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.
Chef Lee Linton has sliced, diced, and sizzled up countless gourmet dishes for more than 30 years. He combines this hefty culinary experience with his passion for nutrition to craft 1,200- and 1,800-calorie meal plans designed to help health-conscious eaters like himself stay in tiptop shape without sacrificing taste or quality. Linton only uses fresh ingredients, shying away from the frozen, dehydrated, or astronaut-friendly ones often used in other premade meals. The menu, which is approved by an on-staff dietitian, rotates regularly, and meets the guidelines set by the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American Cancer Society. After Chef Linton and his team prepare the dishes within a USDA-approved kitchen, they’ll ship the meals directly to clients’ homes or prep them for pickup at one of Fresh ‘n Fit’s 37 locations.
Not content to practice only such familiar pain-relief techniques as deep-tissue and medical massage, the therapists at this house of healing also unleash polarity therapy, detox footbaths, and a meridian-based tapping method known as Emotional Freedom Technology, or EFT. Eight types of kneading spring from the fingers of the therapists, from the sustained pressure of myofascial release to the directional strokes of lymph drainage. Powered by a gentle electric current, ionic footbaths surround paws in polarity in an effort to collect negatively charged toxins and restore the body’s pH balance. Like people who decorate their lawns with thousands of needles to keep the grass healthy, EFT sessions take their inspiration from acupuncture. But instead of piercing energy points, therapists performing this treatment manipulate them manually, a method designed to combat anxiety, stress, and anger.
Master cosmetologist and salon owner Manisha Mehta takes pride in delivering a sweeping range of beauty and grooming services infused with luxurious touches. Full-length facials incorporate rich ingredients such as 24-karat gold or chocolate, and facial peels immerse visages in fruit and vegetable medleys without the need for surreptitious head dunks into a punch bowl. Issuing from Mehta's fervent interest in the healing and restorative powers of herbs, most full facials are accompanied by a custom aromatherapy blend. Alongside eyelash extensions and waxing are ancient Eastern grooming services, such as eyebrow threading, ear candling, mummification, and henna designs for hands and feet. Dark wood and leather furnishings, deep-maroon walls, and gilt-framed mirrors and paintings lend the space a feeling of an urban retreat.
Helmed by an associate educator for Paul Mitchell, the Paul Mitchell-trained stylists at Mopp Hair Day Spa blend their keen eye for style with Paul Mitchell products to beautify clients. Before trimming hair, shampoo consultants lead clients to the spa’s lather lounge, where they soothe scalps with massages and revitalize hair with shampoos formulated for each client’s specific hair type. Before the final whisper of the blow dryer reveals their polished new ‘do, clients can keep their excitement in check by admiring the salon’s modern decor, which includes a waiting room filled with tufted leather benches, as well as chairs that were born as brunettes but now bear trendy zebra-stripes instead.