By Travis Stahl
A few years ago my wife bought me a pretty unique present for my birthday. She purchased a NASCAR ride-along package from Kentucky Motor Speedway giving me the opportunity to take a ride at 185-miles per hour in an actual NASCAR. At first, having been a race-car drive for years, I was a little skeptical. Big deal I thought, I’m not driving the car so it won’t be nearly as fun. I was wrong, and this weekend I get the opportunity to take part in another ride-along program in Indianapolis.
The trip to Indianapolis is going to be different for me in two ways. First of all, I’m making the trip this time with my dad, brother and brother-in-law. I’m really excited for them to experience what it is like to ride in a NASCAR. Both my dad and brother have raced for years also so they have a little bit of an idea what is coming but my brother-in-law is going to be shocked. The second reason this trip is going to be so different is that I now know what to expect and can really look forward to it.
The thought for most people who watch NASCAR on television is that driving a race car is not physically difficult. Oh contraire, it is extremely difficult. After a 20-lap feature in a mini-sprint my head would be resting on the retaining net attached to the roll cage. In a NASCAR it’s even more difficult. The force of the cars through the corners makes it difficult to hold your head straight. I can’t imagine the constant arm strength required to guide the car through the corners.
Anybody who considers themselves a NASCAR fan should look in to taking part in a ride-along program. The cost is fairly inexpensive (usually under $100) and doesn’t require a long trip as programs are available in Michigan, Chicago, Indianapolis and Kentucky. Being in an actual NASCAR car that is racing around the track at top speeds in an experience like nothing else.