So I think I want to race cars now (professionally…and legally).
Back in late October, I had the unique opportunity to enjoy a full-blown NASCAR experience in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I was able to ride along with a professional driver, DRIVE (!!!) a stock car and take a pit crew training course (for those who aren't familiar those are the dudes that change the tires and stuff).
The three-day extravaganza started on a Thursday, where I along with other of members of the media who varied in levels of excitement and/or paranoia all got a crash course on driving a stock car on an actual NASCAR race track. The course was facilitated by Richard Petty Driving Experience, who specialize in ride-alongs and drivers-ed style rookie courses at various tracks around the country. I promise you I would've been just as excited and grateful if they had just let me try on a racing suit.
The next day was spent at the Performance Instruction and Training School in Moorseville, North Carolina, where we received brief training on various pit crew roles. I won't go on to say that I had more fun doing this than driving (because that would be a lie) but I will say that this was definitely much more of a strenuous activity that I think its given credit for and I enjoyed it a great deal more than I anticipated. My hat goes off to all pit crew members, I now know firsthand just how intense your work is and important you guys are to the sport.
We ended the weekend at the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway where we got to see Gernam Quiroga, Jr. and his team live in action. Having the experience of both driving and working the pit gave me a new sense of appreciation and understanding for all of the athletes and the sport as a whole. Plus it left me with a lingering "maybe-I-can-do-this-for-real" feeling that I have yet to shake.
Check out the gallery if you want to see pics of me looking way too excited.
Huge thanks to everyone at NET10 Wireless for the experience of a lifetime!
Aaron Rhodan is the Senior Producer for EBONY.com