I had the need for speed

Discussion in 'Wolfman's Nascar Pit Stop' started by Mark J, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Today I went to one of my favorite tracks. Charlotte Motor Speedway.
    I attended the Richard Petty driving experience through a company package at no cost to me.

    I think I have said it before here but I will again anyway. If you have never gone into turn 1 at around 170-175 MPH at Charlotte and you are a race fan, you have gotta do it atleast once, well 3 times because it's a 3 lap run.

    You suit up in a monkey suit that might stand up to a cigarette lighter by appearances compared to a racing nomex suit, helmet, and HANS device.
    Climb in the passenger side window , greet the driver who has your life in his hands, and get buckled in real tight.
    When the driver asked was ready I said let's get it on!
    He peeled the skin off them taters and no doubt as we came off of pit road and climbed the banking in turn one we were already doing 100 or more.
    No lifting at all until turn 3 he lifted a tad and nailed the gas again through 4.
    The g forces are astounding for someone not accustomed to them. I tried to lift a leg off the floorboard through one turn without success.

    You can feel the car digging hard through the turns with the rearend twitching telling me, this driver was close to the edge in what the car was setup for.
    We come of 4 with a little sawing on the wheel and rip down through the tri oval dancing from grass to the wall following the racing line and top out at 175ish going DOWN into turn one. It's like driving off into a hole.
    I honestly have no clue how these race car drivers drive in the conditions I RODE in and with 40 other cars on the track going 20 MPH faster then I was.
    It is an amazing feat. It would take alot of seat time just getting used to the limited visibility out of these cars.
    Just for the sake of which car I rode in, I lucked out and got the #8 Budweiser Chevy.

    Being in there on a corporate sales packeage we got a little more then those just showing to pay and ride.
    We also had timed races on changing a tire, free t-shirts and hats, lunch, and the last thing we did was go to the Driving experience facilities which are off the grounds behind turn 2.
    The driving experience crew builds all their own cars and until 2001 I believe, built some cars for Petty Enterprises and had a cup win with one of those cars. They are always coming up with different ideas to make cars run better particularly on Charlotte where they turn so many laps. I think they venture into some R&D but had nothing of real value that I couldnt take a camera in the shops.
    It's the only shop you'll go in with a camera.

    In the next little while I'll be posting some pictures I took and will get more in later that others took.

    Yall gotta do this at a track near you. 99 bucks aint squat for this ride.
     
  2. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

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    9,173
    State:
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    Name:
    Walter Flack
    sounds like a experience of a lifetime, I would love to do that someday. My question is How did you feel after climbing out of the car
     

  3. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
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    Walter, a very mild case of rubbery legs. Alot less then what you get from being on the ocean all day. It lasted 5 minutes or so or long enough to get out of the gear.
    I'm sure adrenaline has something to do with it or excitement, but the g-force I imagine is the major contributor.

    I was calm as a cucumber. I knew the only thing that could happen would be a tire go down and we'd either Darlington stripe the hell of the passenger side or back it into the fence.
    Even when Our handler was asked where they get their drivers and he replied.. One was a pizza delivery guy and one was a Detroit cabby. I still didnt get nervous, lol.
    These guys are real good and most drive this gig part time while racing USAC and many other circuits. You gotta put groceries on the table.
     
  4. Big Country01

    Big Country01 New Member

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    964
    State:
    brandon,florida
    I Never Heard Anyone Talk About There Expirience At One The Driving Schools Sounds Pretty Cool....to Bad You Couldn't Talk Them Into Letting You Drive.....
     
  5. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

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    It sounds like one heck of an experience. You write a good detailed ride, almost like we were with you.
     
  6. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
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    Four Oaks, NC
    I had no desire to drive. I prefer the experience of the speed and feel. Thats something I would never be able to duplicate.
    We turned alot faster laps then the folks driving were allowed to drive.

    I'll drive later as I imagine i'll have to pay for that myself at the tune of 400 bucks for 8 laps I believe.


    Here are the first 3 pictures
    First picture, a driver instructor employed by the driving experience chilling before he gets into his office.

    Second picture, yours truelly jammin some lug nuts. I wasnt the fastest but all my times were near duplicates and twice were duplicates at 12.37 seconds. No penalties for loose lugnuts either.
    This is an electric impact wrench. The ones those guys use are probally a 100 times faster. Those guns cost in the thousands and in the hands of an amateur they would be rebuilding them alot at a cost of 1200 per gun.

    picture 3, the 42 car wins!
     

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  7. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
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    Still trying my hand at lug nuts.

    Some of my co-workers yakking in nervousness to one of the guys that preps you for the ride and buckles you in.

    Can you imagine what 112 octane is a gallon?
     

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  8. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Standing on the concrete 4 tier bleachers in victory lane looking towards turn 1 and the private condos overlooking the track.
    I was standing in a spot labeled NASCAR.com, marked with duct tape and sharpie.
    The media has designated places to stand and also there are cords hanging from a media cabinet also labeled like Indy Tribune or channel 14. So they have their own jacks to plug cameras or mics into for their feeds. Interesting to someone like me that is an electrician.

    The second picture is a speed shot. All 3 cars were doing 160-165 through the dog legs and all 3 were hauling folks in our group, some terrified, some too scared to open their eyes, and others wanting more by giving them the thumbs up over and over to the driver wanting more speed. I'm guilty of that and more, like yelling YEAH! BRING IT ON!

    The 3rd picture in this group is the heartbeat. About 750 horsepower in these cars we were in today. They build and run Chevies, Dodges, and Fords but they all have a Chevy motor in them for simplicity. Cheaper to build, parts more readily available, and less parts need to be stocked being they are all the same make engine.
    At one point I was leaning against a pallet taller then I was, The wrapping was torn off one corner. It was a pallet of nothing but new in the box aluminum racing heads. MONEY!

    These shops were clean but nowhere near as clean as a cup racing shop.
    You can literally serve up mashed taters and a steak on the floor of a cup shop and the shop workers are all in uniforms that are equally as spotless.
     

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  9. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
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    First picture is off the starting grid.
    If you are driving they call your name over the loudspeaker introducing you like DH, starting on the pole in the number 9 car is the replacement for Kasey Kane in today's race here at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
    Most of the guys driving were over 40 years old, the majority over 50 and a few above 60 in age. Probally 14 drove today that I saw.

    Picture 2, They do have accidents sometimes and repairs have to be made.
    The car you aren't seeing is the one behind this body man. It had just had the entire rear clip replaced and was waiting to be skinned, painted, and re decaled.
    Someone who paid to drive at Las Vegas had a tire go down and backed it into the wall. You'll see these guys after every two runs on a car pull the hood pins, raise the hood, and roll the car backwards looking at the tires for cuts or small pieces of metal in them.
    I brought a nice tire with plenty of rubber left home with me. a victim of a small puncture. 5 bucks, can't beat that price for a Good Year Eagle.

    Picture 3 As i was saying, they scratch build everything they run.
     

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  10. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
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    In tomorrow's race watch for in Wally's world.
    Wally takes someone for a ride along like we did today.
    The Richard Petty driving experience builds those cars specifically for him.
    Look for the driving experience logo somewhere on a roll bar.
     
  11. Big Country01

    Big Country01 New Member

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    964
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    brandon,florida
  12. Catpaw

    Catpaw Well-Known Member

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    9,186
    State:
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    Name:
    James
    Wow Mark sound's like you had a Great time ... Nice picture's too.
     
  13. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    In this first photo we were standing in one of the garages off the race track facility. As we are looking around we hear one of those racing engines and the garage door raises and the 45 car pulls in. When the driver/ instructors feel something a miss in the suspension or engine, they fill out a form and send it to the garage to be checked over. This car drove through the tunnel, down the street and to their garage complex. Only in NC would you see a stock car on a public road I guess.

    The second picture is another speed shot. These things are hard to get right this close to the track at the speeds they are going with a digital camera.
    A few of my pictures just had a rear bumper in them.


    The last picture is me just after I made this sign and placed it in the window.
    I'm waiting for the guy to get back with the title so I can load up and head home.
    Naa, this car is a Kane show car sitting in winner's circle. All these guys behind the scenes do multiple jobs. For instance the guy that travels with Kanes car was the same guy that was running the tire changing timing and scoring for us and doing the set up and take down. There are alot of part time employees in the Driving Experience program.
    Daimler Chrysler has the entire facility rented today, the reason the Kane show car was there. So there were all kinds of tents and what not going up in the whole infield for that event.

    I had to sign 3 waivers yesterday. The first was to go into the infield.
    The second for the high speed ride.
    And the third was to change a tire.
    Be ready to write and sign your name over and over when you go.
    Go in a truck if you have one, Had I known tires were 5 bucks a pop I would have driven something different. They would make nice Christmas presents.
    They had tires they needed to get rid of and I imagine at times they may have a hood, fender or some other car part they might sell.
    Pictures.- I was not prepared for the picture deal.
    Once you get strapped in the car their photographer (a good one) runs up and snaps your picture. The picture will have the driver and you looking out the passenger window. By the time you get unsuited your picture is sitting in a nice wooden trophy plaque at the souvenir trailer. The price was 65 bucks I think. Now they would take your picture out of that plaque and put it in a gift card for 18 bucks.

    Wear comfortable clothing and and tennis shoes. Their zoot suits will go right over the clothes and you dont wear fire shoes.
    Relax, there is nothing to fear. I have pulled G's before in an F-4 Phantom when I was a teenager but this was different with the feel of the car on the ground. This was not as violent as my Phantom ride. This is just an amazing ride.
    Down the straights it doesnt feel fast, When you hit that turn is where you get the sense of speed because these guys only let out long enough for the car to settle and then nail it again which is not long at all. It pushes you down in the seat hard.
    I dont know if any of you saw the Charlotte race this fall and the in car camera on Michael Waltrip for about 3 laps. His head was supprted by an arm on the seat but in the turns his whole body would sink in the seat and looked like his neck retracted into his body. When he hit the straights his head popped up straight as an arrow.
    It's an incredible feeling and amazing they can race like this for 600 miles at this track. ALL of these guys are athletes.
    If I had to ride 600 miles I would have to be extracted from the car more then likely long since passed out.
    It is still amazing how they do this 3 wide!
    You gain a whole new respect for these guys without a doubt.
     

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  14. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
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    Keep in mind, I need another tire. The one I bought I'm afraid will never make it to a nail on the shop wall.
     

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  15. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    i would sure like to do that one of these days. watching the race now. cautions out and edwards is doing great. come on tony, hit something. lol.

    looks like a right front off the #9.
     
  16. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

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    3,039
    State:
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    That's the best $5.00 you ever spent.
     
  17. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

    Messages:
    3,365
    State:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Mark, that was AWESOME. You description made me feel if I was right there with you. I would love to do that one of these days. Well, after I've thinned out a bit.
     
  18. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    That is a FAQ. What are weight height restrictions?
    You have to fit through a window 15" high 30 inches wide and 36" off the ground.

    the helmet with a HANS seems like it barely fits lol.
     
  19. screen

    screen New Member

    Messages:
    581
    State:
    Sterling, Illinois
    Mark - Thanks for giving us the birds eye view - brings back memories of my chance to ride with Fireball, back in 61' - No helmet, no fire suit(blue jeans and a T), no seat belt(ten foot of rope), no seat - all I could see was the grass and banking of the Daytona speedway -

    Boy this looked great - have to try that sometime - thanks again for the tour - Did your arms feel heavier when you tried to lift them or where you too busy hanging on? lol hahaha!!!

    Looks like that tire is going to some little ones rooom!

    Sure going to miss all you guys in this thread during the off season - see everyone in February!!!

    Thanks to Wolfman for starting this section!!!
     
  20. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    They are fixing to add to the ride along format and I definately want to participate in it.
    They will have say 4 cars and divide say 4 riders to each car.
    It will be an actual race with passing. Every 3 laps they have to come down pit road and the second part of the race begins...Switching out riders.
    So instead of a normal pit stop you are substituting changing tires and fuel to changing people.
    There are penalties for safety devices not used properly such as belts fastened loosely or incorrectly, just like loose lug nuts. :eek:

    I think this format would be as fun to watch as ride in.
    You think you see poeple climb out of those cars now shell shocked and whiter then cloroxed sheets, this ought to be good.

    I never tried anything with my arms except on the straight aways when I was telling my chaffeur to quit holding back.
    In the turns you have to hold on to something or have an arm hooked over a roll bar or you are going look good eating window net.
    As far as seat. it really isnt one as you may be accustomed to seeing.
    Basicly it's a sheet metal pan for a back rest and to sit on. You aren't but a few short inches off the floor pan.

    This would make a great gathering and if you had 15 people or so you could go in on a corporate deal and get t-shirts , lunch , hats and the pit crew challenge. They have a sales staff that will build your event the way you want it all the way up to renting the entire speedway for the day which is what we did the first time.
    Be an even better gathering in Charlotte since most of the teams are garaged within 3-4 miles of the track and a bunch of them in the same industrial park.
    It would be something alot different.
    Garage hop on Friday and have the event on Saturday.
    Roll out headed home still smelling like 112 octane on Sunday