Avondale, AZ High 80 Low 57
Most of you know that Jim’s two favorite things (besides me and the pups) are fishing and NASCAR. And the best part of NASCAR for him is being able to drive really fast.
I had used a Groupon to buy Jim a Rusty Wallace Racing Experience out at Phoenix International Raceway. He was scheduled for last spring but it was pouring rain and he had to reschedule. So last Saturday was the day.
I knew Jim was going to be gone for several hours so I stayed home with the pups. But Jim wasn’t going alone – our really good friend Paul is here and was looking forward to seeing what it was like down in the pits.
Paul has this really fancy camera and agreed to take pictures for me. At the track they have a photographer taking pictures of the participants which they then are wiling to sell to you. They tried to get Jim to pose but he told them that he had his own photographer. They don’t give up easily but when they finally looked over at Paul, they immediately agreed that his camera was probably better than theirs.
They have a driver’s meeting and explain how everything is done to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Jim has driven twice before – once in North Carolina and once at Phoenix so he had a pretty good idea of what to expect.
The excitement builds. Jim checks out all the cars going around the track but he’s especially interested in the #88 which is Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s number and is Jim’s NASCAR driver. There are two #88 cars on the track. One (green) is a drive car and one (blue) is a ride along car. The ride along car is driven by trained drivers and is allowed to go faster than the drive cars.
As he’s standing in line, the guy calls out his name and asks him if he had purchased the car upgrade option (which I had). Jim said yes and the guy told him he got to drive the #88. So Jim figured he’s be in the green drive car but no – because of the upgrade he gets to drive the blue ride along car. WOW! At this point Jim’s excitement is beyond words.
He had the 12 lap shoot out experience and it was over way too fast. It doesn’t take long to get around the track when you’re driving 140 mph. He also got to pass two other cars on the track which just added to the excitement.
There is no one in the car with you – just your spotter talking to you over the headphones. He advises you when you’re coming up on a slower car and lets you know when it is safe to pass. He also warns you when a ride car is coming along and is going to pass you. Safety is definitely their priority.
Thanks Paul for taking these fantastic pictures for us.