From Tracie: The Time I Was Jealous Of My Kid

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Time I Was Jealous Of My Kid

Lee emailed me and said, "I need to borrow Katarina, because she is tall."

I restrained myself from telling her to buy a step stool if she is having problems reaching things on high shelves, and asked her why she was looking for a tall kid.

She was going to the Richard Petty Driving Experience Junior Ride-Alongs, and her kids were too short to ride in the cars. She asked if Katarina would be interested in doing three laps around the track in a race car, and the answer was a huge "Yes!"

Walt Disney World Speedway Racetrack

That is how we ended up at the Disney World Speedway on a Friday morning, so Katarina could ride in a NASCAR race car.

Katarina With The NASCAR Sprint Car

When we arrived the track was still a little damp from a midnight rainstorm and morning dew, and they took us for a ride around it in a van while it dried. We only reached speeds of about 35MPH, so it wasn't exactly a thrill ride; but it was neat to get a feel for the tri-oval and the steepness (which I learned is called "banking"), and hear a bit about the history of the track.

Richard Petty Junior Ride Along Height Sign
This is the closest we came to meeting Richard Petty.
We took a tour of the garage, and learned about the specially designed seats and head/neck restraints for kids who are at least 48" tall to ride safely in the race cars.

I tried to look short (not hard, I am actually pretty short) and young. But I didn't convince anyone I was a 13 year old, so I wasn't able to sneak in a ride.

Hanging At The Racetrack With My Kid

Once the track dried, it was time for the real excitement. First Katarina had to put on a racing suit (how cute is that?), and get fitted for a helmet.

Richard Petty Junior Ride Along - Getting Ready To Ride

She had a little help climbing in through the window.

Climbing In Race Car Window

This is the look of excitement, and possibly a little nervousness, as she is about to go 120MPH (just a little bit faster than our van ride of awesomeness). Her driver was really nice.

Katarina In A Race Car

She started out nervous, but quickly fell in love, and wanted to go full speed.

Race Car Whooshing By Richard Petty Junior Ride Along
Katarina's car speeding by us on the track. Whoosh!

This fancy video of her ride is pretty awesome. (Those cars are loud!)
Katarina's Junior Ride-Along Video Link

Katarina has watched it about 100 times to relive the fun. I think we might have started something with this ride. I'm glad we have a few years before we need to worry about her getting a driver's license.

It was a very cool experience. (Have I mentioned that I was a little jealous?) I'm thinking Lee and I will have to go back to the track someday, so we can go on our own race car rides.

Have you ever ridden in a race car?

Lee got some great video, including an interview with Bill Scott, the Executive Vice President of the Richard Petty Driving Experience, that you can check out on her blog. She even tells you what she thought was the scariest part of the raceway.


  1. That. IS. AWESOME.
    My son would have died in excitement. HE's only 4 though.
    Man, I can't even think of him driving. EEKS

    1. Driving is scary! In fact, I think the race car was probably much safer than being out on the open road.

      When he gets a little older (and 48" tall) y'all have to come down to Orlando and let him try it!

  2. True story: I just prayed for Katie while watching the video... I even knew it had ALREADY happened and she is totally safe and sound and I'm all over here going, "Dear Jesus, hold her tight!" LOL!!! I have major anxiety issues and it would probably take an entire crew to shove me into that car... but I'd have loved to try it too. Jealous... just a bit. ;)

  3. LOL!!! You're so fun! Love you!

  4. WOW! What a cool experience for Katarina. She is SO brave!

    My little guy was too young to participate, but it is on our to do list!!!

  5. I've never ridden in a NASCAR, but I have been to a race - you think one car is loud? Try 40 cars at 180+ ;) I have to admit I too am a little envious of Katarina!

    1. There was maybe five cars driving around the day we were there? Maybe a few more (I was mostly focused on Katarina's, so I couldn't say for sure). 40 would have been CRAZY loud!

  6. How amazing!! Also, I would be the mom on the side who'd peed her pants watching her kid do that.

    1. I totally get that reaction! I was really too busy being excited for her to go to the scared place.

      It was pretty amazing.

  7. Wow that was wonderful! No I have never been in a race car - but I have been to Indianapolis where Speedway is and I rode around the track on a bus. Does that count?

    1. Totally counts. Sounds like your bus ride was a little like my van ride.

  8. Okay, as soon as the youngest hits 48 inches, we're doing this. Or they are, I mean. How awesome for Katarina!