in for one hell of an afternoon.
– Speed is addictive… very addictive. I'm ready to go again. 🙂
I know I have a reputation for being outspoken, but I seriously just don't have the words to describe how awesome my racing experience was. Without question, it was a top five day.
It was… well, if you caught a glimpse of my stupid grin as I got out of the car, I think I'll be doing that for several days to come.