There are certain things I recommend that everyone do in their lifetime. Things like seeing the Grand Canyon, going to Kauai and/or jumping out of an airplane. And now I have one more: driving a Nextel Cup car on a super speedway.
Here’s how it shook out – Parks Bonifay had his Double or Nothing Contest in Orlando last month and the winners were promised a grand prize of a trip to Charlotte to attend the Jeff Gordon Racing School. Red Bull, the title sponsor of the Double or Nothing Contest, thought it would be a nice treat and since they have a brand new Nextel Cup team they’ve had stock car racing on their minds lately anyway. So they set the whole thing up, and contest champs Andrew Adkison (best trick) and Rusty Malinoski (big air) joined Parks for the one-day trip to N.C. for the fun.
Michael Ladinig from Red Bull took us through a quick tour of the Red Bull racing shop, then it was off to the speedway for a little bit of instruction. Actually, it wasn’t until I was there that I realized he had included me in the race line up.
We got 18 laps around the Lowe’s motor speedway, following a pace car driven by a professional instructor. The cars were ACTUAL Nextel Cup cars that had raced before, and had no governors or anything on them – they would go as fast as you wanted, although the instructors made sure you weren’t going to slam into anything by staying in front of you the whole time
P.B. got the best time at 156 m.p.h., while the rest of us brought up the rear behind him. Any way you slice it, we were hauling ass. As a bonus, we met with the Rainbow Warrior himself, and then had dinner at the exclusive trackside club, courtesy of Red Bull. Big thanks to them and the people at the Jeff Gordon Racing School (www.4jeff24.com) for helping us out and showing the winners an amazing time. You should definitely look into this, even if you don’t know the first thing about NASCAR, it’s all-time fun. Plus the clothes are sweet.