I was up before the sun, and after 261 miles of driving, I finally arrived. Greenville had a Fourth of July–sized crowd as daybreak cast its shadow on the serpentine curves of the racetrack at the BMW Performance Center Driving School. Drivers and instructors were getting ready for what was anticipated to be a “bucket list” experience.
“Acceleration! Braking! Cornering!” was the mantra as the first set of drivers, both beginners and experts, rolled their tires onto the wet skid pad. Gripping the thickly padded M steering wheels, determined to post the best time and take home bragging rights, they were in for a dose of adrenaline. As counterintuitive as it might seem, however, the most exciting time at the racetrack happened while everyone was standing perfectly still.
The total solar eclipse was carving its path across the United States. The smell of burnt rubber dissipated as drivers and instructors gathered around the figure eights on the wet skid pad, counting the seconds until totality.
The atmosphere turned dark, temperatures dropped, and planets were visible. Totality. The sky changed its hue and the Earth flexed its muscles, showing its witnesses who was really in charge. The BMW Performance Center Driving School wasn’t the only one mixing power with beauty that day. I ended up with a grin that will last a lifetime.