NASCAR, Nee-Ha!
March 9, 2003 9:32 AM   Subscribe

Are you ready for some... NASCAR? "Consider, 4 out of 5 NBA players are African American, 67 percent of NFL players are minorities, and last season, 23 percent of major league baseball players were born in Spanish-speaking countries (an increase of 40 percent from 1989). All of those sports, except football, are experiencing a dip in popularity. Meanwhile, the conspicuously white NASCAR is on an unprecedented run up the profit chart."
posted by owillis (82 comments total)

 
Coincidence.

Baseball - Economic nightmare.
NBA - Can't market themselves to save their lives.
NFL - That was the exception.

NASCAR - Has some smart people in charge.
posted by Witty at 9:36 AM on March 9, 2003


I just have a hard time mindlessly watching people turn left.
posted by Plunge at 9:48 AM on March 9, 2003


Don't people just watch it for the crashes? Otherwise, what's there to see? Or, more to the point, how does it even qualify as a sport?
posted by boltman at 9:56 AM on March 9, 2003


The fan base i know here in GA love NASCAR because of the racing. I mean, sure, they love the crashes, but I find that people who actually watch entire race down here just love NASCAR for the racing. And come one, what does ethnicity have to do with racing? Most these guys start out on dirt tracks typical of the south. Plus, you can't even see the friggin drivers in the car!!!
posted by jmd82 at 10:05 AM on March 9, 2003


Bill Lester, the only active African-American driver competing in one of NASCAR's three racing series, started racing after college and a few years of being a 9-5er. Willy T Ribbs, the first African-American to compete in the Indy 500, started racing after high school.

Jeff Gordon started racing go-carts at age 5. For defending NASCAR champion, Tony Stewart, his go-cart career started at age 7.

Do we expect NASCAR to provide outreach programs? These aren't just middle school sneaker deals we're talking about, or a sport as minimalist as a set of golf clubs. Also, I'm not quite getting the point of your post. NASCAR is succeeding because of how white it is? We then must investigate the great Curling conspiracy as well. NASCAR is certainly trying to separate themselves from the image of a sport with roots in bootlegging moonshine, but until the boy-wonder Tiger Woods race driver comes along, they can merely hope that trotting out Darius Rucker for the pre-race festivites will bring in some new fans.

I fully expected comments along the lines provided by Plunge and boltman. Many sports suffer from being inseparable from their culture. NASCAR however, provides a competitive formula that quite frankly, is just as interesting as formula one. Just turn the sound off on your TV so you don't have to listen to Darrell Waltrip.
posted by machaus at 10:28 AM on March 9, 2003


NASCAR: boobies, booze and burning wrecks. every white boy's wet dream. i wouldn't feel TOO bad about if i were you, owillis.
posted by quonsar at 10:29 AM on March 9, 2003


My dad told me in N. Carolina they broadcast races on the radio. Talk about boring.

I would like to see NASCAR include more diversity. To say there isn't a Hispanic or African American out there is silly. NASCAR's farm system of dirt tracks as jmd talked about probably aren't very inclusive.

I'd also like to see more diversity in nameplates too. Let the Japanese and German manufacturers in.

I like Grand Prix and CART racing more than Nascar since there's turns, braking, downshifting, etc.
posted by birdherder at 10:29 AM on March 9, 2003


boltman - anything you compete against others in with a set of rules is a sport. besides, SportsIllustrated covers it, so it's gotta be a sport.
posted by ruwan at 10:30 AM on March 9, 2003


how does it even qualify as a sport?

Don't know about you, but I don't think I could undergo a 5 second burst of 3-4 G's every 15 second for 3 hours. Not to mention driving 190 mph within 3 inches of other dudes doing the same. Add to that the teamwork of drivers racing with the same car owners, the unpredictability of knowing that the guy in front of you could careen off the road at any second, the strategy of using the pits at the right time, and deciding when to pass and when to hold back.

It's a sport that, by the very physics of making it possible, keep leaders close, but give them an advantage at the same time, keeping it exciting. Action is always happening, even away from the bids for the lead. Commentators always have something to talk about all race long, just like any other sport. And, once you start learning about the drivers, you start to actually care who is doing well and who isn't week to week.

Plus, there's the possiblity of death being no more than 1 second away the whole time.

As for race (as in racial), all it took was half of a black dude to take over golf. I don't see hockey and racing all that far behind. Heh.
posted by askheaves at 10:31 AM on March 9, 2003


oh yeah, lottsa dem homies be cribbin' at the golf course, word up.
posted by quonsar at 10:35 AM on March 9, 2003


I'd also like to see more diversity in nameplates too. Let the Japanese and German manufacturers in.

There is no barrier to entry. Toyota will be fielding an entry in the Craftsman Truck series next year.
posted by machaus at 10:36 AM on March 9, 2003


besides, SportsIllustrated covers it, so it's gotta be a sport.

So this means that wearing swimsuits is also a sport?
posted by beth at 10:40 AM on March 9, 2003


There is a barrier to entry as far as the cars go. According to this article, they have to be manufactured in the US. That rule doesn't apply in the truck series although Toyota Tundras are produced in Princeton, Indiana.
posted by justlisa at 10:52 AM on March 9, 2003


I don't buy that it's a race issue (har, har).

NASCAR is fundamentally different than team sports in a few different ways which are each more relevant than the % or minorities on the field.

First, it's not a team sport. Some people simply prefer sports where you can idolize one person and be certain about how much of their success is attributable to that idol.

Second, it's not tied to regions. It sucks to root for Home team A just because they're your home team. It's nice to have a little more circumspection when choosing your favorite, and being sure that you won't have to readdress your favorite team/side/person when trading season comes around.

Notice that tennis and golf are both undergoing a resurgence in popularity as well.

Maybe we're just being a little less blind in the organizations or figures we idolize.
posted by kfury at 10:54 AM on March 9, 2003


Yes... for the swimsuits.
posted by wobh at 11:00 AM on March 9, 2003


First, it's not a team sport.
so, like, jeff gordon builds, maintains, repairs, trailers, moves, gasses up, changes the tires on (without even leaving the cockpit!) and finances the car himself, eh? incredible. no wonder his wife left him.
posted by quonsar at 11:01 AM on March 9, 2003


quonsar, you do get my point, don't you? that while a 'racing team' has many different roles, only one name goes on the leader board, and it's the name of the driver.
posted by kfury at 11:04 AM on March 9, 2003


Every sport is unique, but I think a part of what we are seeing here is the difference between mature products and those that are in the growth faze. Mature products have stable to declining sales, and growth products, well, they are growing

And if the post's premise is true, we'd see be seeing a huge increase in $$$ spent on hockey advertising. Hockey the sport is growing by leaps and bounds, but NHL revenues are flat or trending down, with a number of franchises in trouble.

The other part of what is going on is decentralized vs. centralized control.

NFL and NASCAR marketing and rules are tightly control by a central authority, and they prosper. The other sports' marketing are control more directlby majority votes of owners and suffer because as a group they generally suck.
posted by Jos Bleau at 11:07 AM on March 9, 2003


anything you compete against others in with a set of rules is a sport.

quake deathmatch = sport ?!?

I dunno. I just can't imagine driving around a track in a suped-up chevy is that much of a test of endurance and athleticism. Horse-racing I can see. But not driving a car (btw, I don't see how they could possibly be experiencing 3-4 G's every five seconds--don't they travel at relatively constant speed?).
posted by boltman at 11:08 AM on March 9, 2003


I'd also like to see more diversity in nameplates too. Let the Japanese and German manufacturers in.

Dodge is a German manufacturer. Owned by Daimler.

Presumably Honda could enter the Accord as that's built in Ohio. I'm not sure they'd want to, though, since the "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" idea might not work for the Accord. Probably the same is true for whatever BMW's or Mercedeses are built in South Carolina.

I like Grand Prix and CART racing more than Nascar since there's turns, braking, downshifting, etc.

There's always the NASCAR races on the road tracks at Watkins Glen and one of the tracks in California (not Laguna Seca though IIRC).

It's a different kind of racing, though. In F1, you have amazing cars and obviously-impressive driving and usually just a procession of a race, though Australia wasn't bad, only a pittance of strategy (1-stop or 2-stop), and after the first corner the cars aren't usually close to each other. In NASCAR, you have consistent passing and racing for position all through the grid, many more dimensions in strategy with more pit stops to play with, dealing with cautions, and partnering on drafting tracks. and driving in close quarters... but except for two races, you're turning left again and again.

My big problem with NASCAR is that the races, like the one on now that I'm not watching at the moment, are too damn long. 400-600 mile races are okay every now and again, but as a weekly affair aren't as good. The first 3/4 of the race is mostly just a chance to wreck out or have your engine blow up or otherwise drop out. Which is why the Winston is a Good Thing, heh heh.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:11 AM on March 9, 2003


you do get my point, don't you? that while a 'racing team' has many different roles, only one name goes on the leader board, and it's the name of the driver.
sure, i get it. the guy strapped to the rocket gets the glory. but it's still very much a team sport.
posted by quonsar at 11:15 AM on March 9, 2003


(btw, I don't see how they could possibly be experiencing 3-4 G's every five seconds--don't they travel at relatively constant speed?).

They turn corners; the g's are sideways (and to a lesser extent vertical from the banking).

More than once I've heard drivers (from various series) compare it to walking a balance beam and doing accounting while three or four of your strongest friends take turns shoving you around as hard as they can. Race drivers are fit, and do weight training, and all that. F1 drivers more than NASCAR, to be sure, but they're all fit and have to be (except maybe drag drivers, I guess, but I don't follow that).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:15 AM on March 9, 2003


ALso, as this Slate piece explains, NASCAR features a form of competition seen nowhere else in major US sports:

"Unlike other sports, which are largely determined by individual athletic ability or team strength, NASCAR requires its competitors to cooperate in order to win."

This opens up lots of gamer theory applications and implications, which have been studied by serious economists.

Sorry if the sport's full of white folks, owillis, but there are very interesting and unique phenomena going on here - if you can look past prejudices and see them.
posted by Jos Bleau at 11:22 AM on March 9, 2003


I just can't imagine driving around a track in a suped-up chevy is that much of a test of endurance and athleticism.

Do a bit of reading about it. I don't know about NASCAR, but Formula One drivers have to be incredibly fit. I strongly suspect that those who think that sports like race car driving (and horseback riding) don't require fitness are those who've never tried these sports, or don't know much about them.
posted by biscotti at 11:24 AM on March 9, 2003


As far as the post actually goes, I don't think that NASCAR is popular because it's lily white; that's just due to its feeder tracks, and probably that black kids are drawn to different (and cheaper) sports. NASCAR is probably popular from savvy management and good relations with the public -- NASCAR drivers haven't been on season-cancelling strikes in the last few years, f'r'instance, and the drivers generally have pretty affable, dude-next-door sorts of personalities.

CART is just as lily-white as NASCAR, but it's been having trouble for years, in large part because it's been poorly managed. Its competitor, the IRL, is also lily-white (but does have one woman in Sarah Fisher), and except for Indy gets crowds in the 20-50K range (ie, even less than CART and much less than NASCAR) IIRC.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:25 AM on March 9, 2003


Look Ma! these here cars turn *right* and *left*.
posted by m@ at 11:31 AM on March 9, 2003


I'm just happy that Jimmy Spencer is doing well today. Nothing quite like an irreverant, boozin' smokin' foul-mouthed fat guy kicking ass against a bunch of 21 year old goatee wearin' pretty boy drivers.

As an aside, what do the fans here think about dropping the fuel cell size to nearly half of previous year's size? (They didn't abandon that yet, did they?)
posted by askheaves at 11:35 AM on March 9, 2003


Quosnar: Sure it's a team sport, from the teammates perspective, but from the fans perspective, it's not seen the same way. I'm not trying to glorify wheelmen over pitcrews, just saying that in the context of a discussion of the differences of basketball, baseball, football, and racing, racing is not seen by the average fan as a team sport, no matter what the reality is.
posted by kfury at 11:38 AM on March 9, 2003


Yeesh - talk about a highly selective use of statistics. Notice you didn't mention, for instance, that Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters have added a great deal of excitement (and revenues) to golf and tennis. Because they're black? No ... because they're so damn good, and compelling as hell to watch.

I mean, seriously, are you really trying to say that the average sports fan chooses to watch - or not watch - sports based on the relative racial compisition of the players? Really? Then why haven't (for instance) NHL revenues been kicking the crap out of the NFL and NBA for years - instead of being such a distant third that it often gets smaller audiences than college football and basketball?
posted by MidasMulligan at 11:39 AM on March 9, 2003


Nascar doesn't require fitness?...I have never noticed an obviously overweight Nascar driver the way I have in both football and baseball. Not to mention that "The King" Richard Petty often spoke of the amount of dehydration that occurs during a 5 to 600 mile race. If I remember right he used to loose something like 10 lbs during a typical race. Thats water weight of course. I sure would like to see some of those pshawing wether or not Nascar is a sport by watching them work hard (including mentally) in the kinds of heat that builds up in one of these cars for those 4 or so hours a race typically (without cautions) takes.

Nascar has been a cherished sport in my family long before the day I was born. In fact I was at the Daytona 500 when I was less then a month old. My parents are leaving for the Darlington Race on Monday in their motorhome. People camp out at these tracks for a week at a time (and I mean hundreds of them) before a race just to be a part of the atmosphere and experience the time trials and smaller races that precede them. What other sport has week long tailgate parties?

What also makes Nascar so exciting compared to other sports is the fact that ALL teams (drivers if you will) compete against one another every week. Yes there are regional favorites. Everyone likes to root for their own home boy. There are also the drivers that everyone loves to hate. Dale Earnhardt Sr was both cheered and booed every week. In that respect its a lot like wrestling.

Not to mention the fact that these drivers are so accessible to their fans. They camp there all week long too and often eat in local restaurants with them. Nascar is a world unto itself. You cannot get the experience of it by watching on TV. Its definitely not at all just about "left turns". Before you knock it I suggest you actually try attending one and see for yourself.
posted by SweetIceT at 11:53 AM on March 9, 2003 [1 favorite]


There is a Japanese driver, Hideo Fukuyama. Sponsored by Kikkoman. He's not very good, but he's also not "lily white".
posted by smackfu at 12:04 PM on March 9, 2003


As an aside, what do the fans here think about dropping the fuel cell size to nearly half of previous year's size? (They didn't abandon that yet, did they?)

That rule is only in effect on restrictor plate tracks such as Talladega and Daytona in order to keep the cars from getting too bunched up. It seemed to be effective in Daytona, but not at Talladega. Since the teams have to build special restrictor plate engines regardless, I'd rather see NASCAR utilize smaller, unrestricted V6 engines at the super-speedways in order to reduce the speeds. Huge packs of 43 cars that can't pass each other doesn't make for exciting racing.
posted by machaus at 12:05 PM on March 9, 2003


Formula One races get between 300 and 400 million viewers for each televised race. Makes NASCAR look like racing at the county fair.

My preference is for World Rally. They're still racing on dirt, it just happened to be in Turkey last week, next week in New Zealand. Plus, for you NASCAR types, it's a chance to watch an American team race against two French teams.

There's also less chance you'll ever buy a $250 Rusty Wallace Miller Lite Leather Jacket.

On preview, wait till HDTV is mainstream Midas, and watch what happens to hockey's TV revenue.
posted by dglynn at 12:05 PM on March 9, 2003


NASCAR drivers are very hostile to those they consider to be 'foreigners' entering their series. The classic 'welcome to NASCAR' move is when a backmarker deliberately takes out a new hotshot driver, this happened to Christian Fittipaldi during his first couple of NASCAR starts. It also happened to Jimmy Vasser while he was running in 4th place at the Daytona Busch race. Note that the definition of 'foreigner' is so broad that it includes drivers from other series like CART and even someone like Jeff Gordon who is from California. There's even some suspicion of Tony Stewart who is fro mIndiana and made his name in open-wheel cars before moving to NASCAR.

The fact that latin-americans consider driving to be a matter of turning in two directions means that those drivers aspire to run in CART and Formula One, and don't even consider NASCAR as a career option, as they would rater race go-karts.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:09 PM on March 9, 2003


The first black driver in Nascar who has been inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame was none other than Wendell Scott

Wendell who started in 500 Nascar races and won his first but unfortunately only big time race 1963 but had to wait a month to get credit due to racial issues at the time. His life story was told in a movie starring Richard Prior in 1977 called "Greased Lightning". It's a great movie about Wendell and a provides an excellent history into how the sport began (yes bootleggers, Wendell was one of them). Highly recommend it.
posted by SweetIceT at 12:10 PM on March 9, 2003


Um Space Coyote....There is definitely more to it then can you turn left or right. Try what Nascar does when they are all using the draft to get around each other...often three abreast. Formula One and Cart require totally different skills flat tracks and inclined tracks not withstanding. That may explain the difference. But I beg to differ that some very famous open wheel drivers have crossed over to Nascar.
posted by SweetIceT at 12:16 PM on March 9, 2003


SweetIceT: I didn't say anytihng about the skill required to drive in a stock car race, don't be paranoid. I simply stated that the sport doesn't appeal to aspiring drivers outside of the South nearly as much.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:19 PM on March 9, 2003


Hello where you been under a rock?
posted by SweetIceT at 12:20 PM on March 9, 2003


I could understand that statement if you said outside of the U.S.....otherwise I don't get you there.
posted by SweetIceT at 12:21 PM on March 9, 2003


kfury: Sure it's a team sport, from the teammates perspective, but from the fans perspective, it's not seen the same way.

I think it's kind of like if Tiger Woods had thirty caddies -- all the pit crew, mechanics, spotters, garage people, et cetera, are all staff. Strategy and racing-related decisions are all ultimately the driver's call, and it's the driver that gets all the glory. (Smart drivers share it with their crew.)

To add another wrinkle to it, drivers themselves are usually employees of a "racing team" (i.e., Penske), which owns the cars. Some drivers do own their own teams, but I believe that's fairly uncommon. (can someone who's a fan elaborate and/or confirm? I don't watch NASCAR myself, but my stepfather's big into it.)

I was quite surprised when I first lived outside the South (went to college in upstate NY) and encountered lots of NASCAR fans...I'd thought it was exclusively a local thing.
posted by Vidiot at 12:24 PM on March 9, 2003


I was referring to drivers moreso than fans, as teh fanbase of NASCAR has certainly spread across the US. But racing as a whole isn't nearly so popular outside of the South and it simply isn't something very many kids take up as a hobby in a place like New York state.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:32 PM on March 9, 2003


While I certainly respect stock car racing as a sport, I have a lot of problems with NASCAR as a sanctioning body. Their continuous quest to level the playing field makes for bland bunched up parades, and it takes away from the goal of the sport, which supposedly is to find out who can put the best car / driver combination on the road.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:35 PM on March 9, 2003


Kurt Busch - Las Vegas
Tony Stewart - Indianapolis
Rusty Wallace - St. Louis
Bodine Bros - New York
Joe Nemechek - Maine
Mario and John - Originally Italy (Open Wheel drivers)
Robbie Gordon - California
Jeff Gordon - Indianapolis
Ryan Neuman - Indianapolis (Open Wheel driver)
Christian Fitipaldi - Brazil (Open Wheel driver)
A. J. Foyt Sr. and Jr (Open Wheel drivers)
Dave Blaine (Open Wheel driver)
posted by SweetIceT at 12:46 PM on March 9, 2003


Oops make that Mario and John Andretti
posted by SweetIceT at 12:47 PM on March 9, 2003


Sorry to disappoint you...
posted by SweetIceT at 12:48 PM on March 9, 2003


The field is made up of what, 40 cars? and three separate series?

You'll have to do more to disappoint me.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:51 PM on March 9, 2003


Jimmy Johnson - California
Ricky Craven - Maine
Matt Kenseth - Wisconsin
Kevin Harvick - California
Johnny Benson - Michigan

need more?
posted by machaus at 1:02 PM on March 9, 2003


Okay Space Cowboy...since you insist its a "Southerners" sport, I will help you out. Here is a link to Dick Trickle's "A Yankee's Guide to Nascar".
posted by SweetIceT at 1:13 PM on March 9, 2003


Not a team sport?

I'd like to see any one of you bashers climb over a wall and change two tires in fifteen seconds.

Also team-wise, as the technology demands increase each year, drivers have less and less input deciding how their cars are set up. Team managers may ask for a subjective opinion from drivers, but they collect the vast bulk of their data from the telemetry of numerous on-board sensors.

As for the overall whiteness, that has much more to do with cultural issues and marketing than any overt attraction of white fans to a white sport. The latter issue probably does exist but I suspect the actual numbers are insignificant.
posted by mischief at 1:23 PM on March 9, 2003


sounds like a good link, SweetIceT, but I'm afraid it's gotten mefi'ed.
posted by Vidiot at 1:28 PM on March 9, 2003


Apparently I may have been mistaken about it being written by Dick Trickle judging from the address but it does seem to work in IE not Mozilla.

http://tricklefan.topcities.com/guide.html

funny site as well as lots of information located in the left nav bar.

From the site:

"If you've heard yourself say...
Who's Richard Petty?
This is for you."
posted by SweetIceT at 1:45 PM on March 9, 2003


There's also less chance you'll ever buy a $250 Rusty Wallace Miller Lite Leather Jacket.

{rusty fan}if i had the 250$ i'd buy one. {rusty fan}
i dunno, seems like the early racers, the best, came from europe....but that was little under a hundred years ago.

Team sport you whatcha, also a family sport need i say more. Hey, there where 3 chevrolet brothers kicking butt in the early days. and look at that PR, what a crowd pleaser and boasting sales...forgettaboutit. Ole Henry was a racer pretty good one too.
posted by clavdivs at 1:49 PM on March 9, 2003


Richard Petty!

(I think this is an audio file of that song -- can't verify since I'm at work.)
posted by Vidiot at 2:06 PM on March 9, 2003


FYI, the stuff about the overwhelming amount of white racers is from the article (nobody reads anymore). Personally, I could care less if mostly white guys love NASCAR. Heck, I'm black and I don't get the NBA nowadays.
posted by owillis at 3:04 PM on March 9, 2003


Nelly buys into a truck team.
posted by claxton6 at 3:45 PM on March 9, 2003


I miss the ESPN crew mentioning Dick Trickle's finishing spot, regardless of whether he crashed out or was 28th, just to be able to say "Dick Trickle." I'm all for mentioning Dick Trickle as often as possible.

Dick Trickle    Dick Trickle
posted by letitrain at 4:00 PM on March 9, 2003


Why is NASCAR so popular? Marketing. It's as simple as that. They've marketed themselves in such a way that the average fan feels they know their favorite drivers personally. The drivers are accessible for interviews everywhere, even while they're on the track. Then they change rules whenever it is needed to make the cars "equal" so your favorite driver always has a chance to win and throw a liberal amount of yellow flags to make the racing close. As for their "racing", well that's a whole different story, and "NASCAR technology" belongs in the same category as jumbo shrimp or military intelligence.
posted by gyc at 4:04 PM on March 9, 2003


"NASCAR technology" belongs in the same category as jumbo shrimp or military intelligence.

You don't think that pretty whiz-bang tech is needed to make a car go 200+ mph?
posted by Vidiot at 4:07 PM on March 9, 2003


You don't think that pretty whiz-bang tech is needed to make a car go 200+ mph?

Nah. I mean, fer Pete's sake, the cars have fuckin' carburetors in them. When was the last time you saw a new car with a carb (Ladas, Trabants, etc excepted)?

At their core, they're very low-tech, 60's/70's-tech cars... but machined to a very high standard and stressed very hard. The stated reason for this is, IIRC, to keep the costs down so that small teams can have a chance at having a chance.

*shrug* F1 does the same thing, but with the goal of keeping costs down to a few million a car instead of a couple hundred grand. Me, I'd love to see F1 ditch all everything except safety standards and the open wheels. Or for them to start a program of more interesting tech development -- tell all the teams now that in 2008, they're going to be running turbine-electric cars with regenerative braking, say.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:32 PM on March 9, 2003


NASCAR as a sanctioning body is doing everything possible to make the otherwise respectable sport of stock car racing into a WWF-style sports/entertainment juggernaut more concerned with pleasing the viewers than being a proper sport. Which is unfortunate for race fans, but it's making teh France family richer than God so they don't care.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:39 PM on March 9, 2003


You don't think that pretty whiz-bang tech is needed to make a car go 200+ mph?

No, not really. When was the last time any car manufacturer produced a car using a carburetor instead of a fuel-injected engine? And their suspension is right out of a 60's-era pickup truck.
posted by gyc at 4:44 PM on March 9, 2003


I agree w/ gyc. The problem I have w/ car racing is the utter waste of petroleum & its sister products. Not to mention spewing it all back out on good ol' mother nature. I'd rather see them pedal their way.
posted by yoga at 5:04 PM on March 9, 2003


The only thing more ignorant than a redneck hick motorhead are the elitist jerks who think that they're so much superior. Don't some of you ever get tired of resorting to the same old dumbass stereotypes.
posted by HTuttle at 5:55 PM on March 9, 2003


I've crossed between the poles on this one - been a motorhead and built dozens of engines from the bottom up and yet.......NASCAR bores the piss out of me. I'd rather watch grass grow. And the symbolism - what I take to be auto worship, of a sort, makes me a little nauseous. BUT.......I certainly don't think it's easy to be a top NASCAR driver, and it sure isn't very safe.

When you get right down to it, I don't view it all that differently from any mass spectator sport. I find sports like basketball and soccer....or football (American style) far more interesting and aesthetically appealing but - whatever juices yer carbs.

However, I'd rather be doing than watching. Little quirk of mine, that.
posted by troutfishing at 6:31 PM on March 9, 2003


Not to mention the greenhouse gasses.
posted by troutfishing at 6:32 PM on March 9, 2003


I worked for NASCAR and can tell you they are activily trying to change the preception of the sport. They did have a Japanese driver this year (Hideo Fukuyama)and some up and coming black drivers are making their way to NASCAR Winston Cup Series (Bill Lester). The only color NASCAR cares about is GREEN.
posted by Macboy at 7:08 PM on March 9, 2003


SweetIceT, Regarding: Parents off to Darlington

You don't think they'd want to adopt another daughter for a week, do ya? I'll even bring the baby...everyone loves babies. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 8:23 PM on March 9, 2003


You don't think that pretty whiz-bang tech is needed to make a car go 200+ mph?
Careful, your ignorance of freshman physics (among other topics) is showing.
posted by mischief at 8:28 PM on March 9, 2003


among other topics? Care to enumerate? (I'll cheerfully concede only a very basic knowledge of physics in general and of NASCAR specifically....I was assuming something that is driven as fast and as hard as a stock car must be finely engineered and loaded with composites and such.)
posted by Vidiot at 8:56 PM on March 9, 2003


dejah420, don't know if they would adopt you but even if they did I know they would expect you to buy your own tickets.....At least they'd expect me to ;-) which is why I am not going.

Also I would like to point out, do any of you realize some of the safety (and other) features available to you today on your personal cars are directly related to those involved in Nascar? Aerodynamics maybe?
posted by SweetIceT at 10:36 PM on March 9, 2003


I was assuming something that is driven as fast and as hard as a stock car must be finely engineered and loaded with composites and such

It helps a lot that the engines, etc, only need to last the length of the race. An engine that burns itself out and goes to bits and pieces in 7 hours is fine and dandy.

In NASCAR, there's not much in the way of composites; just tube steel, sheet steel, and a big motor. They're not finely engineered in the sense of being designed to a fine point and not having an ounce they don't need, etc, but they're very finely machined and assembled since they need to get everything they possibly can out of the specs they're allowed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:45 PM on March 9, 2003


Also I would like to point out, do any of you realize some of the safety (and other) features available to you today on your personal cars are directly related to those involved in Nascar? Aerodynamics maybe?

You must be joking. Independent rear suspension? nope. Traction control? nope. Active suspension? nope. Semi-automatic gearboxes? nope. High-reving overhead cam engines? nope. Fuel injection? nope. Anti-lock braking? nope. Aerodynamics? I don't think so. They're not even close to being the same shape as the production models.
posted by gyc at 11:10 PM on March 9, 2003


thanks for the info, ROU. Good to know.
posted by Vidiot at 11:11 PM on March 9, 2003


I know this article was more about the SPECTATOR side of things, but I think that the PARTICIPANT side is just as interesting. There, race is only semi-related. It has more to do with INCOME (which of course, could be further expanded to race if you so please) than anything else.

You need hundreds of thousands of dollars to race a race car.
You need $400 to buy a set of golf clubs, and $50-$100 to play on a course.
You need $800 ($3000 if you're a goalie) to buy enough gear to play hockey, and thousands a season to play.
Only the "privelaged" play these sports.

You need $5-15 to buy a basketball, football, or bat/ball. Or you just borrow your buddy's.

MONEY is the difference, not race.
posted by afx114 at 11:27 PM on March 9, 2003


afx114 there are community dirt tracks among others where those who want to participate in on the amateur level, can purchase a relatively cheap vehicle or build one and then spend approximately 100 dollars a week to compete in. There are also the "Run What You Brung" races where your allowed to race even the car you drive back and forth to work in if you want. My brother in law has been involved since high school over 20 yrs. and he is far far from privileged.
posted by SweetIceT at 11:37 PM on March 9, 2003


There are so many misconceptions it just boggles the mind.
posted by SweetIceT at 11:38 PM on March 9, 2003


and gyc I think if I am not mistaken....seat belts would qualify.
posted by SweetIceT at 11:39 PM on March 9, 2003


actually gyc, I didnt mean specifically the latest whiz bang technologies that we all use today. I do believe I am not mistaken though in saying that stock car racing has at one time or another had some direct influence on the cars that we drive today that is historically speaking. Sorry I didnt make myself more clear.
posted by SweetIceT at 11:47 PM on March 9, 2003


The NASCAR phenomenon baffles me; the sport is boring beyond belief. Hmm... can't remember the URL of the site with autopsy photos of expired drivers, the only time I recall NASCAR piquing my interest. However, I agree that the WRC kicks butt.
posted by rotifer at 11:27 AM on March 10, 2003


I do believe I am not mistaken though in saying that stock car racing has at one time or another had some direct influence on the cars that we drive today that is historically speaking. Sorry I didnt make myself more clear.

I dunno. I mean the cars we drive today bear little relation to stock cars of yesterday and even less to stock cars today. I mean I'm sure there are somethings that might have transferred over but I'm merely doubting that it has affected how we drive our cars in any substantial way.
posted by gyc at 1:06 PM on March 10, 2003


No one has mentioned the sponsorships angle regarding the profitability of Nascar. I'd hate to see other sports go in this direction, but think how much more money the NBA could be making with big Nike or Sprite logos on the players uniforms. Nascar sells every inch of space to any sponsor willing to buy. They would love to have some ethnic drivers in there to diversify the product mix.

Also I think the Rap trend of driving ATVs and motorcycles will start to produce some competitive drivers. Ever seen a Ruff Ryders video? If you haven't there are lots of impressionable youth who have. If they don't kill themselves flipping it over, they will acquire the skills the good old boys got on the go-kart tracks.
posted by monkeyman at 1:31 PM on March 10, 2003


No one has mentioned the sponsorships angle regarding the profitability of Nascar. I'd hate to see other sports go in this direction, but think how much more money the NBA could be making with big Nike or Sprite logos on the players uniforms

If you ever watch an European pro-league basketball game, you'd see that their uniforms and court are already plastered with sponsorship logos. I'd give it another 5-10 years before the same is true of the NBA.
posted by gyc at 3:51 PM on March 10, 2003


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