Get behind the wheel of a stock car at Chicagoland Speedway

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

For a lot of men and some adventurous women, the need for speed ranks fairly high when it comes to things that produce an adrenaline rush. Whether it’s driving your own vehicle down the open highway or watching professional racers, there’s little doubt speed excites.

I’ve found a good deal for those of you who would love to sit shotgun in a high horsepowered race car or perhaps even drive one yourself. Thanks to the people at, you can choose to take a three-lap ride along with a professional driver, or for a few more bucks, you can take a class and go out and get behind the wheel for eight laps on your own.

The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience at Chicagoland Speedway is offering a one-hour, three-lap shotgun ride-along experience for $64 (normally $129). For $199, you can upgrade to the two-hour, eight-lap qualifier racing experience, a $399 value.

If you choose the ride-along, you’ll be strapped in the passenger seat alongside a professional driver who will zoom you around the track. You’ll get three laps of in-the-action views without having the responsibility of actually piloting the vehicle.

For the more adventurous, after two hours of classroom instruction, where you’ll learn the intricacies of the track and its corners, you’ll get buckled into the driver’s seat of a stock car, and you’ll take the wheel for an eight-lap session. You’ll not only get the thrill of driving a stock car, but you’ll be experiencing the straightaways and curves on the same track that your favorite NASCAR drivers race on.

The 1.5-mile, D- shaped oval, Chicagoland Speedway has 18-degree banking in its turns. The 2,400-foot front stretch has 11 degree banking, and the backstretch, which runs 1,700 feet, is banked at 5 degrees. It takes NASCAR’s top drivers less than 30 seconds to speed around its 1.5 miles in qualifying trim.

The following dates are available for you or a loved one to cross this need for speed adventure off your bucket list: June 28-30, July 6-7, Oct. 5-6.

For more information or to reserve your spot, call the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience at 1-888-629-RACE (7223). The Chicagoland Speedway is in Joliet, Ill.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the June 19-25, 2013, issue

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