Atlanta Motor Speedway – High 51 Low 48 Rainy and foggy
We left Aiken Friday morning and ended up a the Atlanta Motor Speedway Campground. This will be the last of our NASCAR adventures for this journey.
We camped at the racetrack. It was overcast and dreary and cold while we were there.
I love Groupon. I found a fantastic bargain for the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience (Jim has driven with them three other times) and since we knew we were going to be stopping at Atlanta (more about that in my next post), I signed him up.
Saturday was his big day. We headed towards the track.
This is the entrance to the tunnel that takes you into the infield.
The view as you come up out of the tunnel.
I can feel how excited he is. This is him checking in. Notice that everybody has coats on. Well, except for Jim.
After check in comes the driver’s meeting. This is held in the same room that the NASCAR drivers use for their pre-race briefings. At this meeting the instructor tells everybody what they can and cannot do while driving. He also explains the racetrack to them and the best way to get around it. These cars don’t drive like a regular car so he also explains to them about shifting and braking. Jim is front and center.
Now it’s time for them to get suited up in their fire suit. This was our first inkling that things might not go quite as smoothly as the other times have. They did not have enough suits available. So Jim and the other drivers had to wait around until somebody finished their laps and hopefully they wore the size you needed. Jim finally got a suit and a helmet that fit.
Meanwhile I am freezing. It is cold and the wind is blowing. I could have gone into the meeting room but I didn’t want to miss anything. Little did I know that for the next three hours we would do almost nothing but wait in line.
Jim wanted to do the ride along. Professional drivers take you around the track for three laps and explain how and where your car should be as you enter the turns and hit the straight aways. They only had two cars doing the ride alongs and they had issues with tires going down. So we waited and waited in line. Finally Jim got to ride.
After the ride along we then got in the line to wait for Jim to be able to drive. They were not only having problems with the ride along cars but also with the driver cars. A couple of them got taken behind the wall. Tires were a problem. In fact one guy had his tire go down while he was driving and he hit the wall. He wasn’t hurt but that put another car out of commission. So we waited and waited some more.
Finally it’s Jim’s turn. He was very sad to have to drive a Ford but he said it was better than a Toyota. We did a car upgrade for him so he was driving a car that was able to go faster than the regular cars. He just has this need for speed.
This is probably the hardest part of the whole experience. Getting into the car.
Once you get in the window, they take your picture and then sell it to you for a great amount of money. I took this one and I think it’s just as good as what they take.
It’s hard for you to see his grin in this picture but it’s definitely there.
I took a couple of pictures of him as he came down the front stretch. But it was so cold I went and sat in the truck with the pups.
They don’t tell you how fast you are going but it was really fast. This experience did not seem to be as well organized as the other tracks he’s driven. The cars definitely were not in great shape. So there were some issues we weren’t real happy about but the actual experience of driving was well worth it.
He’s still smiling when he thinks about it.