Anyone Can Race at Nearly Any Racetrack In The Country
Jim McIlvaine , SportsBlog.com Presents: Legends Corner- Featuring continuous and compelling blogs written by NBA veterans, Legends Corner is the content hub for some of basketball's most legendary players. on
I don't know how you spent your Memorial Day weekend, but I spent mine like I've spent just about every holiday weekend since I left Marquette- working. However, I've been fortunate enough over the years to do the type of work that some folks might consider anything but working. This year, my work involved a trip to the same Daytona International Speedway NASCAR is racing at this weekend and it had two purposes. The Ultimate Street Car Association was running a qualifying event for the 2014 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational and the Chumpcar World Series was also running a 14-hour race.
My employer, OPTIMA Batteries, sponsors both of those events and one of my jobs was to gather content (like this photo) in support of these events and blast it out into Cyberspace, which I am doing now. Chumpcar is a pretty neat racing event, because it offers just about anyone the opportunity to go out onto world-class racetracks and race wheel to wheel against other cars. The series has a large rule book, but the basics are that the cars should cost about $500, although you're allowed to spend extra on safety-related items, like a roll cage, safety belts, tires, brakes, etc...
The races are all endurance format, so you're not going for a specific number of laps, but a specific amount of time. In Daytona, it was 14 hours, but at other tracks it can be 24 hours or longer. Each driver is only allowed to drive for two hours at a time and must rest for 30 minutes in between runs, so most teams have four or five drivers (that helps split the costs too).
The field at the Daytona race started with well over 120 cars, even though there are only pit stalls for 43 cars. However, attrition soon took it's toll and the field thinned out a bit. However, most teams were still doubling up on pit space throughout the race, as the finishing rate for these events is typically better than 60%.
So how fast do these cars go? As fast as they want. After all, it is a race, but because it is an endurance race, teams try to balance speed with endurance and if they use up a bunch of gas driving really fast, they'll have to pit more often, which could end up slowing them down. This Caprice station wagon still probably ran between 120-130 mph on the high banks of Daytona.
So what is it like to drive around that track in one of these cars? Take a virtual spin and hop in the passenger seat of that very Caprice station wagon, by watching this video and give the ChumpCar World Series some thought this weekend, as you watch the big boys running at Daytona-