Kentucky

We (I), Kathy goes along so she will not have to set home and worry I think, says she has fun though, went to Kentucky Speedway in May.  Angelia (our daughter) also went with us and she did a ride-a-long. My fastest lap was 147.75 MPH.   I was kinda disappointed with that, wanted to get up to 160 MPH or so.  They told us we would get up the speed of the ride-a-long car but never even got close.

I drove the #50 TNT car. The car did not have the feel or same view out the windshield I was expecting.  If I had more seat time I could have adjusted to the car sooner or in the real world they would have adjusted the car to me.  In any event I was having an off day.  In re-viewing the tape when we got home I did not do bad it just was not optimum.   I decided I wanted to learn how to drive a Winston Cup car not just follow someone.  It was a lot of fun and felt good being on the track.  I was not scared going into the turns and the wall, well the wall is just there, don't run into it lol.   You stay about a car width away from it.

Kathy asked be if I knew who Frank Kimmel was and pointed to someone in the stands then said don't look don't look.  Did not know him from Adam, but got to taking to him  In about 15 sec I knew he was a driver but he never said anything.  We where talking about difference in shock travel between a IRL car and a Winston Cup car  Big difference the IRL car is about 1/2 inch Winston Cup car about 5 inches.  Which makes the ride in a IRL car is a lot bumpier then in a Winston Cup car.  He asked me how fast I was going out there and I said they will not tell you your speed you are going but told him I was doing about 42 43 seconds a lap.   He said he was testing an IRL car about a week an a half before and was doing 31 seconds a lap.    I said you where going around here in 31 second, he said yep 200 MPH past the start finish line.   Found out who he was about two weeks later, he is the current points leader in the ARCA series and well on his way to being the ARCA champion this year.



ATLANTA

I was thinking about going to the Buck Baker Driving School next year but Kathy said why not this year. So we off to Atlanta Speedway for a 3 Day driving class in Sept.  You enter the infield through the tunnel in turn 1 & 2 you come out of the tunnel and up on the infield and look left and see a wall that is the track, The turns are banked at 24 degrees.

Let's just say up front I had a absolute ball.  Buddy Baker was there, a plus.     The first thing they tell you if your just to go fast you won't. You have to learn to pay attention to what is going on the track and what your car is doing, watch your driving line, hit your marks, and be consistent and then speed will come.

You start off by riding around in a van with the other students to learn the driving line and what you are suppose to do when on the track.  Also how to get on and off pit road.  Then you get in a car with a instructor, here they show you how to buckle the seat belts.  It is your responsibility to buckle your own seat belts.  They will check them but you must do it, at Richard Petty they do it for you, it is thier responsibility.  Off you go for 5 laps with the instructor driving.  Then you drive for 5 laps and the instructor rides with you.

Instructions over, your on you own now, and boy is it different then just following the instructors car around the track.  Traffic management is part of the course and you are responsible for managing your own traffic they do not manage traffic for you, passing is allowed and there could be up to 9 cars on the track at one time.  It makes a big difference when you are responsible for where you are at on the track, your speed and your driving line.

I drove the # 8 & 87 cars plus the truck, more about the truck later.  The first time I was on the track by myself if must have been my 3rd or 4th lap I was still going pretty slow about 120 - 130 mph Buddy Baker passed me on the inside like I was sitting still.  I thought oh sh... I did not see him coming.   They tell you no one will be coming over when you come in to tell you that you did good etc. They said if no one is talking to you, your doing everything right if we are talking to you, your doing something wrong.

If you try and ask them how fast you are going they will not tell you.  If you try and tell then how many RPMs your turning they only tell not to watch the tach it will only slows you down, concentrate on your driving line and speed will come.  They make sure your are hitting your marks in each turn and each lap is consistent and the next thing you know is you are hitting the rev limiter.  They have a limiter chip in the car and they are only going to let you go 160 MPH.

They had a Craftsmen Truck, and I got to drive it.  Boy it was awesome to drive, passed everything on the track.  Susie Baker (Buddy's daughter) said no one ever wants to drive the truck when she tries to put them in it.  She asked who wanted to drive the truck it was just sitting there.   She said she tells people if they don't like the truck to bring it back in and she will put them in another car and give them their laps back, no one ever brings the truck back in.

Actually the days are counted in the number of laps you do, 30 laps per day for a total of 90 laps not counting the instruction laps. So we where at the track for a day and a half.   Had a great time I'm ready to change careers.  Can not wait to next year, don't know where yet but will go somewhere.  Also I may get a NASCAR license and do some driving at the local track.  Will have to wait and see.




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