To start, I have a confession to make. I test drive cars with no intention of buying them. If it’s a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon and I have nothing better to do, I will haul myself up to a car dealership part of town (yep, you know the areas I’m talking about, where you can hit up six dealerships on the same road) and I will happily park my 2005 Ford Taurus (it’s the ugliest shade of green) and locate a salesperson.
I’ve driven BMW’s, Jeeps, Nissans, Honda Pilots (my secret first choice for when I’m a full-fledged soccer mom), and a variety of Cadillacs (always with the windows rolled down and rap music blasting). Yet for six years now, I’ve driven the very same Ford Taurus and have no immediate intentions of selling my “whip” and to much chagrin, I’m sure, from the many salespersons I’ve encountered on my Sunday drives.
My confession having been made, when I heard that Chip Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon and Jamie McMurray were about to swap rides for the day at Barber Motorsports Park I thought, wow, I get it. (Not sure what I’m talking about, read more on the swap here and check out video of the swap here.)
What do I get? It’s that secret thrill of sliding into the driver’s seat of a car that isn’t yours and attempting to get comfortable in an awkward and different environment. How do the brakes feel? Can I go from zero to sixty (well, okay, in their case a bit faster) in under a minute? How do I shift? Do I need to adjust the mirrors?
These questions and more run through your mind when testing a different car but so does the important question, “Is this the kind of car I can see myself in for years to come.” For Dixon and McMurray, it’s no different. The question, which they may joke about after getting out of the cars, still surfaces in a far corner of their mind. In racing, it does happen. Drivers go from open-wheel racing to stock cars and back again. In even some cases, such as Danica Patrick, both.
Perhaps the drivers emerged the same way I did when I test drove a Subaru. It was great, handled well but I could not picture myself taking on the lifestyle decision that a Subaru driver must make. It’s a stigma. One that says I kayak on the weekends and always have a bag of granola and my Five Finger running shoes in the trunk. Which, scary enough is true, but was I willing to let the world know? I stuck with my Taurus that day and have yet to look back. However, there’s always that thought in my mind saying someday…. someday I’ll be ready for a change.