Skip to main content

Richard Petty Driving Experience

One of the fortunate things about being a buyer is that you get to travel for work, whether to visit locations, trade shows, plant tours etc. In 2005, besides moving from North Carolina to New York to assist in the start-up of our new district purchasing office, I've been fortuante to go on two work trips, Louisville, KY in June and Orlando, FL in early November.

Sometimes during these trips you are able to do/see/experience things you normally wouldn't be able to do, whether by means of affordibility, vacation time, or distance. In Lousiville, I was able to go to Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger Museum. In Orlando, I was able to take the 'Rookie Course' of the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

Disney has its own special track that is exclusive for the experience...so it's a minor downfall as all the other 'Experience' locations are on tracks where racing occurs. The track is a one and a half mile tri-oval.

The experience begins with a few questions: Have you raced competitively before? "No." have been to a RPDE (Richard Petty Driving Experience) before? "No." Can you drive a stick? "No." And boy did I catch some hell! :-p More on that later.

After the brief questionaire, you immediately receive a racing suit. And you are to put it on. They do introductions of the instructors and you watch a brief video. You are broken into groups and assigned an instructor, and they go over safety features of the car...how to climb in and out of the car, what to do in case of this or that. The next part is that you ride along with your instructor in a minivan around the track. There they tell you what to look, for the racing line they want you to take, etc.

The track at Disney pretty much has a fool proof (in other words safe from me) way around the track. They have cones on the inside of the track for points of acceleration, deceleration, and two red lines at various points within the track as a guide for you to navigate around.

You aren't on the track alone, you actually follow your instructor around the track, hopefully at a distance of three car lengths behind and it is a lot closer than you think. The instructors go at the speed you are comfortable with. So if you are able to adjust to the car quickly the faster you can go, the more timid you may be the slower they will go. Also, you are on the track at the same time as other 'students' so you may be passed or actually pass. Maximum out at the same time is four students with instuctors, so eight cars. However, you are to go where your instructor goes. As the one guy said "if you are following me on the track and i decide to get hungry and go to McDonalds and turn off and go to McDonalds, you better be behind me and pull into McDonalds."

You are on the track for a total of ten laps, one warm up, eight racing, one cool down. You have a pseudo-drivers meeting with a line up(the order in which you will go out). I went out 25th of 28 people. You are outfitted in a helmet and neck restraint prior to going in. So while you wait..you are almsot like a robot walking around.

They call your name, ya whoop and hollar, and into the car you go. Oh, remember i said I never driven a stick before. Well while waiting to go out, i got a brief lesson on how to opperate a stick. No w i know the basic concepts and all that, but when you are driving out there and everyone is watching ya..well you tend not to pull it off..so after a few starts and stalls..I statered it off in fourth (which sure is a bumpy ride at a slow speed) and off to the race track I went.

It was totally awesome! I could have gone faster..and the laps were done quicker than you could realize. You want to be out for oh a couple of 100 or so more. It was a total rush...at the cool down you head down the pit ramps...shift to neutral and coast right in. I got out and just let out a large whoop (which just about everyone did) and was grinnin from there in Orlando, Florida up through Georgia..past my old home in North Carolina, up I-95...up to the Thruway and all the way home to Albany. New York. It was that much fun.

My final speed was 114. Most were about 118-122, others 108-112, the highest was 124. They say the best is about 135-140 usually. I also was able to receive a photo of me in the race car hand on the wheel all that stuff before I did the first of two stall outs :-p. It's on a plaque and hanging up here in my computer room/office.

At the end, there is an awards ceremony..you get called up and receive a celebratory package...with a breakdown of your lap times, a certificate yo ucan frame saying you completed the experience, and then of course - it is NASCAR - a ton of promotion goodies. No Goody's Headache Powder or John Boy & Billy Grilling Sauce though.

It was certainly a great experience..and if you ever have the opportunity to participate in one. DO IT!

Comments

Cool!!! :)

Next time we're in Orlando (where BTW my sister-in-law lives), I'll have to put that on my "to-do" list.

You are "The World's Fastest Road Enthusiast". :)

Take care and keep on bloggin'.

Popular posts from this blog

Bridgeport Covered Bridge

The Bridgeport Covered Bridge is a historic crossing of the South Fork Yuba River located in Nevada County, California near Nevada City.  The Bridgeport Covered Bridge opened as a tolled crossing during 1862 as part of the larger Henness Pass Road.  The Bridgeport Covered Bridge closed to vehicle traffic during 1972 and was recently restored during 2021.  The Bridgeport Covered Bridge is historically California's longest covered span is thought to likely be the longest such structure surviving in the world.  Featured as the blog cover is the Bridgeport Covered Bridge during 1950 when it was an active part of Pleasant Valley Road.   The history of the Bridgeport Covered Bridge The history of Bridgeport Covered Bridge was featured in the  September 1950 California Highways & Public Works .  Bridgeport Covered Bridge was constructed during 1862 over the South Fork Yuba River.  The Bridgeport Covered Bridge served as part of the Virginia Turnpike Company maintained Henness Pass Roa

Former California State Route 215

  California State Route 215 was a short-lived state highway which existed in the Los Angeles Metropolitain area after the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.  California State Route 215 was aligned from US Route 60 at 5th Street in Pomona north to US Route 66 near Claremont via Garey Avenue.  California State Route 215 came to be after California State Route 71 was bisected in Pomona due to relinquishment of a portion of Garey Avenue due to the opening of a portion of the Corona Freeway (now Chino Valley Freeway) during 1958.  California State Route 215 was deleted by the Legislature during 1965. The history of California State Route 215 The initial segment of what was to become California State Route 215 was added to the State Highway System as part of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act.  The First State Highway Bond Act defined what would become  Legislative Route Number 19  (LRN 19) as running from Claremont to Riverside.  The segment of LRN 19 between Claremont and Pomona would in

US Route 70 over San Augustin Pass

San Augustin Pass is a gap in the Organ Mountains, San Augustin Mountains and San Andres in Dona Ana County east of Las Cruces.  San Augustin Pass lies an elevation of approximately 5,600 feet above sea level and was originally traversed by New Mexico State Route 3.  US Route 70 would be realigned over San Augustin Pass during 1934 when it was extended to Los Angeles, California.  During 1963 US Route 82 would be extended through San Augustin Pass to Las Cruces.  Since the early the early 1990s signage of US Route 82 has been withdrawn to Alamogordo.  San Augustin Pass and US Route 70 are largely known for the numerous closures due to test firings originating from the White Sands Missile Range.   Part 1; the history of highway designations over San Augustin Pass San Augustin Pass traditionally has been the easiest from the Rio Grande in Las Cruces east to the Tularosa Basin.  The terrain conditions at San Augustin Pass allowed for an easy crossing in the gap between the Organ Mountains