Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure places novice passengers alongside professional drivers for ride-along experiences on Talladega Superspeedway. At 2.66 miles around, Talladega Superspeedway is the largest oval racetrack in the Sprint Cup Series and is well-known throughout motorsports. Passengers circumnavigate the speedy circle at speeds of up to 175 mph aboard real racecars once owned by such drivers as Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip, and Bobby Labonte. Before embarking, riders receive safety training and suit up in a full fire suit complete with a helmet with facemask and Hans Device, the same head restraint used by professional heavy-metal guitarists. Talladega Superspeedway is located next to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, which is open daily to visitors.
When camped out at a picturesque St. Louis spot—from an old barn to the iconic Arch—Brian K. Owens sees more than just the opportunity to take a pretty picture. The fine-art photographer and owner of STLPhotoArt grasps for stories in each of his photos, stories that he seeks to bring to his clients through commercial shoots and instill in his students during photography classes. The shutterbug guides beginning shooters through Forest Park and the St. Louis Zoo, dispensing photography know-how along the way. Owens also lends his talented eye to elegantly capture moments at weddings, engagements, and knight-christening ceremonies.
Xtreme Xperience was founded by a pair of car aficionados who understand the thrill of commanding a $253,000 piece of four-wheeled poetry in motion, like the Lamborghini LP560. They know that exaggerating the pronunciation of Porsche is only half as fun as horsewhipping its 530 horsepower from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 3.3 seconds. They realize that the Ferrari F430's supercharged Launch Control console button is too irresistible not to push coming out of every red light and into every dark, quiet, and hopefully vacant train tunnel. The smooth, spaceship-esque aluminum body shell of the Audi R8 makes them appreciate how discreet something like 782 rivets, 382 self-tapping screws, and more than 300 feet of welding can be. The people at Xtreme Xperience also regularly upgrade their supercar experience, providing a safe way to not only participate in automobile exhilaration, but to also supply curious drivers and riders with information about the luxury automotive and racing worlds.
With the Gateway Arch towering in the background, Gateway National Golf Links tests players with 18 holes of rolling links and lush green pastures. Tall grasses, lakes, and soaring cottonwoods fill in the rest of the landscape, with stone bridges and raised boardwalks leading the way from one hole to the next. Several of the holes offer views of downtown St. Louis, including on hole three, where golfers can see the skyline and the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in the distance. Before taking on the challenges of the course, visitors can get some practice swings in at Gateway National's various practice facilities, highlighted by a spacious putting green and a driving range.
Course at a Glance
A driver curls his fingers around the steering wheel, takes a deep breath, and places his foot onto the peddle, bringing a mechanical beast to life. The screech of burning rubber, roar of an 500-horsepower engine, and the silent rush of adrenaline block out the rest of the world, allowing the driver to focus entirely on the run. As he battles the g-force, the realization hits that he has just achieved a lifelong dream: He is a drag racer.
Doug Foley first noticed the lack of a comprehensive drag-racing training center in 1997, and he took it upon himself to fill the void. Along with a team of instructors, Foley lets novices ride shotgun or drive themselves to taste drag racing for the first time. Once the new racers are hooked, a lineup of beginner to advanced classes licenses students for everything from junior dragsters, to door cars and A-fueled dragsters. Through these efforts, Foley and his team ready drivers to compete in professional races and fulfill a dream.
The original St. Louis Raceway Park was erected in 1967 as a mere 1/8-mile drag strip. Within four years, the strip expanded to a quarter-mile after additional land was made available. Adding dirt ovals and road courses over the years, the facility continued to grow even more, allowing it to finally ride roller coasters and serve as the setting for major races including the CART World Series, NHRA duels, and the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In 2012, following a two-year hiatus that brought all racing operations to a halt, the facility was renamed Gateway Motorsports Park. Seemingly rejuvenated, it once again provides fans and competitors first-class racing experiences. In the future, the park looks to convert into a 20,000-seat amphitheater between racing events in order to host more outdoor concerts.