Just because summer is coming to a full stop doesn’t mean your outdoor adventures have to.
While BBQs, bikinis and beers with summer themes are soon to be retired until next year, there is still excitement to be had outdoors before pumpkin patch and hayride season commences.
Stockcare Racing Experience at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond offers adrenaline-junkies a chance to take control of a 600hp stock car on a two and a half mile super speedway.
The driving experience kicks off with a driving school held inside the Pocono Penthouse.
Manager and chief instructor Steve Fox, who has 20 years of experience in the racing world, stars in a half-hour video presentation preparing students for the “very dangerous but rewarding” endeavor.
Fox asserts in the video that Stockcar Racing Experience may not turn participants into a race car driver, but they “can make you think like one.”
With over a million miles of track driven by students behind their seatbelts, Stockcar Racing Experience prides themselves on not having any injuries on their clock.
“All these years and we haven’t handed out so much as a band-aid,” said Stockcar Racing Experience owner Jesse Roverana of Kunkletown.
Perhaps the history of safety can be attributed to the detail-oriented driving school, which also features an orientation inside a car and a run-through of the track you will drive on while accompanied in a van by your instructor.
Approximately 90 minutes after the beginning of driving school, students are ready to hit the raceway.
More than 5,000 people visit Stockcar Racing Experience each season, according to Roverana.
Visitors often come from far and wide.
“We’re here on our honeymoon,” said Nicholas and Leanna Prevo of Flint, Michigan.
The nervous but excited newlyweds decided to hit the race track for an adrenaline rush.
“I have driven over 110mph on the expressway before, but I’m looking forward to this because now it’s legal,” Leanna said.
The idea of doing something that is illegal on the streets, but legal on the Pocono Raceway, seems to be a theme among participators.
“We come here once a year to tear it up in a legal way as opposed to the illegal way we tore it up coming out here,” said Stuart Levy of Demarest, New Jersey.
“We have five people with us. Usually every year we bring someone new with us,” Levy said.
Birthdays are also a popular occasion attracting people.
“This was my birthday gift. I surprised my husband with a skydive for his birthday a few years ago so I guess this is payback,” said Kirsten Sylvester of South Abington Township.
“I didn’t see this coming, but I’m excited to experience it. This will definitely be the craziest thing I have ever done,” Sylvester said.
Dan Taylor traveled all the way from Pittsburgh for the experience, which was a Christmas gift last year.
“My wife got mad at me last November so she bought me this for Christmas hoping I wouldn’t come home,” Taylor joked.
For some, it serves as a father and son bonding experience.
“We’ve jumped out of a plane together, now we’re doing this. We’re always up for the thrill of something with an element of danger to it,” said Ron Seaman, who traveled with son Chris from Winchester, Connecticut.
“It’s great the way it’s set up here. With two cars following an instructor, we get to ride together,” said John Dorogoff of Hazleton, who came for a chance at an adrenaline rush with his son also named Chris.
Once those daring enough to drive a stock car to speeds of 160mph finish their experience, euphoria is often witnessed.
“That was awesome,” said newlywed Leanna Prevo as she jumped out of the stock car she drove.
“That was ridiculous. Definitely money well spent,” Levy said.
The experience is all about making people happy, said Roverana.
“Everybody that jumps out of our cars are happy,” he said.
For anybody looking to relive the experience, an on-site production crew captures your experience with pictures and video.
“It’s one of those man-cave things. You take the picture home and hang it in your man cave,” said videographer Joe Wickersham.
The production crew has alumni from film schools including the New York Film Academy and the American Film Institute.
While driving a stock car to excessive speed may be too adventurous for some, daredevils of all magnitudes have different options to choose from.
Stockcar Racing Experience provides guests with the option to ride along in the passenger side with a professional driver.
Professional driver Chris Marcho of Elk Mountain often spends an entire day on the speedway.
“I’ve been riding non-stop for the past five hours. I love it. And the instant gratification from watching someone experience this for the first time is just the best part of my job by far,” Marcho said.
Stockcar Racing Experience also has Pro Karts, Go Karts that race up to speeds to 50mph, as well as options to race your own car.
Bucket-lists can even be checked with the opportunity to drive exotic cars on the speedway, including Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s.
“There’s no better feeling than making someone’s day better with a good adrenaline rush,” said Jesse Roverana.
Stockcar Race Experience is open for the season now through Friday, October 12.
Information on action-packed services can be found at www.877stockcar.com