Saturday June 10th I went to SpeedTech's stock car racing school
at The Rock in Rockingham, NC. SpeedTech is run by Randy Baker,
a super nice guy with a fabulously friendly and fun staff. Yes,
Randy is Buddy Baker's brother -- so he's been in and around racing
for quite some time, and he shared a lot of his experience while
making sure we all had a great time.
a BLAST! As a rabid NASCAR racing fan and an experienced online
racer this experience has given me a whole new outlook on NASCAR
racing and the drivers that make it look so easy. I met a bunch
of great people, and like NASCAR fans everywhere we all had a ball
talking about racing and life in general. Special thanks go to Deanna
at SpeedTech who made everything easy and fun, and the Gregory family,
whom I met at the crack of dawn when I couldn't sleep anymore and
went on out to the track.
started with a short class followed by a few laps in the van with
Randy showing us the line. Then we got into the cars with an instructor
for 3-4 laps to get checked out on procedures. The real solo sessions
began next and we worked on driving a smooth consistent line while
steadily increasing speed. We did this all day until everyone got
in their solo laps.
noise was awesome -- Papyrus's Nascar3 simulator really has poor
audio when compared to the real thing. The most amazing thing was
the G forces in the corners. The car just squats down while you
literally are riding the rib protector on the right side of the
driver's seat. There's just no way to hold yourself up. Also, the
track has cracks in it that you never experience in the simulator
-- these cracks definitely upset the car's smooth ride. That's why
in Nascar3 drivers can cut right down the front straight of the
Rock but at the real track you want to stay high up by the wall
where the groove is smooth. Nascar4 has a very long way to go to
do an even half-decent job based on available PC technology.
my solo laps I went on the 3-lap ride of a lifetime with Randy Baker,
and boy was that an eye opener. Although we felt fast we were nowhere
near the limits of the car. As Randy flew us around the track I
gained a whole new respect for NASCAR drivers. Withstanding the
G forces and heat while driving door to door with 42 other guys
is almost inconceivable once you've experienced a ride at full speed.
Whoever says drivers are not athletes needs to try this out.