- Written by webmin
Some of you may have read the article in the August Hemmings Motor News about my opportunity to drive a NASCAR race car at New Hampshire International Speedway last fall. In the article I mentioned I would be trying it again at a bigger track this summer. Last weekend was my second go round at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
After two days and 900 miles from Upstate New York to Concord, North Carolina, on our Harleys, we showed up at the track early Saturday morning for the first session of the day. After the same indoctrination info we received at NHIS, we were suited up, fitted for helmets and Hans devices and sent out trackside. Because we had done the experience before, we were selected to be among the first drivers of the day, with me going first of the class of 12.
The tri-oval at Charlotte was totally different from the short banked NHIS track (where our tops speeds were about 110). Top speeds here were between 135 and 144 by calculating your total lap time and onboard engine telemetry.
After running just eight laps, several things came to mind. First, eight laps aren’t enough, you are just getting into a good rhythm when it is time to quit. Second, you are packed in their so tight you can do little else than watch the lead car, I can’t imagine how it feels to be running in a pack of other cars who also can see as little as you can. Third, it was pretty darn hot in that car between the firesuit and the heat of the car itself, so I can appreciate a NASCAR driver putting up with that for 500 or 600 miles, even with a cool suit. Fourth, although I got to go faster in Charlotte and I liked the track and the Petty crew who assisted during the morning session, I got a better experience personally at New Hampshire. After our 12 miles on track, we left Concord shortly afterward for the 900-mile ride home. Four days riding for a quick in and out at the track, but the experience was worth it. I think next time I’ll try another small track like Bristol before I go to a superspeedway, maybe Talladega.