This is what it’s like to ride in a NASCAR stock car

What, you don’t cruise the highway at 140 mph?

Attending a NASCAR race has long been on my bucket list, so when I was asked if I wanted an opportunity to ride in a real stock car on an actual track, I accepted immediately.

Upon arriving at ISM Raceway, located in a western suburb of Phoenix, I was directed to the infield. As I drove through a tunnel underneath the track, I heard the roar of a NASCAR stock car from overhead and was quickly reminded that, in short order, I’d be strapped into the seat of one of them.

I was invited to the track to partake in the NASCAR Racing Experience, which lets attendees ride along as I did or, for the more adventurous, actually drive the vehicles. The experience travels around the country to all sorts of tracks, including ISM Raceway, which underwent a recent $178 million renovation completed ahead of the TicketGuardian 500 race scheduled for March.

After a quick registration process, I was set to go. Before I knew it, I was sized for a helmet, handed a neck brace and walked to my awaiting chariot, which sat with the engine burbling.

I was given a few pointers (apparently, dropping a cellphone is a big no-no; they’re very difficult to find in the complex interior) and was told to have fun. With that, my driver, Rick Anderson, pulled out of the pits and put his foot on the gas.

Going into the first turn, I was worried. It’s difficult not to be, as all I could picture were the horrible crashes I’ve seen on TV over the years. But the second I felt the tires stick — on the gas or not — it became an incredible thrill ride.

On the straightaways, we breezed past the 100-mph mark as the engine revved nicely. The window netting flapped in the strong wind and it felt like I was riding in a huge go-cart.

I smiled like an idiot the entire time.

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6 Comments

  • Mike Lliteras
    February 21, 2019, 3:31 PM

    The weird thing is when you’re driving, you really don’t notice how fast you’re going. They don’t really want you 6 inches from the wall and the other cars are going the same speed. You feel it much more in the passenger seat

    REPLY
  • Cliff Ballard
    February 21, 2019, 4:19 PM

    I drove one at the Las Vegas speedway, Richard Petty experience. It was much more fun than just riding along.

    REPLY
    • Alvin Kaufmann@Cliff Ballard
      February 22, 2019, 8:57 AM

      Drove one at Pocono race track slot of fun if you get a chance try it

      REPLY
  • Alvin Kaufmann
    February 22, 2019, 9:41 AM

    Drove one at the Pocono race track it’s a lot of fun if you get a chance you should try

    REPLY
    • Don Dear@Alvin Kaufmann
      February 23, 2019, 2:12 PM

      Have driven these cars at Daytona , Charlotte, and at the Disney track. Even though the Disney track was a 1 Mike d shape track we still hit speeds of a 140 mph. Tons of fun. 5he racing staff we super guys. Made it more fun as well. Do it. You will enjoy it tons. Worth the money .

      REPLY
  • Paul Hopper
    February 28, 2019, 1:02 AM

    A few years ago I rode with my doctor around the Watkins Glen Speedway in his "Doctor Death" Camaro. I took my camera, but was too busy hanging on. Tons of fun and would love to do it again.

    REPLY

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