I said yes as soon as the Rockingham Speedway PR rep asked if I would like a ride in the pace truck around the one mile track. I waited along with a group of about fifteen media types on pit road watching other groups of three and four get their rides. Veteran driver, Mike Skinner was at the wheel of the four door, F-250 Ford pickup that gave everyone two or three laps around The Rock.
When my turn came I jumped up front as two others piled in the back seat. Skinner told us he’d only be doing 85 to 90 miles per hour because the street tires might fail at speeds any higher. Believe me, 90 mph is plenty fast as you dive down to the yellow line and shoot up the high banks while those street tires scream against the rough asphalt. Skinner was chatting about the different lines on the track while driving with one hand. He seemed as relaxed as any of us would be on a trip to the grocery store down the street.
Skinner parked at the top of the track between turns three and four so we could feel how steep the banking is on that end of the oval. Very steep, as the passengers in the back slid across the seat and into the left side door. Three laps around The Rock were an eye opener, as I learned a lot from Skinner. If you ever get the chance to take a few laps with a professional driver around a race track, go for it.