Net10 Wireless x Richard Petty Racing Experience
When I was a kid, one of my favorite Christmas gifts was the Tyco slot car racetrack featuring Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough. That was my first exposure to NASCAR racing, and to say I was hooked is an understatement. When Net10 Wireless extended an invitation to drive an actual stock car at the Richard Petty Driving Experience in Charlotte, I signed every form possible and packed my bags! Net10 Wireless has the nation’s fastest wireless network, so they have an appreciation for the need for speed. They also sponsor Germán Quiroga’s truck in the Camping World Truck Series. Germán hails from Mexico, and is poised to be a breakout star for Red Horse Racing.
We arrived at Charlotte Speedway and I was immediately struck by the size. More than 100,000 people fill the racetrack on race day. We were fortunate to have the place all to ourselves, so no one could see how bad we drove! We were given our fire suits to put on, which was pure comedy for me. My suit was too tight and made for a humorous situation. Once I was fitted into the right suit, we then met with the man of the hour. Germán gave us a brief rundown of his background and what his driving means for the Hispanic community. We also watched a video featuring Kyle Petty that discussed the genesis of the RPDE and how to get around the track. Now, enough talk, time to roll!
Once we got out to the track, the nerves started to kick up. Here was an opportunity to drive a $200k car very, very fast. We first got to ride along with experienced drivers to get a feel of the track and to show us exactly how to race the track. There’s a science to driving a stock car. It’s not all “pedal to the metal” – it’s a series of accelerating and decelerating based on where you are on the track, as well as shifting the car towards the wall and towards the bottom of the track. The drivers launched us around that track, and I thought I would crap my pants!
When it was our turn, John, our instructor, rode along to give us guidance as we drove around the track. John kept telling me to go faster and get up on the wall. Uh, how about we get close to the wall, but not right on it? My first lap was super slow. I went 86 MPH. Once I got the hang of it, I started hitting my marks and kept pushing it harder. I made it all the way up to 135 MPH which was the fastest of our group and did the fastest lap at 00:43.64. What an experience!
Here are my times:
I’m completely convinced car racing is a sport. It took all my strength to keep the car from flying all over the track. Germán is in great shape, and works out daily in order to handle his truck at such high speeds. Drivers lose upwards of 10lbs during a race. I was exhausted after doing 10 laps, imagine doing 200? Here are a few images of my experience. Next up, we get to be part of the pit crew!