Tigers take laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway


by - Senior Writer -
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Photo Gallery: Tigers at the Charlotte Motor Speedway

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The majority of NASCAR drivers tend to run smaller in size than your normal football player –and for good reason. There simply isn’t a lot of room in a stock car for a 300-pound lineman.

Several Clemson players and coaches – and even a few media members – found that out Wednesday morning as the team participated in the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney, University President Jim Barker and Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips also took three trips around the track in the passenger seat.

The most entertaining moment of the morning occurred as staff members tried to cram – literally – offensive lineman Kalon Davis (6-4, 345) into the passenger seat of the car. Obviously, the cars don’t have doors, so the players and coaches had to enter and exit the vehicle by going through the window.

Later, Davis had to exit the car by coming out head first, and then he put his hands on the ground as staff members held his legs. Once he was firmly back on the ground, Davis jumped up and did his best Ricky Bobby [from the movie Talladega Nights] impersonation.

Speeds reached 165 miles per hour on the 31-degree banked track, and Swinney said he came away with a newfound respect for NASCAR drivers.

“I have a new appreciation for what those guys do,” Swinney said. “There is no doubt you have to be a conditioned athlete to do that for two to three hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon during a NASCAR race. That was quite an experience and we weren’t racing in traffic today.”

Running back Jamie Harper came out of his car and stood on his vehicle with his arms raised in triumph as if he had just won a race.

“It was like a roller coaster on that thing,” Harper said after his ride. “You think you are going to run into the wall, and then shoot down the track. It was crazy. There is nothing else like that. There is nothing else you can do and get that same feeling.”

As expected, offensive lineman Landon Walker tried to convince his driver to let him take over the vehicle, and then tried to convince the driver to do a little bump-drafting coming out of turn four. Walker then said he just hated he missed the chance to wreck.

“I mean, how many people can say that they’ve been in a wreck on a NASCAR track,” Walker said with a smile. “I have the HANS device on. I tried to talk him [the driver] into taking us up against the wall – not a hard wreck – but he wouldn’t do it.”

Center Dalton Freeman said he DID feel like he was going to wreck.

“He was coming down the straightaway and then when we went into the turn, I thought he wasn’t going to slow down at all,” Freeman said. “He was just hitting it coming down through there, and he wasn’t letting off the throttle at all. Then at the last second I felt him slow down. But I still thought the back end was going to slide out and we were going to be spinning or flying like Ricky Bobby or something. It was awesome.”

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd said racing games don’t quite give you the feel of the real thing.

“It was definitely a different experience,” Boyd said. “I have a newfound respect for those guys, and that is something I will always remember. The only thing I have done that is anywhere near that is the race car simulator and it was nothing like that. We came into the first curve and were right up against the wall. All I could do was freeze.”

Swinney said that he has been to lots of bowl games, but driving around a NASCAR track was definitely a new experience.

“This is the most unique thing I’ve ever been a part of, that is for sure,” Swinney said. “I have done a lot of neat things on bowl trips, but this is amazing. To have the opportunity to do this is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. But I hope that this isn’t the highlight of the trip. I hope that is walking off the field with a ‘W.’ That is what we are here for. But this will rank up there.”

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Subject (Replies: 24) Author
Tigers take laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway
Crump®
Re: Tigers take laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway
TigerFanClint
Re: Tigers take laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway
Outbound®
Re: Tigers take laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway
Tiger4Ever91
Re: Tigers take laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway
Accu
zing!!!***
cutigr62
You know your football team sucks when this is news.***
tigerdrummer®
Or that there isn't a ton do in the tourism department
aerozeptallica®
Umm, this is one of the things that you can do in Charlotte
T22Bone22
No kidding. Really?
aerozeptallica®
woah dont get your panties in a wad***
chrisCUfan
he's not, it was the other maroon not getting the sarcasm***
deleted
maroon? nice.***
chrisCUfan
Buggs Bunny?
aerozeptallica®
he got that, he was saying besides that there isn't a lot to
deleted
Re: he got that, he was saying besides that there isn't a lot to
Outbound®
Thank you Blue Caddy. Your reading
aerozeptallica®
Re: You know your football team sucks when this is news.***
cjennyjas
I know, I totally need one. I guess the first thing I
tigerdrummer®
It's the norm for teams to do some local activity when
GBS
But when it's front page news? Come on.***
tigerdrummer®
Re: But when it's front page news? Come on.***
allorangeallthetime52®
Re: Tigers take laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway
gamecock1
Re: Tigers take laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway
deroberts
Re: Tigers take laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway
allorangeallthetime52®

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