It’s safe to say Helaine’s birthday gift to me was an unforgettable experience. I didn’t know that when I got it, but it’s obvious today after 18 laps around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a 600 HP NASCAR stock car.
Oh my God! I hit 142.85 MPH in a 42.24 second lap that averaged 127.85 MPH. This is the Richard Petty Experience!
Helaine and Stef came along to bolster my confidence and watch my drive. We arrived, sat through a few safety briefings then onto the track. A professional driver is in the right seat with a second throttle control.
Like a real NASCAR racer this one is configured pull left. That means you fight it a little to find your line high up on the bank going into the sharp turns.
I was feeling a little apprehensive as I climbed in and was harnessed tight. I stalled out in first gear while initially leaving the pits. I also went directly from first to fourth gear. Oops.
My only other major error was forgetting to let off the throttle once I was comfortable enough to go high in a banked turn. My instructor, Mark Skinner, did it for me.
I consider these slipups minor. Once I was driving I was at ease. I never felt the car was out of my control or even close.
I have a newfound respect for NASCAR drivers. This is exhausting work… and I was on a mostly empty track.
There are stills and in cockpit video, but without my laptop there’s no way to download them. I’ll get them on ASAP.
This was a once in a lifetime experience I’ll never forget.
What a birthday gift!