Have you ever wondered what it would be like to climb behind the wheel of a race car? What if you had the opportunity to not only sit in a race car but actually drive it by yourself. That’s right, no instructor tagging along in the passenger seat. This once in a lifetime experience will have you white-knuckled as your approach upwards of 155 MPH. The time has come to check this heart-pumping activity off your bucket list by zipping over to Hendricks County, Indiana for the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. We would like to thank the team at Visit Hendricks County for providing us with tickets to experience the thrill of the racing to share with everyone. This page does contain affiliate links.
Lucas Oil Raceway
The Rusty Wallace Experience comes to Lucas Oil Raceway in Hendricks County, Indiana a few times a year. Since it is not a permanent activity at the raceway, tickets tend to sell fast. During your visit to the Lucas Oil Raceway, you will be hard-pressed to not find drag racing happening because it is what this racetrack is known for. Every September Lucas Oil Raceway hosts the Chevrolet Performance Nationals, drag racing’s biggest event. Thousands flood the raceway to experience motorsports at its finest. The raceway also hosts a multitude of car shows, races, and events. Head over to the website to check the calendar and schedule a visit.
It is recommended that you get your tickets ahead of time to ensure a spot in the racing experience. Look for the best deals on tickets here on Groupon. There are two types of experiences to choose from. A full racing experience or a ride-along. The ride along puts you in the passenger seat as your driver soars around the track at upwards of 170 MPH. How fast the cars can go is depending on the track. This is ideal for those who don’t quite feel comfortable enough driving but still want the experience. Ensure to check the refund policy as it is quite strict.
What To Expect At The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience
Go in planning on spending between 2- 2 1/2 hours here. Unless you are only opting for the ride-along there is a process that needs to be followed to ensure everyone’s safety. Begin your experience by checking in at the registration trailer. It is there you will register, sign the necessary waivers and purchase photos afterward. I recommend arriving a half-hour early as registration can get crowded.
Every driver is required to go through an hour class that covers how to drive the cars. Safety is the number one concern as they want everyone on the same page when they are out on the track. The class covers the basic pieces of the car, how to operate it, how your pit boss will communicate with you and what to expect on the track. It is imperative that you make it in time for your class. Drivers are not permitted on the track until the class is completed, therefore if you miss your scheduled time you will have to wait until the next class.
During class, don’t be afraid to speak up with questions. Everyone has a different comfort level behind the wheel so it is best to get all your questions answered before you climb in. You can even opt for a ride-along before getting behind the wheel, which is highly encouraged. While family and friends are encouraged to come along and cheer along the sidelines, they are not permitted in class. They can find a seat in the bleachers to watch the current drivers or explore the racetrack. Once your class is over you will be directed to the track for firesuit and helmet fittings.
My husband and I had good intentions to both drive, however, plans changed after claustrophobia set in. After suiting up for pre-drive ride-along my husband got as far as climbing into the racing car before he immediately had to get out. The kind folks at the track indicated this is very common for claustrophobia to occur because of how tight and restricted one has to be in the car. Take note that not only will you be wearing a firesuit and a helmet, but you also need to squeeze into the car via a window, then be secured by a five-point harness.
I then jumped into the car for a ride-along. I opted to do an extended ride-along experience to catch a good chunk of it on my go-pro! Check it out here! Having no experience driving a clutch, I also felt this was the safest option for me. Nothing can quite prepare you for rocketing around the racetrack at over 100 MPH. My driver was amazing and gave me a taste of what life is like behind the wheel. The adrenaline was pumping through my veins while my hands were holding on to my tiny go pro for dear life. I was praying for Jesus to take the wheel to get me back to the pit in one piece.
When my ride-along was complete and they pried my hands off the handles I can easily say it was one of the most thrilling things I have ever done. My heart was racing, my body shaking and in pure disbelief that I actually just did this. As I climbed out of the car, cheering came from the small crowd of family and friends watching. It just added to the already amazing experience. As the drivers were coming and going, the crowd would cheer and celebrate. Quite honestly, watching the drivers who have been waiting their whole life to live out this dream rivals the experience itself.
Tips for Going to The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience
- I wouldn’t recommend bringing small children to this event. We did bring our two-year-old daughter, who enjoyed watching the cars, but she did “tire” of that quickly. Bring plenty of activities to keep them busy. If you do bring small kids, don’t forget headphones as the track is loud.
- You will have to crawl into a window to enter the race car, be secured by a five-point harness, have a steering wheel paced in after you sit down and then the netting over the window.
- Dress according to the weather. If it is hot ensure to wear light clothes and stay hydrated.
- Wear closed-toe shoed, no boots allowed. Tennis shoes are ideal and socks are required.
- Purchasing the Vehicle Protection Plan is recommended. This is insurance in case something happens while you are on the track.
- Bring bottled water. Concessions are not always readily available.
- They do take your picture sitting on the ledge of the car window before you take off. These are available for purchase at the trailer you signed in at. I recommend having a family member or friend come along to get even more photos and video capturing every moment.
- Expect to be a little sore after your experience. It is quite surprising how much shaking and vibrations a racecar puts out.
- Round out your day of racing by heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum or by checking out these great things to do in nearby Hendricks County.