When I became 90 the family said, “Let’s do something special.” I was given three options. Since I’ve always been a NASCAR fan I chose to go to the Indianapolis Brickyard. But not as a fan sitting in the bleachers watching the cars go around and around. I wanted to be a race car driver!
I was accepted, so arrangements were made with the Petty Driving School to drive a NASCAR race car around the track by myself.
Arriving at the Brickyard Museum you sign in and then they take you by bus to the pit area. I checked in at the Petty office. I was given a special suit to wear, they called it a jump suit, and a one-hour training session before I hit the track. Down at the track area pictures were taken of me with one of the race cars. Next step was to pick out a helmet.
There were 12 men and one female in Mr. Muntzinger’s group. He explained that when the attendant called your name you were helped through the window of the race car, a seatbelt was attached, a steering wheel was installed and the motor was turned on.
Vincent was breathing deeply, filling his lungs with this festival of fumes, hoping to spin his wheels into a smoking celebration at the finish line just like all those other race car drivers.
The instructors, he said, “Told us it was necessary to get up to a minimum of 2000 RPM for first gear change, then 4000 RPM on the next gear change.”
Just like NASCAR legend Richard Petty, “I was then on my way driving the eight laps at max speed of 104 MPH! Always following a lead car that controlled my driving speed.”
Naturally, his family and friends were present. His son Mark, wife Doreen, son Tim and Kurt Mortorff took the ride around at speeds of 170 MPH. The person in charge scheduled their rides so that the entire family could be on the track at the same time as Vincent. After the ride the family was taken to one of the pit area garages for a get together and given a plaque with your picture on it.
“This was an experience that I’ll never forget.”