Chevrolet was nice enough to invite a friend and I to come out to spend the afternoon Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, then stay for the Rattlesnake 150 ARCA race Friday night. After a conflict nicely cleared up, my friend Rick Barr was luckily able to join me for the afternoon.
Traffic was light and we arrived early, so we headed over to test drive new Chevrolet models first. They had a short course setup and you were invited to test drive any of several Chevrolet models, including several Camaros with V6s and V8s in the mix.
I think this is a great low-stress way to expose people to the current Chevrolet models.
Next we checked-in and went on a tour of the tire facility, then the transports and garages behind the scenes at Texas Motor Speedway.
There were stacks of Goodyear tires waiting to be called into action. The race teams lease tires from Goodyear for the weekend. Each tire has an identification chip, so no one can sneak ‘special’ tires in, and none wander off to be resold for another venue. Goodyear actually tests, in concert with selected Drivers, tires for all of the cars in the series to use at each venue.
Our next stop was a trip to the race transports. Each transport carries 2 race cars, primary and backup, tools, and spares parts and equipment to assist with repairs, as well as food and snacks for the race teams.
It was quite interesting seeing what the racing teams travel with and the garages.
We also saw the cars undergoing technical inspection. This was a prime opportunity to see a lot of behind the scenes things that one does not get to see normally when attending the race. I like all the details and insight on how the teams prepare, technical inspections, and fueling, so it was all interesting to me.
After a deluxe dinner of Pizza out of the bed of a couple of Silverado’s, we headed in to the infield drive opportunity. For this event we each drove a Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks on the actual Texas Motor Speedway, with one of the Racing Drivers for the evening’s race standing in the bed of each Silverado waving to the crowd. The truck I drove was brand new, with 2.5 hours of operation time and almost no miles on it before this weekend.
Finally, we attended the Race itself. The Friday night race was the ARCA Rattlesnake 150. After we got some ear plugs it was a fun race to watch. In fact, my number one input for NASCAR would be to consider muffled vehicles, but many perhaps feel that the roar of the cars is an important part of the experience. Easy enough to bring or buy hearing protection I suppose, but since they have to throttle the cars anyway, why not require mufflers?
All in all it was a remarkable day. I was very glad of the opportunity at the ride & drive for some hands-on seat time in the Camaro, and in the displayed cars some opportunities to examine trunk space and other details. The behind the scenes tour of the hauler and garages was unique, as was driving a lap of the raceway with a Driver in the bed of the truck.
All of the Chevrolet staff were friendly, nice, and efficient. The entire day was well planned and coordinated without seeming stressful or strident in the least. I definitely recommend bringing a guest or a friend to the event, as there were a lot of opportunities for discussion / visiting throughout the day. One reason I wanted to attend the Friday session was that traffic was light going in and out of the TMS area, and we had no problems whatsoever with the commute there or back.
I would like to see more Cadillacs at this event, but it was very much a Chevrolet Event, and I appreciate them inviting me. Do we know the lap time for a non-speed limiter equipped Camaro V8 or for the 2010 Cadillac CTS-V at TMS? Don’t we want to know?