A few months ago, as a reward for Christopher's straight A report card, I got him a 3-lap ride along through the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. I got a great deal through one of the groupon-like emails. We actually didn't think he'd want to do it-He isn't a big fan of situations that he doesn't know. But it was this past weekend and we couldn't have asked for it to have gone better!
We we able to drive through the tunnel to the Phoenix Raceway Infield. That was COOL.
We parked on the infield and Christopher immediately saw a #48 car driving around the track. I knew that they used former race cars...I'll be honest, I didn't even think that there would be a #48 there. I immediatley went into mom mode and kept saying, "I know that is really cool, but I have no idea how this works so please, PLEASE, don't be disappointed if you don't get to ride in that car, ok? OK?" LOL
It's a good thing I got a good deal on the ride because of course we had to pay for the DVD of the ride (a split screen of Christopher's face and what he saw of the ride). That should be to us in a few weeks. Our ride wasn't scheduled until 10:30 so we got Christopher into his firesuit and helmet and walked around.
PIR still had Victory Lane staged from the race a few weeks ago, and we convinced the boys to get on stage and give us their best '#1' pose. :)
Victory Lane looks MUCH bigger on tv. As it was, it seemed too small for a car to fit in there! I'll never look at another Victory Lane the same way again!
We went to the designated area to wait. One area was for riders, the other for drivers. If Christopher had been 18, he would have been able to take a short class at the track, and then driven for 8 laps. Giang talked to the girl working on the other side of pit lane, and asked if it was possible for Christopher to ride in the #48. She said that she would see what she could do, and went to talk to another employee, and said that it would be another 10 or 15 minutes.
Another gentleman came to talk to us and give Christopher a briefing on what was about to happen. And then gave him the great news that he was going to be able to ride in the #48-and it was the fastest of the bunch that day. The speeds were in excess of 150 miles per hour. an 8 year old boy couldn't have asked for more. :) I have to admit, I almost cried this day was so perfect.
At first Ethan was pretty mad he couldn't ride in a car, but I found him a shady spot, a chair to sit in, and gave him my phone and all was well. :)
Christopher looks like quite the drive here. :)
So a month ago Christopher actually got to see his favorite driver and get his autograph, and now he's ridden in his car. Not much more an 8 year old could want, is there? :)
Christopher now has a new appreciation of racers, and watches NASCAR races in a new way. The next day, he walked into the room as I was watching the race and they had just given the signal for "Gentlemen, start your engines!" and all the engines fired. Christopher said to himself, "That was so cool." And I smiled to myself, happy that we decided to get the ride instead of another Lego set. :)