This is a picture of my father, mild mannered historical nerd, pipe smoking type, driving a real NASCAR car. Stock car. Race car. Whatever you call it. You know I don't know. For his landmark birthday, my mother bought him this racing experience. I got to come along as staff photographer.
It was really cool as we all got to hang out at the infield of the track and let our minds wrap around what it might feel like if all of those thousands of seats had fans in them. Everyone doing the experience was very keen on nascar racing and my mother may have admitted too loudly that we had not actually ever seen a nascar race ever. I, at least, have never watched more than a minutes worth of it. I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. I knew then, but even more so now, that there is more to stock car racing than turning left. There's turning left and driving really fast in between. And sitting in a really uncomfortable position for several hours. I wonder now if professional drivers have weirdly shaped arm muscles from constantly fighting with the cars to go straight. (They're engineered to turn left, so keeping them straight is more of a challenge). I digress. Shocking.
But, for being surprised, Dad took it really well- donning his fireproof overalls and giant helmet and climbing through the window of the car. The experience is really awesome. And he loved it. He even had the doors of his regular car welded shut and always goes through the window. Doors that open are so common!
He didn't go as fast as a race car driver could, but he did have a thrill. We all still don't 'get' nascar racing, but respect it that much more after this experience.
I wonder if there's a formula 1 experience somewhere out there. Now that's racing.