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I’m not sure what’s more fun – making a “bucket list” or getting to check off one of the items on the list? Either way as I faced the reality of turning 40 last October I decided to seize the opportunity to make a dent into my bucket list (some might call it an early mid-life crisis) by driving a car as fast as legally possible! Prompted by an email I received touting 50% off a NASCAR racing experience I jumped at the chance to head up to the California Speedway in Fontana to join about 30 other mid-lifers for a 5 minute thrill ride of a lifetime! Please continue reading below…
With knowing little else other than I was told I would have the chance to drive in excess of 150 mph I packed up the minivan with my wife and two boys and headed north a couple hours up the I-15. It wasn’t too difficult to convince 6 and 4-yr old boys to “come watch dad drive like the guys in Cars 2”! The only pre-requisites for the experience were to have a valid driver’s license and to not have had any alcohol in the past 72 hours (I guess they want people being really sober for some reason). Given the surprisingly low standards I figured that I’d be accompanied in the car by a trained professional driver that could take over at any point, but much to my surprise I discovered in the 1 hour training session that I would be solo in the race car with full discretion on how fast I would go – a scary and sobering realization.
After donning a fire rated driver’s suit, helmet and 2-way radio ear buds to communicate with a spotter who would talk me through the experience, I was wedged tightly into a 5-point harness and the steering wheel locked into place. I was told by the instructor that the sensation and G-forces of rounding the turns at speeds approaching 150 mph would make me feel like the car was about to slide up the track and slam into the wall (the visual of fiery NASCAR wrecks was a little unsettling) but that I needed to trust the car and know that it is designed to hold the track perfectly. Sure enough the sensation was all too real but it was equally amazing to feel how secure and tight this performance machine was. With Lap 1 jitters behind me I pushed hard on the gas into the second lap and ended up touching a top speed of 147 mph, but almost as soon as it started the spotter let me know my time was up and I had to head back to pit road.
After literally the fastest 5 minutes of my life I was left wanting more time on the track, but at the same time totally satisfied that I had experienced something truly unique and left with the hope that it won’t be my last time behind the wheel of a race car. Plus there always the next item on the bucket list that’s calling my name!
Jim and his wife Jo, have lived in Carmel Valley since 1987 and first got into the real estate business in 1992 after a successful career in the construction industry in South Africa. Kevin Dalzell joined the Dalzell Group Real Estate team in 2002 after playing professional rugby in Europe (represented the U.S. in two Rugby World Cups) and is now living with his wife, Nina, in Solana Beach. Ryan Dalzell coordinates the team’s marketing program, and he joined the group in 2004 after working as a flight instructor. Ryan lives in Carmel Valley with his wife Julie and their 3 children. Amber Worsham recently joined the team as the new Marketing Manager & Transaction Coordinator. With over five years of experience in marketing real estate in Coastal North County, Amber provides us with extensive expertise in the print, internet and direct marketing aspects of the business.