Tag Archives: Richard Petty

More than Once Around the Track

Below is an abbreviated post the Top 5 wrote for the Girlfriend Getaway Florida promotion. To see the full article, click here.

When we were asked to go on a “mission” to visit the Daytona 500 Experience, I was excited because NASCAR is right up there in my hubby’s interests. And, apparently car racing goes pretty far back in my family, too, as witnessed by this picture from my grandmother’s photo album:

Taken at Daytona Beach in 1929.

I was fortunate to marry into an interesting family; you see my father-in-law used to own a NASCAR race team which competed in the Cup races. (Yeah, I spent far more time watching races than a city girl ought to!)  His family doesn’t go racing anymore, but NASCAR is still a constant presence in our household, no matter how much I may protest! In fact, here’s a post from this past Valentine’s Day, where my hubby paid more attention to the race than to me!

And even though I was far from being a diehard race girl, I did have fun writing about my experiences for a few magazines, including this article I did when I interviewed Richard Petty’s family.

Me and The King!

Hubby and me at the family pit box.

And although we’d been to the Daytona International Speedway, we had never stopped in for the Daytona 500 Experience. If you even kind of like racing, you will immensely enjoy this experience!  And, kudos to Chevy, because there were Chevrolets EVERYWHERE at this attraction. (I guess this is because Chevy has won the Daytona 500 21 times! (Ford is the runner up with a measely 11 times… he he…)

Not only can you see legendary racecars, photos, and trophies, you can also watch a fantastic I-Max movie. At the exit, you can see the actual car of the current Daytona 500 winner, Chevy driver Jamie McMurray. (It was rolled right from the track to its current parking spot in the attraction…very cool!) And, be sure to take a test drive in the track simulator, where you go 8 laps to see who’s the best of the best! (Yes, I admit, I wrecked my son… I had to get ahead somehow!) Here’s how I did:

Here’s a taste of what you can see and do at the Daytona 500 Experience… (And you get to see me changing a tire during a pit stop! For real!)

And then we were off on a VIP Hot Pass Track Tour, which runs only runs once a day Thursdays through Sundays, lasts around two and half hours, and takes you into every race fan’s dreams: the infield, the 500 Club, the press boxes, luxury sky boxes, and best of all, the Winner’s Circle! (Did you know that Lake Lloyd in the infield is big enough to have hosted fishing tournaments and ski exhibitions? Wow!)

The track was currently being repaved, which was kind of a neat thing to see. By the time they finish all the layers, the track will be 7 inches thick! (Hopefully the infamous hole will be a thing of the past!)  And, if you want to own a bit of history, the current track is being sold off in pieces here.

Thanks WESH and Southern Chevy Dealers for sending us on this mission. And special thanks to David Casale from Guest Services who made sure I was treated like a VIP all day long, as well as Terry and Woody for the fabulous tour!

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Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, family, Fun, Just for Me, NASCAR, Tourist, Uniquely Florida

NASCAR Valentine: A House divided.

No, my husband didn’t give me a NASCAR-themed Valentine card (this year) but I have lost him to the television set for several hours as he watches the running of the Daytona 500. For those in the know–the half of America that relishes everything NASCAR–the Daytona 500 is like the Super Bowl of Motor Sports. Celebrities, politicians, rock stars, and the every-day working man (and woman) flock by the hundreds of thousands to the Daytona International Speedway this weekend for the kick-off event of the 2010 NASCAR Season. My husband falls into this category of fan, wishing he were there right now.

The other half of America–the half that could care less who Junior is and might think that Ricky Bobby is a real driver–is completely dumbfounded by this strange obsession with high-revving cars driving around in a circle 200 times. Unlike my husband, I fall into this half of America, which means we are a house divided on Cupid’s birthday.

Marathon Oil "American Spirit" #51

Now, as several of our friends know, my husband’s family had the experience of owning a Cup team a few years back. Their car was the #51 Marathon Oil “American Spirit” and often had drivers like Tony Raines and Kevin LePage at the wheel.  

During this time period, I truly became a NASCAR widow of sorts…Joe was always gone to the races, helping to oversee much of the day-to-day operations.   He and his brother and father truly made an exceptional team, and they relished the challenge of racing at the highest level of competition.

Joe and his brother Russ "in the pits" at a race.

I, on the other hand, attended a single race, which while exciting for the sole experience, was more than enough.  I did enjoy meeting Richard Petty  “The King”  as well as interviewing his daughter Rebecca Moffit for an article when I was doing lots of magazine writing.  Joe had the fun time of sharing a garage with Will Ferrell as he filmed scenes for Talladega Nights at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR is full of quality people, but I must say I was rather relieved when I got my husband back full-time.

So, as my husband sits in front of the television today, pouring over every driver and owner interview, eyeing the way the sponsorships are structured, keying in on new changes for the 2010 season, I can appreciate his “insider” knowledge.  So, I guess this equals my Valentine’s Day present to him: Simply give him his hours to watch it.

But for all of you who have also temporarily lost a loved one to the Daytona 500…do you want to go to a play with me today?  I heard Almost, Maine is supposed to be great!

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Filed under family, NASCAR, Out of Orlando, Sports