Sunday, March 7, 2004
A quick chat with ... Chris McKee
By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Before sports fans wanted to be like Mike, they wanted to be like another North Carolina legend: Richard Petty.
What started 13 years ago as a talent search for new race car drivers has resulted in a program that puts race fans behind the wheel on a track.
The Richard Petty Driving Experience will make six appearances this season at Kentucky Speedway. Fans can ride along or drive a varying number of laps. Chris McKee is the director of marketing for the Petty experience.
Q: OK, let's cut to the chase. How many people have vomited in the car?
A: I've heard stories of that happening once or twice. It's rare. Some people say it's the world's smallest roller coaster. It's much smoother than that.
Q: What's the appeal?
A: In a deep sense, it's something we all have in common. We all drive. It's an apples-to-apples experience. You can't go to Yankee Stadium, put on a uniform and take batting practice.
Q: Even the rich and famous are into this, right?
A: We've had celebrities: John Travolta, Michael J. Fox, Troy Aikman, Britney Spears. And, in your own backyard, Rudi Giuliani rode along at Kentucky Speedway.
Q: Britney Spears?
A: She drove herself and rode along at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A NASCAR movie was being filmed.
Q: People have to be a licensed driver to drive, obviously. Who was your oldest driver?
A: We had an 82-year-old female who drove at Kansas City. She got out of the car and yelled, "I want to go faster."
Q: How fast?
A: The ride-along can go 170 (miles an hour).
Q: And the drivers?
Q: Height and weight limitations?
A: People who are less than 6 feet 8 and 280 pounds can participate.
A: The cars do not have doors, so you have to be able to climb through a 15-inch-high by 30-inch-wide window that is 3 feet from the ground.
Q: What are the different levels of experience?
A: You do not need reservations to do the ride-along (three laps) but do need to call 1-800-BE-PETTY for driving reservations. The drives we offer at Kentucky Speedway include the Rookie Experience (eight laps), the Kings Experience (18 laps) and the Experience of a Lifetime (30 laps).
Q: When will you be at Kentucky Speedway?
A: We will be offering rides and drives starting April 24-25 with a rolling schedule of May 28-30, June 25-27, July 30-31, Aug. 1, 6-8, Sept. 24-26 and Oct. 15-17.
REDS / SPRING TRAINING
Daugherty: Reds seem all-natural
Outfielder makes life a journey
Reds e-mail Q&A
Inside Reds camp
Recovering Cruz making progress
Specter of drugs clouds the game
A-Rod joins in Yankees-Red Sox fun today
BENGALS / NFL
Bengals retain Braham
Monster trade ultimately may favor Redskins
Traded to Ravens, Owens seeks to become an Eagle
Bobbitt's big shot gives Bearcats share of title
Banks grabs Bearcats' attention
XU takes Temple's best punch
Chaney doesn't temper criticism
Flyers prevail in regular-season finale
Florida adds fuel to UK players
RedHawks gain 3rd seed
No. 5 Mississippi St. 82, Alabama 81 (OT)
Washington 75, No. 1 Stanford 62
Marquette 81, No. 25 Louisville 80
Top 25 roundup: Duke back on winning track
Racers earn 5th NCAA berth in 8 years
Xavier women bow out of Atlantic 10 Tournament
MND, C-J on collision course
Turpin wins first sectional title since 1992
Chiodi's buzzer-beater downs Bluebirds
Badin girls upset Kenton Ridge
Wendeln puts on record FT show
Div. I girls' playoffs roundup
Gymnastics: Badin senior excels
State hockey: Talawanda falls to St. Ed
Prep sports schedules
Groeschen: Reading mourns Ramsey's death
Ernst: Father, son may meet in final
TOP O' THE SECOND
Good Sports: Trio train for the fight of their lives
What's up with that?
A quick chat with ... Chris McKee
Long shots suit Henderson
Planning ahead: Can't miss TV
This week's poll question
MORE SPORTS HEADLINES
Parry wakes up in time to grab one-stroke lead
NBA: Bryant could miss month with sprained shoulder
Harvick wins wild Las Vegas race
Sports today on TV, radio