“Vroom Vroom VROOOOOOM.” Engines roared at the Atlanta Motor Speedway as 10 lucky MyCokeRewards.com prize winners prepared to take the ride of their lives with a Coca-Cola Racing Family driver.  With their fire suits zipped and helmets tightly secured the Coca-Cola ride along winners waited eagerly to take off on the ultimate NASCAR experience on Coca-Cola Family Race Day.I was equally excited for each of them as I worked with our camera crew to film the event for Coca-Cola Journey. But in the back of my mind, I was envious. I mean really… who wouldn’t want to sit side by side with a professional NASCAR driver as they put the pedal to the metal?

The sun pounded on the scorching track, beads of sweat poured down my face and the smell of burning rubber filled the air. This was no typical day at work. Amongst all the chaos of filming in the pit area, I thought to myself: Now this is NASCAR.

We moved swiftly to get shots of the Coca-Cola winners as they took their turn riding alongside Coca-Cola Racing Family  hotshots like Danica Patrick and Joey Logano. And little did I know… these winners weren’t the only ones going for a joy ride.

Fast and Furious

Just as we were about to call it a wrap, I got the surprise of a lifetime. My manager ran up to me on the track and simply said, “Get suited up, you’re going for a ride along.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I reacted immediately, hurrying over to the changing area.

My mind was racing as fast as the cars whipping around the track. I signed the release waiver with no hesitation, threw on a Richard Petty Driving Experience suit, and darted for the line. In the matter of minutes, I went from giddy intern to the fast lane.

Heart thumping and anticipation building, I shimmied my way into the passenger’s seat. (Not as easy as it looks). To my right, the pit crew gave me some last-minute high fives and a big thumbs-up. To my left sat 16-time Sprint Cup winner Ryan Newman gripping the wheel. As the engine revved up, so did my adrenaline.

“Are you nervous?” Newman asked. “Not at all,” I replied, “Let’s go.” And with that we were off.

Winner’s Circle

He gunned it. It felt like we went from zero to 100 in the matter of seconds. My body slammed back against the seat, and I squirmed for a moment as I adjusted to the dramatic changed in speed. We were flying! I didn’t scream or yell like I expected. Instead, I sat there grinning ear to ear soaking it all in.

By the time we whipped around the second turn, my eyes were watering from exhilaration. As a self-proclaimed go-kart queen, I had met my match.

Topping out at speeds of 165 mph, Newman was determined to shake up my nerves. The speed demon drove so close to the outer rail that it felt like we were only inches away from scrapping the car to shreds. By the second lap, we were whizzing past the track billboards so fast I couldn’t make out the words. This NASCAR newbie was hooked.

After the fourth lap, it was time to turn in. Newman pulled up and the pit crew pulled me out. I was on cloud nine. It was hard not to feel like a winner after riding alongside a NASCAR superstar.

Several people at the track asked what I thought about the ride. All I could say was, “That was awesome.” And it was. My ride along with Ryan Newman was an experience that will race through my memory for years to come.  

For information about the 2014 Labor Day NASCAR Trip Sweepstakes Click Here

Meagan Priselac

Meagan Priselac is a Digital Communications Intern at The Coca-Cola Company.