The NASCAR Media Tour rolled to Windshear, Inc., across a field from the airport in Concord, Tuesday morning.
Windshear is the only commercially available full-scale, single-belt, rolling road wind tunnel in the world. That's what the press release says, and I believe it.
Truth is, I couldn't make sense of it. Several employees, all of them helpful, attempted to explain it. One, the second guy, had windblown hair, which gave him more credibility than the other guys I talked to.
A car, a blue and white Chevrolet Car of Tomorrow, was attached to what looked like a giant treadmill. A pole was attached to the front and back tire on the left side and to the front tire on the right side.
The treadmill can go up to 180 mph, and needs only 60 seconds to get there. But for us the car was moving only five meters a second, which I'm told is 20 mph.
I asked if I could get on the treadmill with the car. I think I can run 21 mph. Man, would I have talked trash to that car if I had? COT, Car of Tomorrow, meet ROY, the Runner of Yesterday, ROY. What you got? Thought so. I'll wait for you.
Nobody would let me race the Chevrolet, however. I didn't mind since I would prefer to race a Toyota.
The treadmill is only one millimeter thick. You are allowed to walk on it or run on it only in bare feet because shoes will rip the thing.
The coolest part of the facility is a giant fan, which blows air at the car. The fan is 22 feet in diameter and has carbon fiber blades. I am a proponent of carbon fiber blades.
When you walk inside the tunnel, there's what looks like an upside down bowling pin, white and red, jammed into the carbon fiber blades. The bowling pin is where the motor is and enables the fan to generate 5,000 horsepower.
The fan was great, as was the bowling pin and treadmill. Who has been to one of these things before? It was all so unpredictable.
More predictable, however, was what a guy with thick hair yelled to the bald guy as we were leaving.
"It messed up your hair," he said.
You had to be there.