A mobile check-in truck with lines for ride-alongs and drivers. Surrender your license and get a suit (drivers only)
Family and friends are welcome to mill about in the infield next to the track.
Drivers (and friends) walk off to an indoor briefing room for instructions
Walking from the briefing room back to the waiting/loading area.
One spotter per active driver. They communicate via radio and give instructions.
Drivers and riders get a cheap disposable nylon net to make the shared helmets more sanitary.
Drivers are given earbuds. They are taped in place.
Drivers and riders are provided with helmets and a crew member adjusts your straps.
Glasses go on after the helmet. Getting the earpieces to slide in behind the ear can be a challenge!
You get a quick sound check on a music player to make sure you can hear through the earbuds.
Then you stand in line and wait.
Each car has seating set for a different height driver. You wait for a car to come in that matches your build and they pull you out of line.
I waited 90 minutes for my turn after the briefing.
This can get very hot! Helmets and flame suits on hot asphalt.
All right! I've been assigned to car 55 (a yellow Penzoil racer)
You are escorted to your car while the previous driver gets out.
Waiting for the crewman to lift out the steering wheel and separate the harness belts.
NASCARs have solid frames. You enter through the window.
Slide in and watch yourself on the gearshift, safety tubes, and other gear!
Try not to slam your head as you finish the slide-in.
Crewman then adjusts your safety harness and can also add a back cushion if needed. It's a tight space.
Last step is to replace the steering wheel and hook up your radio communication. Then you wait for your turn to go.
All systems are go.
I'm off. Up quickly through four gears while still on pit road.
Once you hit fourth gear, no more shifting on the track.
Onto the main track. Cars are rev limited for about 150 MPH. No speedo.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is about 1.5 miles in the standard NASCAR oval. Left turns only, please.
No pace cars and passing is allowed on the straights.
Look closely and you can see me threading the two dots placed at entry and exit of each turn. This lines you up properly.
Never let your left tire touch that white line. You WILL crash.
Coming off your run, put car in neutral and brake all the way into the pit.
I did the 8 minute drive. It flew by in a heartbeat.
Get disconnected and slide back out the window.
The proud racer struts off with his loyal crewman.
Yeah, I drove that.