When was the last time you got to go 180 miles an hour in a $100,000 Indy car? Or better yet drive an Indy car for 8 laps around an oval track about twice the speed limit on I-35!
Sounds like something that will get the juices flowing, so we signed up with Indy Racing Experience as one our adventures during a fantastic jam packed vacation to Orlando.
Mr. & Mrs Texas Outside didn't want an Indy car crash on our insurance records, so we decided to take the ride and I thought my brother Scott was going to wet his pants when he heard I signed him up to drive an Indy car drive that has competed in the famed Indianapolis 500. During our week in Orlando, every day Scott would ask "is today the day I get to drive the car?" And when we finally got there and he heard that we were going for our ride first, he was a little disappointed.
After a short introduction on the Indy Racing Experience, some information on the cars and track, we all headed to the track to don our racing outfits. I can't image an Indy driver having to wear one of these suits, fire resistent face masks, gloves, shoes and helmets and then having to race for 5 hours or more - I must have lost a couple pounds of sweat just standing there waiting for my turn, and it was only 75 degrees outside and I wasn't driving. These drivers have to be in great shape to survive this sport.
After suiting up, they squeezed me into a small very tight compartment in back of the driver and 5 inches off the ground. The car we were riding in is an Indy car that has been stretched and modied to accommodate two people. Unbelievable I was going for a ride in a million dollar car at 140 miles an hour! Once I squeezed in, they added a shoulder brace which makes it almost impossible to move, and then strapped you in nice and tight! Now I'm not only sweating to death (some, or maybe a lot of it could have been nerves) but I can barely breath.
Then the driver guns the engine and we're off and flying around the track at 140 miles per hour. The old stomach would rise and fall each time we rounded turn two and the first time we rounded turn one and hugged the wall (or should I say raced along about 5 inches from the wall) I could feel a couple extra drops of sweat roll down the forehead and then my stomach dropped as we dove into turn two at about one G toward the inside part of the track. Once the "Whew - I made it" was over after the second turn, I totally relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the remaining laps. I jumped out of the car all grins and exhillarated and wanting to go again! What a fun and exciting experience.
I was happy to notice the Scott was still getting some instructions when we returned from our ride and he now appeared a little more nervous and less confident that he was when he first walked in the door. In fact, when he was first introduced to the instructor he said "I drive my Beamer at 120 so I really want to drive this thing as fast as I can, so don't hold back - let's go for it." I think his knees may have been a tad wobbly when he was getting in for his ride.
I was tempted to get in our rental car and make a made dash out of town, because everybody that knows Scott knows that he is a tad wild and reckless. In fact, no one would every trust him with any of their toys (waverunners, boats, fast cars, ATVs, motorcycles, etc.) - he has been known to put a few dings in some of them and injury to his body a few times. I'm not sure he still has a drivers license (he loves to drive that Beamer fast) and I make every effort to avoid getting in or near any toy he is driving. Of course, the Indy Driving Experience crew didn't know any of this history and they were going to let him drive a $500,000 race car!
The good news is that when you drive the Indy car, a professional driver sets the pace in another Indy car and you are supposed to follow at least six car lengths behind him. Now I'm envisioning Scott taking out two Indy cars or trying to pass the professional driver! Prior to the instructions, Scott told the pace car driver that he wanted to go very fast and the driver told him that he would actually set the pace and the driver will try and stay 6 car lengths in front of him. I heard Scott utter "Sweet" under his breath and a big grin spread across his face. Now, I'm really nervous.
And off they go with the pro setting the pace. Into the first turn Scott is two car lengths behind and appears to be gaining. But the pro heads up and hugs the wall (less than a foot away) and zooms down and around into turn two - Scott is off the wall by 10 to 12 feet and into turn two five car lengths behind doing a 100. Back up and inches from the wall the pro then swings low again into turn three and four - Scott is now 8 car lengths behind and falling farther behind. But his car is still in one piece with no dings and dents. For the rest of the 8 laps this continued and it appeared that the driver was holding back on the throttle to keep Scott six car lengths back. And I breathed a sigh of relief as he finally pulled into the pit and climbed out of the car with a big "That was fantastic! What a thrill. That guy is fast and I couldn't keep up."
The Indy Racing Experience is at the Walt Disney World Speedway within Disney World. This is an the ultimate experience for race fans and car enthusiasts like Scott. I would highly recommend this adventure to anyone over 18 (Indy's age requirement) looking for a fun, thrilling, and memorable adventure - add it to your bucket list. Visit the Indy Racing Experience or call to reserve a time -888 357-5002. www.indyracingexperience.com
To learn more about our jam packed vacation to Orlando where we played nine different golf courses, swam with the manatees, flew a WWII vintage fighter trainer, went sky diving and parasailing, and took an airboat ride, click on this link to our Orlando Vacation.