I got to the Daytona International Speedway at 9:15 this morning thinking I had missed my chance to be driven around the track. I was supposed to meet a driver at 9:00 AM, but due to a change in the parking arrangements, I was told by an attendant to get back out into traffic and make my way a half mile down the road to another lot. Luckily, it wasn’t too late and I got in on the last ride of the day, before they got the track ready for the real racers.
Unfortunately I had to ride with a couple, and noticing that I was about nudge his wife out of the way and take the front seat, her husband asked me to let her sit in the front. So being the gentleman that I am, I let her.
Hold on! was all the driver said before taking off (Video forthcoming). Before long, he had the car up around 130 MPH, and he wasn’t slowing down in the turns like I was told he would. I’m glad he didn’t because it made the experience all the more intense. He took us right up against the wall and told us again to hold on when we were coming out of turn four — the steepest turn on the track (sloped at something like a 34 degree angle, I thinl and is three stories high). We didn’t even get helmets, by the way, which I guess wouldn’t matter all that much if the car flipped or hit a wall at that speed.
The thing you notice is that the track isn’t completely smooth. It’s actually quite bumpy lower in the turns, which makes you respect what these drivers do all the more. Going 200 MPH on a flat surface surrounded by 42 other cars jockeying for position is hard enough, but add to the fact that the road isn’t completely smooth and you have quite the challenge.
Unfortunately, it was only two laps and it felt like it was over in less than two-and-a-half minutes, and it probably was. But today I could say that I had gone over 130 MPH and experienced some minor G-Force all before 9:30 AM.
I’ve had worse mornings.