Learn to Drive Like a Daytona 500 Race Car Driver 10


So You Want to Learn to Drive a Race Car?

“Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports… all the others are games.” – Ernest Hemingway



“If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower.” – Mark Donohue


With the Daytona 500 coming up, we wondered…have you ever fantasized about sitting, white-knuckled, behind the wheel of a 600 horsepower race car? Have you dreamed of pressing down on the accelerator with the promise of reaching speeds up to 120 mph?



“Once you’ve raced, you never forget it…and you never get over it.” – Richard Childress


Have you imagined seeing your friends & family root you on from pit road?



“There have been other tracks that separated the men from the boys. This is the track that will separate the brave from the weak after the boys are gone.” – Jimmy Thompson, referring to Daytona International Speedway (Home of The Daytona 500)


Can you picture yourself expertly negotiating a one mile tri-oval track, built in 1995 for the Izod Indy Car Series?



“Auto racing began 5 minutes after the second car was built.” – Henry Ford


All of this under the expert supervision of professional drivers and trained staff?


“There’s no secret. You just press the accelerator to the floor and steer left.” – Bill Vukovich


If you answered yes, YES, for the love of God YES to these questions, The Richard Petty Driving Experience may be right for you!

A while back, I was looking for a way to surprise The Caffeinated Hubby for his birthday. Some of us want to be doctors when we grow up, some lawyers… My guy? He’s always wanted to go fast. Hey who, the hell, can blame him? So, I did a little research and found a track in Orlando, Florida, (where we were headed on an unrelated vacation). I ordered a gift card through the website, opting for the  Rookie Experience, their most popular program. Eight laps in the driver’s seat runs between $449 and $549, depending on the track. There are fourteen speedways to choose from, each within day-tripper’s distance to you: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicagoland, Darlington Raceway, Daytona International, Indianapolis, Kansas, Kentucky, Las Vegas, Michigan International, New Hampshire, Orlando, Richmond International and Texas.  There are also many other Racing Experiences, ranging in price from the $59 Junior Ride-Along (for kids 6-13 years old) to the $3,500 Advanced Racing Experience, which is their most challenging program and consists of 40 laps.

It worked out perfectly. The gift card arrived right on time. We left a free day open in our itinerary; no parks, no amusement rides…just room for one heck of a surprise. When the day came, we headed out to the track, bright and early, on a sunny Florida day.

After getting suited up, some brief (but thorough) training and safety instruction, Caffeinated Hubby was in his very own (okay…borrowed) race car and headed out onto the track.



“The winner ain’t the one with the fastest car, it’s the one who refuses to lose.” – Dale Earnhardt


 …and maneuvering like a pro!



“When I started racing my father told me, ‘Cristiano, nobody has three balls but some people have two very good ones.” – Cristiano Da Matta



“No, no, he didn’t slam you, he didn’t bump you, he didn’t nudge you… he *rubbed* you. And rubbin, son, is racin’.” – Harry Hogge, Days of Thunder


He LOVED it and I think I had just as much fun watching and snapping photos!  When it was over, the class and their fans met up to hear their stats, receive their awards and applaud one another, on a job well-done.



“Winning is everything. The only ones who remember you when you come second are your wife and your dog.” – Damon Hill


And the grin on my guy’s face? Well, that was trophy enough for me! I highly recommend this day adventure to all of my friends, family & followers.

*I was in no way compensated by the Richard Petty Driving Experience. This, as always, is an honest review.


Do YOU want to learn to race like a Daytona 500 driver?

Have you experienced the thrill yourself? What were your own  encounters with Richard Petty’s or other driving schools? Do you have any advice for others?

I love hearing from readers so, please, leave your feedback in the comment box below!

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10 thoughts on “Learn to Drive Like a Daytona 500 Race Car Driver

    • Erin Post author

      I think that’s one of the great things about it. You don’t have to want to BE Jimmy Johnson in order to have the fun he has 🙂

  • Jonny Jenkins

    This is such a cool present! It definitely sounds like it was a great experience, you left me super curious about his stats… how fast did he get going? Fastest lap? Were they taught to do any ‘rubbing’ on the track?? I mean after all, rubbing is racing

    • Erin Post author

      Oh, Jonny, you’ve made his morning! He’s breaking out his stats.

      Okay: He says he got up to about 122 mph because you have to slow waaay down in the corners. Fastest lap time was 41:60 and he came in 2nd of 15 people. No rubbing was allowed, sadly.

      You must do this!

    • Erin Post author

      My mother in law and aunt in law did the ride along (in their 60’s!) and absolutely loved it. Maybe driving along with the professional is more your speed 🙂

  • Carol Jorgensen

    A few years ago when aunt Chris and I were on one of our Las Vegas trips we did the Richard Petty ride-around…too chicken to go it on our own. IWe were in our late (very late) 60s at the time we figured what did we have to lose…nothing. We were suited up – not quite Vera Wangish – and helmeted and helped in to our respective cars – happy to be passengers for three very fast laps. Had the time of our lives and certainly do recommend the experience. The only problems I encountered were climbing in and out of the car (you need to remember which leg goes first) and then feeling a bit queasy going in circles so fast! I don’t know how the drivers can stand the screaming all day – think they may be wearing ear plugs. Just a super great time.

    • Erin Post author

      An expert comes forth to share her tales of daring! Thank you for relating your experience and advice, Carol. Thank goodness you guys are so flexible and youthful! 🙂

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