LOUDON, N.H. – Before today, I’d never seen an IndyCar up close.
I’ve 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 wasn’t exactly the first in line.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
It wasn’t 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 wasn’t 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.
We’ll have a video of my ride up on this site later today. (It’s great footage from our photographer Matt Lee, but I’m also using it as proof I survived the ride!)
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