The Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
January 4th, 2009 – by: Kurisu
You can do so at - who would have thought - Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Former NASCAR champion Richard Petty is running a race car driving school.
As race cars they use genuine NASCAR machines. Maybe not the last models, but hey, who are you to complain, those are real 650HP engines!
So if you are going to travel to Vegas, consider going for a ride on the oval!
Well, my travel buddy Thomas and me couldn't resist the temptation and booked the rookie experience. 8 rounds, 350 bucks. Sounds expensive at first...but it's worth every nickel and dime!
It was sunny and warm morning that April, 1st.
We were staying at the Sahara Hotel & Casino. When we headed I-15 north to the racetrack, I was pretty tense because it was VERY windy that morning and I was concerned that they might cancel the driving school.
To get to the pit lanes, we had to enter the infield via a tunnel.
Four race cars were already driving for warmup or whatever.
I'll never forget that sound! Only four cars, and yet that overwhelming sound of V8 engines at high RPMs!
The briefing and preparation took pretty long, but FINALLY I sat in that fine Chevy Monte Carlo race car.
I had to follow a pace car, which gradually increased speed up to 130MPH. Ok, 130MPH is no big deal when you are on a German Autobahn, if you go that slow there they honk you off the left lane haha ;-)
But going 130MPH in a steep curve of a NASCAR race track is pretty scary at first!
Have you seen the movie "Days Of Thunder" with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman?
In this moment, I felt like Tom Cruise driving his race car!
3200 pounds of vibrating metal. No windows, no mufflers, 4 speed manual transmission...the 358 cubic inch engine running at 5.600 RPM! It gives you the creeps!
Forget meditation - if you want to clear your mind, drive a race car!
Of course, the 8 laps were over far too fast.
After stopping the car in the pit lane (cold brakes don't work AT ALL!) and climbing out of the car, my legs felt like jelly.
The rest of the trip, I had a VERY big smile on my face... :-)
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