Surprise Your Littlest NASCAR Fan
(This post is from 2015.)
When my son was just a baby lying on a Boppy pillow on the floor, he would make revving engine noises and extend his chubby, little leg like he was pressing the accelerator . . . but only while NASCAR races were on television. He has always had a passion for racing, and I'm afraid it's not going away anytime soon. If your child has the same interest, and like me, you're just not ready to take him or her to a big race, then I've got a great idea for you!
Myrtle Beach is the perfect place to catch a little racing activity without breaking the bank, and without exposing your child to whatever unsavory activities might take place at one of the big races, like Darlington. Instead of watching a race, what if your kiddo could actually take a ride around the track? And then practice his or her own skills at a safer speed?
Earlier this year, we decided to cater to my son's racing obsession and see how he liked it. We didn't tell him where we were going, but drove up to Myrtle Beach. We went straight to the Myrtle Beach Speedway, still pretending not to have a plan, saying we were just going to "get out and look around." I think we could have stopped with that and gone back home with a happy kid. But as it turned out, there was another family on the track, getting rides from a professional driver. The official NASCAR Pace Car made its way past us in the stands, blowing our hair back. After those folks finished, we made a brief inquiry, and the next thing we knew, my son was getting ready to take a ride. The young men working at the track that day were beyond wonderful. So friendly and helpful, they made what is probably my son's most memorable day yet. And for only $20!
Rain was approaching, so they rushed us onto the track before they had to close. My son got his ride in a real pace car with a real driver on a real NASCAR track where Dale Earnhardt himself once raced and won. After he got out, the driver let him go in the garage, where he was able to touch and investigate one of Dale Jr.'s old red #8 cars. I've never seen such a joyful, contented smile on my son. After that, the driver let him climb into an actual stock car used for racing and sit in the seat. He got what we felt was the real V.I.P. treatment, because we happened to be the only ones there at the time. My son had close to 1,000 questions, and the driver, Brian Voss, answered them all patiently.
I should point out that adults can also drive an actual stock car around the track, or be driven. That costs more, of course, but it can be a fantastic gift for a grown-up with a need for speed, as well.
Now, it's hard to beat that. We blew the big surprise right up front. But we did go to Broadway Grand Prix the next day and let him drive go-karts all day. The wristband ends up being the best deal, where you can drive and ride all you want for $35, for the whole day. So he drove until he was worn out, then we went back to the hotel. We freshened up, took a walk on the beach, ate dinner, and actually went back for more go-karting that night, using the wrist bands for re-entry. If you're not into racing, they also have other rides, mini-golf, games, and an arcade. It's a fun place. It's also across the highway from Broadway at the Beach (visible in background of picture below), so if anyone wants to skip the karting and shop instead, they can split off for a bit and do something different.
All in all, it made for a fantastic, indulgent trip that didn't have to cost that much.