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A wild IndyCar ride at NHMS

Posted by Nicole Auerbach  August 13, 2011 03:00 PM

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LOUDON, N.H. Before today, Id never seen an IndyCar up close.

Ive still never watched a full Izod IndyCar Series race. (Tomorrow will be my first.)
So when IndyCar officials offered up two-seater rides to media members, I wasnt exactly the first in line.


Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

DRIVING MISS NICOLE: Globe Correspondent Nicole Auerbach with here chauffeur, two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr, at NHMS.

It wasnt the fear of speeding around at 150 mph or the chance of crashing that stopped me from signing up to do it initially; it was more the fear of the unknown. I had no idea how people even fit into the cars!

After encouragement from other media members most notably my Globe colleague Michael Vega I decided that wasnt a good enough reason. If I was going to understand the sport and appreciate the IndyCar race Sunday, I needed to be on the track.

This afternoon, I went for a ride.

First, I put on a fire-resistant jumpsuit and special shoes. Then I pushed my hair back and put on a balaclava, which is like a head sock. Then the helmet and gloves.

My driver was Al Unser, Jr., a two-time winner of the Indy 500. I felt pretty safe, but after the way he peeled out of pit row, I did let myself worry for about half a second.

The ride itself was a blur. I think we went around the track twice, zipping around those turns at unbelievable speeds. Al said he thought we drove about 140 mph.

Well have a video of my ride up on this site later today. (Its great footage from our photographer Matt Lee, but Im also using it as proof I survived the ride!)

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