Turn One loomed beyond the windshield like an asphalt Everest. The massive, clifflike bank gave me electric chills. And I was heading for this towering wave of pavement at full throttle, unsure of my ability to drive through it. Flying along the wall at Daytona International Speedway is a bad place for self-doubt. If I swung into the turn too low, the transition from bank to flat would send my car spinning. If I strayed too high, I might loose traction and nail the wall. My only option was to trust the high-powered stock car -- and hang on. Daytona International Speedway is hallowed ground for millions of NASCAR fans. This 2.5-mile long landmark has been drawing drivers and spectators alike since 1959. And twice a year -- in February for the Daytona 500 and Saturday for the Pepsi 400 -- it's Mecca for the stock-car crew. But the NASCAR Nextel Cup faithful don't need to wonder what it's like to fly through the left turns of the "World Center of Racing." They can experience Daytona's tri-oval for themselves at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. "The King's" signature NASCAR fantasy camp invites wannabe racers to take the wheel of an authentic stock car to run as many laps as they can afford, as fast as they dare. And the only prerequisites are a valid drivers license and a healthy appetite for speed. -- Eric Michael, Orlando Sentinel GETTING THERE: The Richard Petty Driving Experience is located at Daytona International Raceway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach. Exit I-95 at International Speedway and go east about two miles. Cost is $525. Phone 1-800-237-3889. On the web, go to www.1800bepetty.com. Read more about Eric's adventure by .
ORLANDO SENTINEL PHOTO BY DENNIS WALL
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