Guest blog alert! Caster here. Since Lobshots spends more time chattering about swimsuit models and spiders and tattoos than ice hockey and NASCAR, here’s a modest car racing plug. Disclosure: I am a NASCAR fan. I love the strategy. I love the accessibility for the fans. I love engines. If you think it’s easy…cruising around an oval at 200mph an inch from another 2 ton car going 200mph… give it a try. The Tony Stewarts and Jimmy Johnsons and Russ Wheelers make it look easy. Last month I drove an actual racecar at California Speedway. http://www.nascarracingexperience.com If you have the chance…do it. You can drive the car solo. No instructor. No pace car. You have to be able to drive stick…annnnnd that’s about it. All the cars have been driven in actual NASCAR events and subsequently donated to the driving school. Only difference, engines have rev limiters that put the top speed around 160mph. Still fast. Instructors tell you to “stay above the white line, listen to your spotter, no burnouts. Go.” The spotters do have an engine kill switch if a driver decides on stupidity. The instructors casually mention… “Oh, other drivers’ll be out there on the track too. Your classmates.” That’s when the maybe-this-isn’t-so-easy feeling creeps in. Cars are rotated onto the track, so potentially 4 other drivers could be mixing it up with me. 4! NASCAR has 40 racers, I’m freaking about 4. Waiting in line, I check out my “classmates.” The diversity of these misfits was….alarming. I stood behind a 17 yr old girl and in front of a 5’2” 250lbs fella who smelled like roasted corn and looked like the Walrus character from the animated short The Walrus and the Carpenter. These folks’ll be out there. Yep. But maaannn, the smiles on their faces… amazing. Big honkin’, wide, toothy grins everywhere. People brought family, everyone taking pics, no masking the excitement. The mix of anticipation and adrenaline. The rush. Intoxicating smell of warming asphalt and race fuel. It was exhilarating. Just standing in line and watching driver’s reactions when they exited the car. Absolutely floating on the crackling thrill of it all, and bursting to explain the sensation of what they’d just done… to the folks who’d been watching what they’d just done. And I got to feel it. So fortunate. In the end: Success. No wrecks. I got to pass someone at 150mph, and experience the G-force of a 140mph turn on 17-degree banking. My top speed was higher than my buddy’s top speed. I’ll not be forgetting to remind him, time to time.
Btw, the nearest city to the track is Rancho Cucamonga, CA. If you’ve never been, it’s a treat. Stand on your tippy-toes from anywhere and you can see an Applebees, a Chili’s, a Red Lobster, a TGIFriday, an Olive Garden, and an Outback Steakhouse. Take. Your. Pick. Fine NASCAR dining. I’d sell all my appliances and take the fam to dinner…forever. Other local attractions are high voltage power lines and the constant, maddening drone of Highway 10.
Good stuff, Caster. Love it. Made me feel like I, too, could actually enjoy NASCAR. Also, Rancho Cucamonga just jumped above Bali on my “next vacation destination” list.