Race pics and experiences

FLRacingFan

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Joe Pisciotta

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Here are pics from the Xfinity Homestead Miami race. We have been doing Homestead since 2003 (Missed 2020 though) and pick which race to go to. We mix it up, one year Trucks, one year Xfinity, one year Cup. We know the track so well we get the same seats in Turn 1 right in front of the big screen. We can watch the TV feed since you can get confused due to how loud the cars are.

Start of the race, coming off pitroad.

Untitled by jpjr50, on Flickr

First pit stops.

Untitled by jpjr50, on Flickr

Then everything changed. The 9 ran into the back of Starr. Gragson stopped right in front of us.

Untitled by jpjr50, on Flickr

He was so pissed, cursed at Starr on TV.

Untitled by jpjr50, on Flickr

First G-W-C and AJ looks to spin out but saves it. The flag man threw the caution out way too early. Reddick would have won if the caution didn't come out.

Untitled by jpjr50, on Flickr

Second G-W-C and Myatt Snider wins his first career race. The last few laps were awesome. This race was way better than the Cup race the next day.

Untitled by jpjr50, on Flickr
 

rowdy3

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My sister works in San Antonio so it was a no brainer to attend cota. On Saturday sat in turn 12. Could see about 70% of the track. The rain with the wind hitting you in the face made an unpleasant experience. Glad the rain stopped for the xfinity race. For cup sat in the paddock club. The food was amazing. Had brisket, corn and beans. Later on had hamburger sliders. I was able to see The whole frontstretch and turn 1.
 

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Ford 222

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By far coolest thing ever. My buddy Travis and I right as I got out of the car and he was stepping in. Seattime Racing School at Charlotte. AT A MINIMUM do the 5 lap ridealong for $100. I promise after that and after driving you will have a completely different attitude about ANYONE you dare to say sucks at the NASCAR level. We went with the wives over the weekend in June with our driving day set for the Sunday. While they shopped Travis and I went to the track to make sure we knew how long it would take and where to go to be on time the next morning. We got to the track and could hear cars going so we drove around to where we could get a glimpse. We could see various stock cars (one was a NAPA 9 car and a Hertz 24 and even some Indy looking cars) going around at various speeds so could tell it wasn't a test session. We made our way to the back of the track where a guard was working the infield entrance. We decided to chat him up and see what was going on, make sure we would be able to get in the next day and had what he would require. Off hand we asked if we could go in and he said "sure...sign here". Cool. We went inside and it was basically access to everything. We found out the NASCAR Experience school was that day in addition to the Mario Andretti experience. We watched those schools cycle people around and went to the trailer where they were selling shirts and such and saw a sign for Ridealongs for $99. It was only 3 laps but so what? We wanted to see what a pro could do and I have to say....COOLEST THING EVER! I can't begin to explain the sensation. Speed, centrifugal force, sound.....just WOW. I knew then there was NO WAY I was going to come close to what these guys do.....best $99 I ever spent and was only 3 laps. Seattime Racing's ridealong is 5.

I'll explain Day 2 in a separate post.

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Whizzer

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I did the Richard Petty thing about twenty years ago at Walt Disney World with my son-in-law. Cool experience and a good idea of what drivers hear and feel on race day. Not anything I'd want to do for a living.
BTW, nice photos. But, who are they?
 

Ford 222

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I did the Richard Petty thing about twenty years ago at Walt Disney World with my son-in-law. Cool experience and a good idea of what drivers hear and feel on race day. Not anything I'd want to do for a living.
BTW, nice photos. But, who are they?
My Dad did the RP experience in Charlotte through a friend of his that owned NAPA stores. Since they sponsored Mike W, they got to tour DEI while there and MAY have gone to a race if I remember correctly. He wanted so bad at the time to let me go but since it was a gift he didn't feel right. I wish I could have gone and just watched him too....

The first pic is my buddy Travis in the yellow firesuit and I'm in blue. I had just finished my run and Travis was jumping in. They allowed my wife to come onto the pit lane and take the picture. They were very liberal about it after a while, people were on pit row as much as they were behind the wall. This was almost the end of the day, it was brutally hot and humid and I think they just wanted to get it over with. Long ass day for the school workers and they didn't stop.
Other pics are my wife and me in the infield in the morning, me after the first 12 laps while they checked tires, Travis and our wives and then me and our wives in the morning before they did their 5 lap ridealongs.

We are going back in March....:)
 

sdj

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In 1998 I did the Petty thing with a gift from my business associate at Disney, 18 laps, pretty boring actually. They kept you slow, maybe 110 tops.
In 2001 I did the 30 lap Petty school in Charlotte, photo below. I came away with a whole lot more respect for the series drivers. My last 2 laps of my cession averaged 161+, very exhilarating. Had a blast. My next bucket list track is Atlanta with Rusty Wallace Racing.

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Ford 222

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By far coolest thing ever. My buddy Travis and I right as I got out of the car and he was stepping in. Seattime Racing School at Charlotte. AT A MINIMUM do the 5 lap ridealong for $100. I promise after that and after driving you will have a completely different attitude about ANYONE you dare to say sucks at the NASCAR level. We went with the wives over the weekend in June with our driving day set for the Sunday. While they shopped Travis and I went to the track to make sure we knew how long it would take and where to go to be on time the next morning. We got to the track and could hear cars going so we drove around to where we could get a glimpse. We could see various stock cars (one was a NAPA 9 car and a Hertz 24 and even some Indy looking cars) going around at various speeds so could tell it wasn't a test session. We made our way to the back of the track where a guard was working the infield entrance. We decided to chat him up and see what was going on, make sure we would be able to get in the next day and had what he would require. Off hand we asked if we could go in and he said "sure...sign here". Cool. We went inside and it was basically access to everything. We found out the NASCAR Experience school was that day in addition to the Mario Andretti experience. We watched those schools cycle people around and went to the trailer where they were selling shirts and such and saw a sign for Ridealongs for $99. It was only 3 laps but so what? We wanted to see what a pro could do and I have to say....COOLEST THING EVER! I can't begin to explain the sensation. Speed, centrifugal force, sound.....just WOW. I knew then there was NO WAY I was going to come close to what these guys do.....best $99 I ever spent and was only 3 laps. Seattime Racing's ridealong is 5.

I'll explain Day 2 in a separate post.

View attachment 57607

So for day 2, I'll just say driving was NOT what I anticipated. And A LOT of waiting.......I knew from the ride along with a pro that there was absolutely NO WAY I'd come close to what those drivers do. Not saying after years of practice it's not possible to approach race speeds, but anyone that's never been in a race car is not going to get noticed by HMS or JGR. These cars in these schools are pretty old. I believe they said your getting 425 horsepower? More than you need to stick it in the fence.
We arrived early and walked around the garage. Different cars there this day than yesterday's school. Travis' wife wasn't sure she would be able to get into a car for her ride along due to tight spaces so the ladies and gents working on the cars allowed her to climb in the truck they use for larger drivers/riders. She felt ok in it so she was a go for her ride along. We registered in the media center then waited for the class to start. It was warm and getting warmer but the media center remained open all day for AC and bathroom breaks.
Class was about driving a stick, the instructor making 2 or 3 laps with you to show you the line, the preferred line dots in the front stretch (which I missed them mentioning-more on that), and the signals from the flag man. The instructor when asked about the HP ratings told us the 425 range but then said HIS car was slightly modified with a big wink. Following class we were divided into 2 groups and of course Travis and I were the second. The girls would do their ride along before us we were assured so we could be there when they came off track.
I was watching the head instructor when we came out to see what car he jumped into and it was the Home Depot Pontiac. After he had taken a few people for rides and had taken a break I asked him if that was the car he was talking about and he just smiled. Luckily, when they called Lisa to prep for her ride along, she got him and he assured me he'd give her a good 5 laps. Her smile upon getting out proved it.
Then we waited....and waited.....and waited....only thing I can say truly sucked.
The whole time you have people of varying degrees of experience and courage in cars by themselves let loose AND with ride alongs going at the same time. Felt kinda chaotic to me and recipe for disaster but all went well.
When they finally said Travis and I were on deck, they again worked with us so he and I were not on track at the same time. That may be so you don't have two idiots out there who know each other racing because they really just let you loose after the instructor rides with you. I got belted in and after they refueled the car and the instructor got my go pro mounted and started we were off. Now, the instructor can't talk to you. No radios and heck, the instructors were not even wearing their helmets due to the heat. They give you hand signals (while you are trying to see out the windshield) and either push or pull on your leg to make you go faster or slower. I thought I was doing fine and following the line they described in class. A ride along car passed us and he became more and more animated over there but I couldn't hear what he was saying or what his hand signals meant. He finally give me the sign to go to the pits and your just supposed to knock in out of gear and coast in. So when the RPMs drop and I can hear what he says the first thing I hear him say is "have you done this before?"......Now I'm getting ready for him to give me the so impressed, never saw so much raw talent, you missed your calling speech. But I wasn't ready for "Jesus C.............they don't pay me enough to ride along with f-ing idiots like you that don't listen! That 8 car is a ridealong dumbass....YOU'RE NOT going to keep up with him so don't even f-ing try! You see those tires over there (pointing to a rack of tires, most with flat spots on them or obviously damaged), that's going to be you if you won't listen and follow direction! I'm not going to die with idiots like you, I'm going to let you go and let the flagman deal with you! F this!". So after I profusely apologized as I still had NO idea what I did wrong, he explained the 4 sets of dots you are to aim for as you come off turn 4, across the dog leg, and into turn 3. The rest of the lap you straddle the first seam in the turns and as close to the wall as you dare along the back stretch. I was just making my line as straight as I possibly could (which the lines kinda do but probably allow the ridealong pro drivers to know where the students are going to be driving). Felt about this "." small. So he says he will go out with me for a couple laps and give me another chance and all goes well after that.
After blessed by the instructor, they just turn you loose and it's awesome. When you come up on a slower driver they request you pass them on the back stretch and if someone comes upon you, you acknowledge them with a wave and hold your line. Learning curve is steep and when you are done, there is still a huge climb but it's super fun trying to get better and gaining courage. When I finished the instructor that rode with me came to me and apologized and said he watched me run my second 12 (probably expecting to see a big wreck). Made me feel a lot better We're planning to do it again in March.
ONLY thing I'd change is that they maybe give you an idea when you will go. We had plenty of time to go eat or even go to the hotel between the girls ride alongs and our drives.
 
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