Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

May 5th, 2008
24 Hour Adrenalin Rush:: Daytona, Florida. part 3

Afternoon- Next on the Bucket List:
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We’re off to the action-packed Daytona International Speedway. Racing fans from all over the world make the pilgrimage to experience the sounds, smells and sights of a big race at Daytona. Even if it’s not a race day you can spend hours at the Daytona 500 Experience, (Disneyland meets NASCAR.) It’s an amazing complex stocked with all sorts of racing memorabilia. Get an insider’s look at the driver’s meeting room, the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage, see the actual stocker Jeff Gordon drove to win last year’s 500–driven here straight from the track that day, confetti and all, watch the Imax NASCAR 3D, or try a simulated race in Acceleration Alley. All of this was interesting even for a complete NASCAR Novice like me, but what really “revved my motor” was the Richard Petty Driving Experience. I like the real thing!

Once again, I donned a jumpsuit, helmet, and some neck brace contraption and impatiently stood in line for my turn to ride. Finally, I was next up to ride shotgun in a 2 —seat stock car driven by a professional instructor for a thrilling 3-lap NASCAR qualifying run at over 160 MPH!

The hardest part was climbing in the car through the teensy window with any resemblance of grace. I finally figured out some side-saddle way to get in and turned to my driver and told him to “just do whatever he had to do to pass Bruce, my macho friend in the car before us.” Bruce had just broken the record in the video simulated race (he even beat the computers) and had been bragging about it for the last 30 minutes. Geeze- I had the fastest girl’s time in my group but you didn’t hear me going on and on about it! So after giving my directive to let him eat my dust, I fastened my seat belt and we took off. What a blast! No way can TV do justice to the banking at Daytona, at 31 degrees it’s tougher than climbing the Matterhorn.

All too soon my exhilerating ride was over. (My driver didn’t even try to pass Bruce–guess it was against the rules.) And now I’m hooked..nothing like a little spin around the track to make you feel alive. I am sooo ready to plunk down my $399 for the 3 hour program where you actually get to DRIVE eight laps around the track.

But in the meantime I still had to Bruce to contend with. When I heard that Speed Park Motorsports was right across the way and had dragsters you could race that went from 0-75 mph in 3 seconds, the dare was issued and off we went. We made a whopping $1.00 bet for who had the fastest times in 3 runs. Crystal clear, right??? I climbed into my pretty-in—pink colored dragster packing 350 horsepower unders it’s hood, and two out of three times I kicked Bruce’s butt. But then he cried foul…”His car was faulty, the lights that gave the countdown jammed, the sun was in his eyes,”….whatever. We all know the real truth: Bruce was beaten by a Guurl!!!

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