Y'all. That was such an awesome experience. I have to start with the biggest of kudos to my husband, first because he won the prize, and second because he chose to go even knowing he couldn't participate, just so that *I* could participate. The whole overall experience was just incredible. All the workers from Marlboro were great. They were totally into all of us having the time of our lives. And it was just that. I've got some great pictures and some videos, I'll get them uploaded as soon as possible. The drivers were phenomenal, they must have loved how excited all of us were, and having just as much fun doing what THEY love to do for us fans who were lucky enough to experience their JOB!
I wanna do it again. I hope I can do it again, this time with W experiencing the same thrill. He was such a trooper. All the standing, sitting on uncomfortable chairs, and then the drive home was hard for him. He had a rough afternoon, and was still hurting bad yesterday. It sucks.
Once we got checked in, we got our little bag of goodies, with a hat and some other stuff in it. We then got driver suits. That was fun. W got to wear one, too, even though he wasn't riding, because they took a fancy picture of us in them in front of one of the race cars. After that, we went to helmet fitting, where I got a nifty fire sleeve to wear on my head, and gloves, which we got to keep, W got his own set, too. No surprise, I'm a small helmet. After that we went outside, got to take pictures of a couple different cars, get a snack and a drink, and then they started up with our intro to stuff. First up was the track ride. The cars they were using were Dodge Avengers, which were actually used in the IROC circuit until 1999. These cars were actually driven by some of the greats of NASCAR, like Earnhardt, which was totally cool to know.
We were assigned numbers at check in, and that is how they called you to line up. Once they called your number you had to suit up in the earplugs, fire sleeve and gloves, and then go get your helmet. Then up to the line of cars while they unloaded the last person and put on the neck safety device. W got some silly pics of me climbing into the car. Then they buckled us in and off we went. It was absolutely breathtaking to be in that car, feel the power, the rumbling of the engine, the sounds of all that horsepower. Not to mention the track zipping by so fast and being so close to the wall you could reach out and touch it. I was hooting and hollering the whole time wanting to go faster and faster. Three laps went by very very fast. Too fast, I just wanted to keep going.
Once I got out, which was harder than getting in, I got to take the firesuit off cause the drift track we could do in street clothes. We sat around a bit, waiting for the rest of the group to finish up, then it was off to the drift track.
The Mustangs were so sweet. They told us the only difference on the cars from a regular Mustang is that they put the Viper version tires on for better traction. Bright red, just like the IROC cars, with the Marlboro logo on it. I shot a great video of what drifting is, and hopefully I can post it here, or more likely on Youtube. Same drill, we waited for our number to be called, got a helmet again, then waited for a car to be free. They were running three cars on the track at once, spaced out enough that we moved quickly through the line. The drifting was a lot more rough then the racecar...violent isn't quite the word, but I was really thrown around in the car, and once you see the video you'll understand. Again, three laps were over quite quickly and I wanted to go again. We got to watch the rest of the folks go and a couple of times the drivers lost control a bit and spun out in the middle of the track. I got a picture in front of the car I was in with my driver. After everyone finished up it was off to lunch.
I was expecting like wings, or chicken tenders and fries when they said we'd have a catered lunch. Very surprised to find jasmati rice, curry chicken and beef flank steak on the buffet line. There was also a fancy mixed greens salad and (fitting in well with the redneckish aspect of the day) a hot dog station. The food was awesome and there were cookies for dessert. We got some more freebies, they had printed out two prints of the pic they took of us in front of the car earlier, and then for filling out the survey we got a fancy travel coffee mug. I need to find a way to scan that pic in, it's pretty good. My favorite one of me is when I was sitting in the Indy or IRL car.
I'll try to upload the pics before I leave work this afternoon and then post some tomorrow. Both my bosses were in with folks, that is how I was able to get this done today. Mondays are crazy and today was no exception.
If I think of anything else to add, I will do so in the picture post.