A family friend, Janet, that works with my parents at their UPS Store is into racing hardcore! And when I say hardcore, her husband works for Napa Auto Parts, and her son used to race and now actually works at the Waltrip Racing facility (where they build their cars).
Because we were so close by (in Lake Norman), Janet got us some VIP passes to tour the facility and I have to say it was definitely an interesting trip! None of us are into racing at all… Paul loves cars but even he hadn’t ever gotten into Nascar.
But seeing this facility was actually really cool! The spaces inside were divided up by specific vehicle functions like suspension, transmission, body work, etc.
We started by walking through the suspension area to get to the body and frame section. It was actually really amazing how sterile and white everything was! Not like what you see when you got the a normal mechanic’s shop!
From the main floor we headed outside where we got to see where they clean and load up the cars. These trailers can hold anywhere from 2 to 4 cars at a time, and I think hold all the tires for the race too. It’s insane! And on any given race they have a couple million $$$, between the cars and tires, traveling with them. This is no joke! We also got to check out where the pit crew practices and unfortunately came on a day they were not practicing. But it was cool to see where it all happens.
From here we went into the actual shop (no pictures allowed there). This is where they are building the frames, piecing the mechanics of the cars together and I believe actually building engines (although I didn’t see any engines)!
After all that we headed back inside for the “museum-like” self-tour around the upper level where you can look down over everything. It was pretty cool. Of course I think the highlight for me was sitting in the adult carseat-like structure that the drivers actually sit in. It was a bit uncomfortable, but I could see why it is necessary to keep the drivers protected!
Overall it was a very cool experience! Thanks to Janet and her husband for getting us this VIP pass! Super cool!!!