MAXIMUM SEAT TIME IS KEY FOR PYLE by Jeremy Troiano
Veteran Participates In Andy Hillenburg’s Fast Track Driving School
Robbie Pyle lives by the notion that experience is everything. Especially when you are doing something that you aren’t used to doing. In this case, experience would be seat time. And seat time would be best served at the superspeedways that ASA is planning to run in 2004.
Therefore, Pyle decided that it was time for him to get more seat time at the speedways, so this past weekend, Pyle completed the three-day Fast Track Driving School at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord (NC), operated by buddy and ARCA driver Andy Hillenburg.
“When I came down here and got in the ASA car (during initial ASA testing at the track), I realized I wanted to get more laps here,” said Pyle. “If you‘ve never been at these speeds or on a track like this, I think this is something that you just need to do. You need to do it for experience, but also for familiarity and confidence. That was something I noticed by being out in the ASA car the first time we were here.
“I’m pretty sure ARCA makes taking the school a mandatory thing. If someone is really serious about this, they should do it if
they haven’t had that kind of experience before. Anyone who has never been on a speedway should come here and to this. After being a part of it now, I’m a big proponent of it.
"Things just happen so much quicker on these tracks. It's a lot different then short track stuff. You need to wear a different hat in this realm of things. So anytime you can get on the track, it's good.”
The school offers a variety of courses for drivers to participate in, from half-day events all the way up to three-day courses. Pyle’s time in Concord and help from the school's instructors taught him a lot about the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which will host the ASA cars on Oct. 14.
Pyle (#600) got practice in running high speed laps, passing and drafting at Lowe's.
“These guys really know how to do this school. They get you up to speed at your own pace. They don’t rush you at all. The first day, they don’t even let you go very fast. It's all about getting used to the track and the cars and the correct line. The second day, they let you kind of find your own edge. Then the third day was passing exercises. It all gives you track time and that is what I wanted out of it most. I didn‘t learn how to race, but I learned how to drive this track.”
Pyle says he and his WalTom team will now have the advantage when the series heads to Lowe’s Motor
Robbie Pyle climbs into one of the Fast Track Racing School cars at Lowe's Motor Speedway. (51 Photos)
Speedway later in the year for the series first event at the track. However, he doesn’t know how his experience at Lowe’s will effect him at the other superspeedways ASA is tackling in 2004, including Kentucky Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"When we come back (to Lowe’s Motor Speedway) in the fall, we can work on getting the car faster and not just me. Now, I’ve already been 160 mph and when we come back, I will already feel comfortable doing that speed on this track and I’ll be confident in my racing line. So instead, we can adjust on the car and not adjust on me. I want to come and win the race. I don’t want to be just surviving out there. I want to do everything I can to get myself prepared.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to take anything away from here to Kentucky or Atlanta. Speed is all relevant. Sometimes you feel like you are going faster at Winchester then you are here.”
Lowe’s will be a different animal altogether says Pyle. The track is older and rougher than the other superspeedways on the schedule. And even though racing schools are offered at all the tracks, Lowe’s was the best one to participate in.
“At this place it's key to know how difficult it's going to be on this front stretch. You will really need to make sure you know where you are and where (your competitors) are. I think there might be some problems on this front stretch. I was made more aware of that today (Sunday) with the passing dills we did on the front stretch.
“I think finding a line here will be harder than any other place too. Knowing where you are on all three of the sections of the front stretch is tricky, especially when there are other cars around. It's going to be a different world for everyone, including me.”
Things were very tricky for Pyle one day at the track.
Pyle listens to one of the instructor's before the next lesson in drafting.
Because the cars are the same for everyone, the overly tall Pyle had to "squeeze" into the seat of his Fast Track ride.
“We had an odd thing happen. The coil spring bracket broke and the left rear spring flew out of the car going into turn three. It went through all the interior of the car I was in. It even put a hole in the right side door down low. That was pretty exciting, going into the corner and losing a spring. I’m just lucky that my drafting partner at the time was actually in front of me or that guy would have gotten a face full of rear spring coming right at him.
“Those things happen I guess. I’m just lucky it didn’t happen in the middle of the corner or I probably would have backed her into the wall.
“Thankfully though, they will allow you to wreck one car here before you have to pay for it, which I almost did. That would have been a hard one to explain to Wally and Tom (Gleitsman, WalTom owners).”
Since 1989, thousands of stock car racing enthusiasts and racing up-and-comers have "graduated" from the FAST TRACK Driving Schools at Lowe's, Atlanta, Bristol, Kentucky, Michigan, Homstead, Richmond, Chicagoland, and Kansas. The FAST TRACK Driving School program provides an opportunity for anyone to get behind the wheel of a Winston Cup style race car. For more information on the school, visit www.fasttrackracing.com or call 704-455-1700.