Saturday, November 22, 2008

144.5 MPH this morning

For my 40th Birthday my brother Pat got me a gift certificate for 3 laps as a rider around Atlanta Motor Speedway from the Dale Jarrett Racing Experience. The first opening was this morning, so we loaded up the family, including Grandma Marie, and headed down.

It was 27 degrees when we left this morning. It was maybe 40 when we got there, but it didn't matter!

The first thing I did was to get in the fire suit and picked out a helmet. Then climbed into the #99 Office Depot car. It took a few minutes to get my picture taken, so Deb was snapping away. As for the teddy bear, I'll explain that later.

When we started the first thing I noticed was how banked the turns were when you are up that close. Starting on the lower stripe it was very noticeable. The first lap was to get up to speed but you could definitely feel the speed and g-forces. As we approached turn 3 you could see where someone lost control of another car and hit the wall. Skid marks right into the wall. It didn't bother me, but is something that stuck in my head.

The second lap, the first at full throttle was a different experience. Going hard into turn 1, the driver lifted off the gas, but you could still feel the g forces. He got back on the throttle going into turn 2 and you could feel the pressure on your left side.

Straightaway next, lots of speed, then he didn't brake going into turn 3, and I was pressed back again. Turn four went quickly then another straight away.

Lap 3 into turn one I could feel the pressure on my left ear and was pushed back even farther into the seat. When he hit the straightaway again I looked over at the tachometer and saw he was pushing around 5500 RPM. Lower than I expected but still pretty damn fast.

Turn three for the third lap was even faster, this time my head was being pushed back. Oh, I was wearing an Hans device. Amazing piece of technology if you don't know what one is.

Lap 4 was our fastest, taking 0:38.5 seconds. Based on the calculator on the website, that equated to 144.5 MPH.

Lap 5 was a slow down lap. Total time in the car was probably less than 5 minutes, including getting out.

Apparently when the car was pulling in the brakes were squealing and my Mom wasn't too happy about that.

Christopher was interested but not as much as when he sees a train. But he was good. The girls were great and enjoyed seeing the racetrack and cars.

As for the teddy bear, Christopher took home his class' 'pet bear' for the week. He needs to write (well okay we do) about what he did with the bear. About 6 other kids have done it so far and the most exciting seems to be a trip to Walmart. I think Christopher is going to have the best story of the year. No, the bear didn't go on the ride with me, but I explained to the guy getting me in the car about the bear and he brought it over for Deb to take a picture of.

This was definitely one of the cooler birthday presents ever. Thanks Pat!

Lots more pictures on the Flickr site.


ryssee said...

Wow, that's so cool! It must've been a blast. I'm gonna send my brother the link-he'll be green with envy.
Your mom looks great! Hope you're all enjoying her visit.

overtly trite said...

that is a good gift! and it's agood story for school whenever Connor had the class "pet" the most exciting thing would be lunch with his grandmother or gorcery shopping

ryssee said...

My brother's comments:
Your friends Nascar deal rules. The coolest thing about those cars is they're set up to turn left when they're on the gas. You actually have to counter steer to the right if going straight under power, then they rail through the corners. I did that when we went to Vegas in 2002 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Riding shotgun in those cars is wild when the driver is close to the wall...I mean it's RIGHT THERE. Mine was pre Hans device, open face helmet and a 5 point harness. They have day long programs where you can actually drive the car for between 8-16 laps.