Have you ever had a dream of driving your car on an open track? You really don’t know how close you are to being able to participate in the greatest sport of all. Performance Driving!
I found out about an event in Texas through some friends, called The Driver’s Edge. The Driver’s Edge is a performance Driving school with one thing in mind: teaching you to drive your car and drive it well. They use slogans like “Stop Dreaming and Start Driving” and “We don’t care what you drive we care how well you drive it”. They honestly mean just that. In the two events I have participated in, I have learned more about driving then I thought possible. I remember right before my first driving weekend, I told my wife, “you know all that stuff I said about me driving really well? Well I was just kidding.” I was actually a little nervous. But I have to say, after about my first lap around MSR Houston, every bit of nervousness I had went away, and I was absolutely having the time of my life.
My wife decided to take her first shot at The Driver’s Edge last weekend. She has always been a drag racer, and so we thought throwing turns in the mix might be a challenge. Contrary to our concerns, she did fantastic. Giving her the chance to drive this event gave me some time off to walk around and get more of an idea of what goes on behind the scenes.
Let’s take a look at a typical day. The track opens early on day one. This gives drivers time to set up, check the cars, tire pressure, brakes, etc. The mandatory driver’s meeting is at 8am. I know what you’re thinking, a boring meeting. Think again. Rick Schwalenberg heads up each event. He is upbeat, funny and can really make the whole day that much more enjoyable. He gives his speeches each morning, they run through all the flags, and you usually get in a good laugh or two or ten. Yet when it’s all said and done, you are presented with every bit of information you need to know for the day.
After your morning meeting, the driving begins. There are four groups of drivers that rotate through the day: Green, Blue, Yellow, and Red. The groups take turns driving and rotating in and out of the classrooms. In class, you watch videos, give feedback, and figure out your objective for the next run session. Green and Blue group drivers run with an instructor in the passenger seat. Each group runs four, 25 minute sessions a day. At the end, you are graded by your Instructor on a number of things. Your ability to acknowledge flags, give proper passing signals, and drive the racing line are just a few of the things that might determine whether you get promoted to the next group. It’s definitely not just about going fast.
One of the neat features about The Driver’s Edge is the opportunity to drive parade laps during lunch, for anyone at the track who wants to participate. Friends, family, and spectators can get in their own vehicles and follow the pace car around the track at a very slow pace. It gives people who are undecided about signing up for an event or who might not otherwise have the chance, to experience something really cool. After lunch is finished, you run your last two sessions and have the opportunity to participate in a pizza and track walk. You team up with an Instructor who escorts you out onto the track and you take a look up close and personal at a particular section. Maybe it was a turn you had been having trouble with. It makes for a nice end to a wonderful day of driving.
People come from all over to drive with the Driver’s Edge. There are always so many new drivers at just about every event. The staff and everyone who participates are very kind and helpful in every way. For people just starting, it makes a huge difference in the whole weekend. I myself have yet to meet one person out there who would not go above and beyond to help you get an answer. At the end of the day everyone is out there for the same reasons, to learn and become a better driver. Just about everything you learn out on the track can be used in everyday driving. In my opinion there should definitely be some sort of insurance discount. If you have any questions at all about The Driver’s Edge please contact Rick.
Finally I’d just like to thank my wife for pushing me into giving it a try. Like many people out there, was stressed about costs and wear on the car. All I can say is I’m glad I went for it, otherwise I would have been missing out on some of the best weekends ever.
Thank you Driver’s Edge!
See You At The Track!