A Texas Driving Experience

This year will be memorable for many reasons, not least of which being the fact that it was the year of my first official Father’s Day. I know this might sound a little sappy, but all I really wanted for Father’s Day was to spend time with the my two favorite ladies: Paige, and Kayla. As it turns out though, Paige had something very devious (and amazing) planned for me instead: An afternoon racing my all-time favorite american muscle car (the Corvette) around the Texas Motor Speedway

To give a little background: racing and owning a Corvette has been a childhood dream of mine ever since a high school friend of mine drove me around in his beautifully maintained silver ’82 C3. Predictably, that beauty of a machine was totalled when he drove me home one day, and failed to stop correctly at a 4-way stop. I was crushed, because I honestly loved that car. Ever since that day, my love for Corvettes has mostly been the stuff of fairy tales — the magical unicorn that will never be within reach. On Saturday though, Paige made that dream a reality.

Before actually taking part in the ride, they gave us a 30 minute crash course on safe riding, which included where to keep your hands on the wheel, where to look when driving, and how to let other drivers safely pass on the track. A lot of this info I remember verbatim from driver’s ed as a teenager, and it honestly all goes out the window the second you’re in the driver’s seat. After the instruction, all the drivers collected in van that lapped the track twice, showing us the various apexes and correct racing lines. A secondary truck also passed us and we passed them to show the correct passing procedure. Once out of the van, it was time to suit up, and drive these bad boys.

The Corvettes they gave us were bright-yellow, sticker adorned stock Z06 models with 450HP, and outfitted with carbon fiber Brembo pads that facilitated faster braking. They thankfully also kept the tried-and-true stick shift, though it was only used at the beginning and end of the ride, since they implored us to stay in 4th gear throughout the ride. Once inside, the staff tie you down with a 5-point harness extra tight and adjust the seat so you’re not over stretched or hugging the dash. In the passenger seat is a racing instructor who gives you signals and advice on how to get the most out of the ride (the most common advice being: “GAS, GAS, give it more!”). The track itself was 1 mile long, with two ~150 degree turns, and some smaller tight S curves.. not exactly the Nurburgring, but I’m not exactly The Stig either.

The drive itself was everything I hoped it could be, and much more. The first few laps were really intense, and tested my resolve to it’s limit. Turning tight into curves going 60-70 MPH is really breath taking, and you’re just not ready for it until you can get a feel for the car’s dynamics. After the first few laps, I felt more comfortable, and I let the gas pedal have it. The sheer acceleration on this car was adrenaline inducing, and the engine let out the gutural sound of a magnificent beast. Hugging the outer line of two quick curves while maintaining speed was also a transformative experience; equally frightening and amazing. I don’t think I ever topped my max speed of around 90+ MPH, but it was hard to pay attention to the speedometer when every moment required my total attention. On my 10th lap, the checkered flag waved, and it was time to let the brakes take a break (hah!), and do a final “idle” lap without using them. After my drive, it was time to do switch, and let the instructor show me how it’s done. My instructor and the car in front of has both raced in the Indy 500, and their dance was simply amazing to behold. There was never more than a few feet between the two cars, and they danced back and forth, passing each other in 2 spots on the track with precision. Needless to say, after the instructor ride along, I was slightly shaky and left with a new appreciation for professional drivers.

During the whole experience, Paige and Kayla had to put up with 100+ degree weather in the Texas Sun, and I’m very grateful that they did, as Paige posted several photos, and soon a video of a few of my laps. Thanks again babe, for making this the best Father’s Day yet! :)

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Comments

  1. You might want to pick a different euphemism besides “I was crushed” when describing a car accident!

    Also the font color on this form. I can’t see what I’m typing!

  2. Pingback: Turn of the Paige » Blog Archive » Father’s Day Bonanza!

  3. @Ashur thanks for the link back!
    @Daniel I’ll keep that in mind ;) Also — updated the comment box so you can actually read it :)

  4. Marshall, You are welcome, it was a great story. Stop by the news site if you get a chance. Have a good one.
    -Ashur

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