By admin | January 21, 2009
By Richard Allen
Other than to have my picture taken in a show car, I have never sat in a race car. So, needless to say, I have never driven in a race. However, as a kid, and as an adult for that matter, I have dreamed about it often.
If by some crazy miracle I were given the opportunity to drive in one race and magically had the ability to do so(this is my dream so I make the rules), I know which race I would want to drive.
The race I would choose would not be the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 or even the Grand Prix of Monaco. I would choose to race in the 24 Hours of Daytona.
For whatever reason the thought of a race which not only circles the track but also circles the clock intrigues me. It is the ultimate test of drivers, team and vehicle. To make a car last that long under those conditions is nothing short of miraculous. Consider also, drivers have to wheel their machines around lap after lap without a mistake and the feat of completing the race becomes even more amazing.
It seems as though I am not alone in my thinking. Look at the number of drivers who come from every type of racing to compete in this event every year. NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1 and just about every other form of motor sports will be represented by competitors this weekend in Daytona.
To make matters even more difficult, there are various classes competing at the same time on the same track. Each driver in each class is out there with his or her own agenda. Some are trying to win the overall race, others are trying to win their particular class and many others are simply hoping to see the checkered flag wave no matter what position they may be running in at the finish.
Because of all these agendas being played out simultaneously, the variation in speeds from the fastest cars on the track to the slowest can be breathtaking.
Combine all of these factors along with having to deal with fatigue, work on the same plan as other team drivers and discipline oneself not to do something in the first third of the race that might prevent the car from making the last third of the race and it shows just what a challenge this race really is.
No matter what a driverâ€™s credentials are, no matter what else he or she has done, competing in this race, let alone winning, would be a great challenge and a tremendous accomplishment.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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