NASCAR ExperienceI just returned from Charlotte, North Carolina, where I attended the Travel Media Showcase. I was in and out and spent most of my time in meetings but I did get to try the NASCAR Experience.

I’ve been to a couple of NASCAR races (California Speedway and the Texas Motor Speedway) and I couldn’t really get into it. And I had the VIP treatment on both. However, after getting in one of these cars (that’s a story in itself, as you can tell from the photo above; thanks Craig for snapping it) I have a new appreciation for the drivers. It takes a person who’s very in shape, both mentally and physically, to drive one of these bad boys…especially in the heat, which gets up to 120ºF in the cars and they’re wearing suits!
The NASCAR Experience takes place all over the country and prices start at $99. I was told by an insider that Groupon usually offers the best deals. Participants wear a helmet and neck brace and jump through the window (the doors don’t open) and wait to get triple-buckled in. Then the driver cracks a joke; one of them said to me, “It’s my day driving as I’m really a United flight attendant.” He then stepped on the gas full throttle. It felt like a roller coaster but worse since you’re not on rails.
You do three laps around the track, which in my opinion is two too many. At 165mph, I couldn’t do much except pray that I get to see my family again. I’m glad I did it but I don’t need to ever do it again. However, most of my colleagues felt the complete opposite. Some had done it multiple times and would do it professionally if they could. Afterwards, we had a private tour of a couple of the drivers’ garages (not part of the NASCAR Experience). 

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