Wednesday, December 19, 2012

NASCAR Race Experience

Have you noticed all the Living Social and Groupon deals to buy the NASCAR experience?  Yeah, us, too.  And we did it!  Please note THIS IS NOT FOR KIDS.  This is for mom or dad or grandpa or grandma (go granny) or whoever else in your life is interested in driving fast.  But since Santa may still have some shopping to do we thought we'd let him know about this.
I bought DH a ticket for this as his gift at Christmas last year - the Living Social deal to the NASCAR driving experience through the Mario Andretti Race Experience outfit.  There are a couple of different options you can purchase - Indy car or NASCAR experience, a ride along where you sit next to a professional driver in the car, a 5 minute drive, or an 8 minute drive.  Obviously everything is priced according to what you pick.

This is not for the feint of heart.  You go super fast, which I guess is kind of the point.  If you do the ride along you can get up to 180 mph.  When you drive yourself there is a governor on it that limits you to 150 mph or so but DH was officially clocked going 155 mph.  For real.

We are not a NASCAR family (nothing wrong with it, just too many other things to focus on to add another sport in the mix) and we loved this.  We drove on the Charlotte Motor Speedway's infield to check in and my heart was racing.  The sheer enomority of the place hits you when you crest up on to the infield and the sounds are phenomenally powerful.

Things that surprised us-
- You are NOT the only driver on the track.  You will be out there with other drivers.  Clearly this can be dangerous.  All drivers are required to (of course have a valid driver's license as well as) do a 1 hour safety course.  It is a stick shift in the car so they work you through that and accelerating to go is pretty important so they spend some time on that technique.
- You are hooked to a radio in your helmet transmitting from a driving coach.  You must do what the driving coach says.  If you don't they pull you off the track immediately and you are banned from all NASCAR events and stores forever.  Ok, not that drastic, but pretty bad.  It's for safety.  Everyone needs to behave.

- Although you may only be driving for 5 minutes you could be waiting for up to 3 hours at the track for your turn.  Plan accordingly.  Kids are more than welcome to run around but we bought sound muffling earmuffs (EARMUFFS) for C when he went because it is super loud down there.

- It can get hot.  These events take place in a few racetracks around the US but only on select weekends.  Which means that you are primarily looking at hot months and drivers have to wear flame resistant suits while driving.

- If it rains and the track gets wet you can not drive at high speeds.  They do their best, given how many people they run through this program every day, to make sure you can drive but they will not compromise safety.  We got rained out our first try and came back for a second go at it on a beautiful day.

This was crazy fun for DH.  It was a wild ride and he loved it.  Not sure we would pay full price (the Living Social/Groupon sites are always offering discounts on these) but it was a great gift for him.  You can take all the photos and video at the race experience your heart desires so document it all for the world to know.  It's the gift that keeps on giving....bragging rights.

NASCAR Race Experience
http://www.andrettiracing.com/
a variety of tracks throughout the US- see website for details

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