NASCAR roars into town

Published 1:52 am Thursday, May 19, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - For area residents who have always wondered what it would be like to drive a race car on a NEXTEL Cup track at speeds close to 200 miles per hour, they will have their chance on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to do just that in downtown Niles when the AAA Michigan and Niles Main Street program host the "Niles Celebrates NASCAR."
This year AAA Auto Club Group, which includes AAA Michigan is sponsoring the #99 car of Carl Edwards in the NEXTEL Cup series. As part of this motorsports sponsorship, The Auto Club Group is bringing a full-size #99 car simulator to areas served by AAA offices so members and the general public can have a virtual experience of high speed auto racing.
During this event Second and Third streets will be closed between Main and Sycamore. Those wishing to drive the simulator will sign up at the AAA exhibit and take their turn on a first-come-first-served basis.
Participants, driving in pairs will try to navigate around a track projected on the windshield screen. It is a virtual replica of the course run at the famous Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
Each participant's speed will be timed, and the driver will receive a printed certificate with the speed recorded. The winning speed from each pair will be entered into a computer database on the AAA website.
At the end of the NEXTEL Cup Series in November, all the scores in the database from the eight states The Auto Club Group serves will be compared. The 10 participants with the best speeds will receive a 1/24-scale die cast model of the #99 Carl Edwards car that is autographed.
G &G Auto Services is bringing a tent with NASCAR &Ryan Newman Memorabilia along with two local driver race cars," said Lisa Croteau of the Niles Main Street program.
Croteau added that the Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club sponsoring a Raffle with proceeds to benefit Main Street program- chance at a 3-lap ride around at the NASCAR track of your choice.