That first 10-lap solo drive was so many things: exhilarating and yet terrifying all at the same time. There were so many things to remember-lift, brake, turn and don't crash in front of all these people. The adrenaline and "pucker factor" were pretty high at this point.
We continued learning and racing in 10- to 15-lap intervals over the next day and a half, with an occasional break for lectures from Faulk. While we got plenty of leeway to learn and race from the instructors, if we operated outside the bounds they set, we would be black-flagged and brought down pit road for consultation.
Instructors One of the components that most impressed me about the school was the instructors.
My instructor, Edward Howell, was the perfect combination of instructor and comedian. While I was not the hot shoe of the class, Howell made me feel as though I was. More important than their knowledge and experience was the instructors' ability to make you feel comfortable and let you learn at your own speed during an experience that was for most of us fun, but stressful.
Perhaps the words of the head instructor can sum up what the ERS school is all about. "Honestly, what separates us from any other school out there is that you can actually learn how to race," says Faulk. "It's not just a buy-and-ride school. We have a lot of experienced instructors, and between all the instructors and myself, if you can't learn or pick up on something here at this school to actually go to a racetrack and race, you're not really paying attention. This is an actual racetrack where you do get to race. You do get to race the school cars without any instructors. I think we're the only school that allows you to do that. With the instructor base we have to pull from, you really can actually learn how to race a race car."
ERS General Manager Margi Nanney is the glue that holds everything together. At any one moment she could be giving one of us a wet towel to stay cool, arranging lunch and dinner plans for all, as well as many of the other administrative tasks that needed attention. If you attend the school, you will no doubt be pleasantly surprised at the lengths she and the staff will go to make ERS the racing experience of your lifetime.
What They're DrivingThe cars fielded by the Cale Yarborough Executive Racing School are 2,600-pound Limited Late Models built by Floridian Jimmy Cope. They feature a stock front clip and leaf springs on the rear, and the engines in the cars are Chevrolet ZZ4 crate engines developing around 420 hp. Top speed is around 125 mph in school trim.
Cars used for instruction have a 5,900-rpm computer chip in them, while the school's new professional racing series, the EROC Series, uses a 6,200-rpm chip. The cars, which carry Chevrolet Monte Carlo sheetmetal, ride on Goodyear Eagle 2402 tires.
The two-day school described here costs $2,495 and includes food, lodging and 130 laps of driving.