Days of Thunder

It was a hot day in Irwindale, and it was about to get hotter. We pulled into the Toyota Speedway just in time to check in for our LA Racing Experience and get to the driver debriefing, where we learned all about the cars we would be driving and the techniques that would maximize performance and keep us safe. Today we were going to be short track racing in Stock Cars at speed. 

After the briefing, our group was to be first on the track, so we hustled over to the equipment tent for our driving suits and helmets. After we were all suited up and our ear pieces taped into place, we headed to our assigned vehicles. Mine was the #78 Toyota. After being helped in, strapped down and communications tested, we fired up our racing machines and headed out on the track. The first few laps were under caution as we got used to the cars and the spotter in our ears. Then came the green flag and it was time to go racing.

The engines roared louder as we picked up speed and tried to recall all of the pointers and safety instructions we learned about in the briefing. The beauty of L.A. Racing at Irwindale, is that they let you pass (albeit a controlled pass) so you don’t get stuck behind a slower driver for your 20 laps. As I became more and more comfortable with the car and the track, it was time to focus on keeping the pedal to the floor for as long as dared before coming into the turn.

My lap times got faster and faster each time around, and before I knew it, they were waving the checkered flag. After pulling the #78 back into the pits, I had a new found respect for the guys that do this for 500 laps, inches from the wall, three and four cars wide and at speeds far greater than mine. Overall the trip out to the Toyota Speedway was worth the drive out to Irwindale. My main complaint is that they don’t provide you with very much in terms of information about your race (speed, lap times, etc.). Maybe it is available, but if so they should tell you more about it when you check in. My only other complaint is that it was over way too quickly…next time I’m signing up for 40 laps.

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