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Longtime Indy Racing League fan runs race car around Atlanta Motor Speedway

Jul 19th, 2012 | 0

By REID TUCKER

All Steve Kervin needed to realize a dream he had most of his life was an empty racetrack, an open-wheel, open-cockpit race car and five minutes to make use them.
     Kervin, 79, of DeFuniak Springs, an Indy Racing League fan since 1953, finally got the chance to make four hot laps around the oval at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He was the oldest participant in a 48-person group who took turns in the driver’s seats of retired IndyCars at the Mario Andretti Racing Experience over the weekend of July 8. Kervin said he fell in love with the open-wheel racing series at an early age and to make even a few laps was the completion of a lifetime goal.    
      “It was a dream come true in every sense,” Kervin said. “I wanted to drive one of these cars my whole life, so this was definitely on my ‘bucket list.’ It was really something else.”
     Alone in the cockpit of his racing machine, Kervin communicated via radio with a spotter/driving instructor who guided him from the time he exited pit lane until he came off the track, having driven the car almost flat-out around the steeply banked quad-oval. The rough race surface at the speedway kept Kervin from exploring the upper end of the 160-mph electronically limited top speed of the car, but he nevertheless managed to pass another driver on the track at speeds approaching 125 mph.    
      Kervin, who has never missed an IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park since the series came to Birmingham, Ala. track in 2009, said he’d gladly make a return trip to Georgia in order to drive one of the race cars again. The problem is that now, having driven faster than he ever before, normal street cars feel incredibly slow, so taking to the track once again may be his only recourse for more speed.
     “[Driving a race car] will make you feel like you’re just creeping along the road,” Kervin said. “It’s like you’re just barely moving, changing from the race car to your own car. It makes it seem like you’re dragging a boat anchor behind you on the highway.”

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