Students at Fast Track High Performance Driving School don't need to prove that they can parallel park—they're more concerned about taking a turn at more than 100 miles per hour. Most of them have never even felt the rumble of a 600-horsepower engine before. After plenty of safety debriefing from expert instructors, however, they usually are no longer intimidated by its purr. They'll then hop into the vibrant shell of an ARCA-style stock car, a former racing vehicle that's still capable of rocketing down the track at a blur-inducing speed of 165 miles per hour.
Since 1989, the school has been fulfilling speed-demon fantasies with its courses and ride alongs at racetracks throughout the country. The staff meets with everyday fans and aspiring competitors alike to cover racing protocol, safety, and appropriate postrace dance moves. Depending on the depth of their lesson, pupils might take the wheel during a four-car passing exercise or simply sit back in the passenger seat as a professional flies through three–five laps.
Former professional driver and expert instructor Randy Baker and his team have been guiding drivers toward greatness for more than 20 years; past pupils include Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jeff and Ward Burton, and the shadowy pit mechanic known only as Racer X. At SpeedTech Auto Racing School, Randy combines a fleet of super-speedy rides—authentic, metal-bodied vehicles boasting 650-horsepower V-8 engines—with a serious emphasis on safety to prepare drivers for any mishap on the track. Gearheads, speed junkies, and people who still sleep in a racecar bed despite their adult children's protestations soak up Randy's knowledge during one of SpeedTech's many race programs, varying in length from 3 laps to more than 100. With the school's built-in HD video feeds, drivers can commemorate their laps or prove to the family car it's been cheating on them with the hotel's valet.
The NASCAR Racing Experience's team of driving instructors specializes in NASCAR-themed Cinderella stories: at whichever world-famous speedway they're visiting, they give civilians the chance to drive real NASCAR race cars that have actually been raced by NASCAR superstars for a few hours. That means getting behind the wheel of a real NASCAR race car that's been driven by Dale Jr, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and other NASCAR favorites and putting the pedal to the medal. Unlike other racing experiences, there’s no lead car to follow here, you're driving by yourself and yes, passing is allowed! The instructors still offer guidance though, coaching those driving solo over a two-way car radio, and speed-chauffeuring racing enthusiasts around the track on ride-alongs.
Jessica has a design degree, a love for found objects, and a plan to change the world. That's why she founded Trashed, a critically acclaimed studio where visitors create jewelry and decor items from recycled materials. Classes fall into three main categories: Sip & Style sessions are BYOB, meaning you’re welcome to bring your own friend named Bruce; kids gather for eight-session Litterbugs courses; and Friday mornings are reserved for Coffee & Crafts. The studio also can be used for private events and cupcake-fueled birthday parties.