Race fans and thrill seekers will be able to experience the ride of their lives in an authentic Winston Cup-style stock car at Chicagoland Speedway. Seven-time Winston Cup Champion Richard Petty along with speedway officials announced today that Richard Petty Driving Experience will run at the track June 8-10, August 4-6, August 8-12, September 12-16 and September 19-23. "Fans won't just have to watch stock car drivers - they'll be able to be stock car drivers," said Joie Chitwood, speedway vice-president and general manager. "We are pleased one of the biggest names in motorsports will bring his rich racing history to Chicagoland Speedway." Richard Petty Driving Experience is a hands-on, high-speed driving adventure where race fans sit behind the wheel of a stock car like the one that made Richard Petty "The King." The program will offer four experiences on the 1 ?-mile tri-oval: a three-lap Ride-Along, an eight-lap Rookie Experience, an 18-lap King's Experience and a 30-lap Experience of a Lifetime. * Ride-Along: Customers can ride shotgun for a high-speed, three-lap qualifying run in a two-seater stock car driven by a professional instructor. * Rookie Experience: This three-hour program puts the student behind the wheel of a 600-horsepower Winston Cup-style stock car for eight laps. * King's Experience: This extended driving program consists of 18 laps broken out into one eight-lap session and one 10-lap session. * Experience of a Lifetime: Tame the speedway in three 10-lap sessions. This 30-lap, white-knuckled course allows you to improve your driving line, increase your speed and encourages the idea that you may change careers. Thrill seekers can reserve a spot by calling 1-800-BE-PETTY. "What's so exciting about us coming to Chicago is that fans will actually have a chance to drive at Chicagoland Speedway before many Winston Cup drivers even do," said Petty. "Even if you can't participate in the driving program, I would recommend that you try the ride-along. It gives you a better understanding of the speeds drivers run and the g-forces these guys go through. Plus, it's a heck of a lot of fun." Richard Petty Driving Experience, headquartered in Concord, N.C., will operate more than 1,000 track days at 24 locations nationwide in 2001, including permanent locations at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Walt Disney World Speedway?, Lowe?s Motor Speedway in Charlotte and Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis. RPDE will also venture across the Atlantic this year to offer programs at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, England. In 2000, RPDE ran 1.5 million track miles. For more information on Richard Petty Driving Experience or a complete 2001 schedule, call 1-800-BE-PETTY or visit
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