Fast Track offers a variety of courses "for anyone from the novice to the experienced racer," according to company brochures. The Thunder Course is for those who want to actually experience driving a Winston Cup stock car but aren't sure they are ready for the advanced one-, two- or three-day courses. Courses range from a Half-Day Challenge Course at Bristol Motor Speedway or the famed high banks of Salem (Ind.) Speedway to three-day advanced courses at tracks like Lowe's Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

FinishLine Racing School
Location: Various tracks in the Southeast
Cost: $99 to $2,850
Phone: 386/427-8522
Web site: www.finishlineracing.com

FinishLine Racing School's specialty is the Serious Three-Day Program designed for the soon-to-be race car driver or even the experienced driver who is having difficulty getting to the winner's circle. "You'll learn more in three days by attending the FinishLine Racing School than you will in three years on your own," states chief instructor Mike Loescher.

FinishLine Racing School teaches strategy, chassis changes, driving style and smoothness-all the elements it believes makes you race-smart. Minimal time is spent in the classroom. FinishLine Racing School and Chassis School is committed to giving its students a balance of simple chassis setup and driving techniques.

SpeedTech Auto Racing School
Location: Various tracks
Cost: $90 to $2,800
Phone: 877/80-Speed
Web site: www.tospeed.com

SpeedTech offers several racing programs, increasing in difficulty from the beginner's courses through one-on-one training for the serious driver. SpeedTech's first course is actually a hot-lap ride where you can experience the thrill of the speed of a real stock car. Beginners can start with the Warmin' Up course, which features classroom training in the basics of car handling and proceeds trackside to discuss safety equipment and procedures. From there the student is solo in their own stock car. For more solo laps, Gearin' Up features the classroom training and more solo laps.

For the more experienced driver, SpeedTech offers a variety of courses. The Summer Thunder course offers the experience of racing under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway with three to five other cars on the track. Start Me Up is a course that features more seat time with instructors observing the student's driving style and offering feedback. Crank It Up is an intense training course with one-on-one instruction from a professional SpeedTech instructor. For those of you who want to fine-tune your driving style, SpeedTech offers the Advanced course and an Exclusive course, which is one day with school president and driver Randy Baker.

Dave Blaney's Outlaw Driving Experience
Location: Various tracks
Cost: $99 to $999
Phone: 877/7-Outlaw
Web site: www.daveblaneyoutlawexp.com

Dave Blaney's Outlaw Driving Experience offers the experience of winged Sprint Car competition to both the advanced racer and novice driver. Eight full-time instructors begin with an introduction and classroom instruction, then lead students to their open-wheel machines. Each student session consists of 10 laps, with instruction and critique to follow.

Richard Petty Driving Experience
Location: Various tracks
Cost: $89 to $2,999
Phone: 800/BE-PETTY
Web site: www.1800bepetty.com

The Richard Petty Driving Experience provides both fans and aspiring racers a chance to drive a 600hp NASCAR-style stock car at more than 20 tracks from coast to coast. Solo sessions are available from eight to 80 laps.

Mechanic Schools
Southard's Racing School
Location: New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Cost: $500 to $2,000
Phone: 800/422-9494
Web site: www.racingschool.net