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Yesterday a Car Went Airborne
April 27, 2009 10:47 AM   Subscribe

During the last lap of the NASCAR race at Talladega Super Speedway the car in the lead got tapped by the second place car and went airborne and smashed into the catch fence. The frightening wreck resulted in injuries to seven fans. NASCAR has been using the dreaded restrictor plate (a plate that fits over the carburetor and restricts the flow of gasoline and slows the cars down) since 1987 after Bobby Allison had a similar wreck at the same track. NASCAR officials still give lip service to their commitment to safety but it's well known that NASCAR doesn't really do anything until someone dies in a wreck. David Poole, who writes for the Charlotte Observer is one of the few members of the media calling NASCAR out on this.
posted by zzazazz (133 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
restricts the flow of gasoline air
posted by ryanrs at 10:51 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um, isn't the whole point of going to NASCAR races to see spectacular wrecks?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:52 AM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


It must have been odd to be in the section where there were injuries when the crowd cheered both the guy who ran across the finish line and the winner doing the teenager victory burnout.

But, I'm sure someone will come along and make a darwin/eugenics joke about NASCAR fans...
posted by Burhanistan at 10:53 AM on April 27, 2009


Calling out NASCAR for what? Letting race cars drive fast, and then letting people watch?
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 10:56 AM on April 27, 2009


We should sterilize all them rednecks and restrict them from any open source Mac OSX development software.
posted by cloeburner at 10:56 AM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


From the third link:
His car flipped at over 15 feet into the crowd’s protective fence, and neither he, nor anyone in the crowd sustained no serious injuries.
Wow. That is some fine writing.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:57 AM on April 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


M.C. Lo-Carb!: "Um, isn't the whole point of going to NASCAR races to see spectacular wrecks?"

Mr. Poole confirms that... although he doesn't seem to realize it.

Instead of talking about how "cool" Sunday's race was with all of its wrecks and the near disaster that happened on the final lap, fans ought to be screaming their demands that NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation do something to make this race track safe to race on.

posted by Joe Beese at 10:59 AM on April 27, 2009


I think the most amazing photo from that frankly terrifying slideshow in your first link is this one.

Dude walked away from something like this? That shows, if nothing else, that NASCAR vehicles must be some of the safest in the world, restrictor plate or no.
posted by dersins at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"...redneck jackoffs driving 500 miles in a circle..." - george carlin
posted by ChickenringNYC at 11:02 AM on April 27, 2009


Having grown up in Alabama, I know a man who's 15 minutes of fame, and proudest moment was that he was knocked unconcious by a piece of Bobby Allison's tire at that wreck. If you ask "Hambone" about it, he'll gladly show you the bald spot under his comb-over where the metal plate is.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:02 AM on April 27, 2009


"That's racin!"
posted by sfts2 at 11:07 AM on April 27, 2009


What's the context for the David Poole article? He seems to be arguing against restrictor plates and against this specific race track and style of racing. What makes Talladega different from other NASCAR tracks?
posted by ryanrs at 11:09 AM on April 27, 2009


NASCAR has been using the dreaded restrictor plate (a plate that fits over the carburetor and restricts the flow of gasoline and slows the cars down)...

This is like those Olympic regs that put a low ceiling over the high jump so the competitors don't jump so high.
posted by DU at 11:10 AM on April 27, 2009


I've never really watched NASCAR but I'm a Formula 1 fan and the two sports always get compared. I think most comparisons are flawed but I'm pretty sure the one dividing line between the two sports is that F1 does everything it can to ensure safety and NASCAR doesn't. From conversations that I've had with NASCAR fans, that's what the sport is all about.
posted by ob at 11:12 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


zzazazz: "..but it's well known that NASCAR doesn't really do anything until someone dies in a wreck."

Hyperbole much? In the previous sentence you mention Bobby Allison's crash. But no one died in that, and NASCAR introduced the restrictor plate because of it. (IMHO, probably one of three most significant safety-related changes ever: the other two are the SAFER barrier and the Car of Tomorrow Now.)
posted by Plutor at 11:12 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


> isn't the whole point of going to NASCAR races to see spectacular wrecks?


The fans got their money's worth in this one, and they only had to wait one lap!
posted by Burhanistan at 11:12 AM on April 27, 2009


ob: "F1 does everything it can to ensure safety and NASCAR doesn't. From conversations that I've had with NASCAR fans, that's what the sport is all about."

Untrue. NASCAR does a lot to ensure safety. They just don't want to ensure boring races at the same time. Crashes are fine, as long as everyone walks away from them.
posted by Plutor at 11:14 AM on April 27, 2009


So, is it more or less dangerous than horse-riding as a hobby?
posted by alasdair at 11:15 AM on April 27, 2009


My family really loves NASCAR, and I've absorbed a lot of the information regarding the whole sport.

People who say that NASCAR is just about "spectacular wrecks" are simplifying to the point of absurdity. The reality is that most wrecks are boring. A guy sideswipes the wall and everyone spends 10 minutes going around the track at 40 mph. Also, as a thinking, feeling human being, I'd never wish that someone else would be in a wreck for my amusement, nor would any of my family. Yes, there are people who love watching wrecks, but they're the scum of the earth anyhow.

So why bother watching the sport? Well, the cars do go really fast, and there is some danger, though nothing like the danger from just driving around on city streets. The danger is just that if you do something wrong, you might have to total the car and lose the race. And watching someone perfectly execute turns, a couple hundred times in a row, inspires not a little awe at the mastery of the mechanics of their vehicle.

The point is, if you love the sport, there are lots of things to be interested in that are not crashes. Suspense about fuel, tires, rivalries, etc. can keep you going for the hours it takes for a race to go down. Part of the thrill my dad gets from going to the track is listening to the crew/driver interaction on the radio, without the TV's editing/focus.

Also, zzazazz: making your point by offhandedly using a video of a person's death is just crude and I'm a little disgusted.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:15 AM on April 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wikipedia discusses the unique style of racing at Talladega.
posted by ryanrs at 11:16 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Untrue. NASCAR does a lot to ensure safety.

The claim was that they don't do everything, not that they do nothing.
posted by DU at 11:20 AM on April 27, 2009



Dude walked away from something like this? That shows, if nothing else, that NASCAR vehicles must be some of the safest in the world, restrictor plate or no.


Yes, fans getting hurt is unfortunate, but with the massive physical damage that can be done to the cars without giving the driver so much as a scratch, the drivers themselves are relatively safe these days. A lot of the safety improvements came from Formula One technology, which has had comparatively worse problems with driver safety. I wish the car I drive every day could survive flipping end over end and slamming into a concrete barrier at 200 MPH. Then again I'd probably look pretty silly wearing a 5-point harness and helmet driving around all the time.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:21 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The whole idea of the restrictor plate is to slow down the cars at super fast tracks like Talledega. Even so they can go full throttle, 201 MPH, without braking, into the corners. Some people say that the restrictor plates don't allow the better drivers to make any separation from the other drivers, because the throttle is less responsive, and thus you typically see The Big One, where 1/2 the field can get caught up in a massive wreck. Usually caused by one driver trying to bump-pass another and spinning him out. This particular wreck was most likely due to the track rule of no driving below the inner line. Other tracks allow the driver to dib below the inner line, just not pass.
posted by Gungho at 11:22 AM on April 27, 2009


If you are at a NASCAR event and are injured by a flying vehicle, I think you are the type of person who identifies the weekend a great success.
posted by fusinski at 11:24 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


For those asking for a short summary of what makes Talladega different than most other NASCAR events it is this: They don't have to slow down, use the breaks, or even let off the throttle for the turns. Most other racetracks are built so that this is not possible. At Talladega, they drop the green flag and the drivers put the pedal to the floor until someone screws up.
posted by Liver at 11:36 AM on April 27, 2009


NASCAR is safe. Safer than commuting from Islip to Manhattan on the LIE safe. Making it any safer would kill it completely and there's no way the powers that be are going to let that happen.

Think about it. They go for 500 miles in a circle, more or less. The cars are designed to minimize differences in such a way that no one team or manufacturer can become dominant. Watch a race on TV and there's as much (or more) emphasis on what goes on in the pits as on the track. That's not a good sign. And I'm sure that NASCAR is looking into fueling and tire changing robots to eliminate even that little bit of accidental individuality.

Crashes and injuries are the only thing separating NASCAR from watching 1/24 scale slot cars.
posted by tommasz at 11:37 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the most amazing photo from that frankly terrifying slideshow in your first link is this one.

Dude walked away from something like this? That shows, if nothing else, that NASCAR vehicles must be some of the safest in the world, restrictor plate or no.
posted by dersins at 2:00 PM on April 27 [+] [!]


Not only did he walk away, but the photo you posted is of him crossing the finish line on foot! You can see it in this video of the incident. As soon as the car slides to a stop, he's climbing out the window and pulling the wires off his helmet. I thought he was running away because the car was on fire, but no, he's just gonna finish that damn race!
posted by Who_Am_I at 11:38 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow. I have a friend who was actually at the race yesterday. Gotta give her a call.
posted by ColdChef at 11:39 AM on April 27, 2009


And watching someone perfectly execute turns, a couple hundred times in a row, inspires not a little awe at the mastery of the mechanics of their vehicle.

People tune into sports for the outlier events. The monster jam, the 40-yard run, the birdie. A soccer game where no one scores can still be awesome, but it's because we're excited about seeing a goal, not because we like seeing those guys pass the ball over and over.
posted by bpm140 at 11:42 AM on April 27, 2009


People tune into sports for the outlier events. The monster jam, the 40-yard run, the birdie. A soccer game where no one scores can still be awesome, but it's because we're excited about seeing a goal, not because we like seeing those guys pass the ball over and over.

You have a cite for that? I mean, it would appear you're presenting a psychological fact about people in general, and I was just curious about where it came from.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2009


> Crashes and injuries are the only thing separating NASCAR from watching 1/24 scale slot cars.

My unscientific method of ranking the boredom level of individual televised sports is noting how quickly they make my dad (who professes to enjoy all of the sports listed below) fall asleep. The top 5 would be:

5. American football
4. Golf
3. Baseball
2. Curling
1. NASCAR
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:46 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


isn't the whole point of going to NASCAR races to see spectacular wrecks?

Isn't the whole point of going to football games seeing a bunch of guys tackling each other? No? Okay.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:49 AM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


There seem to be many defenders of NASCAR here. My intention is not to argue that one type of racing is better than any other. Still the question remains, if they are truly interested in safety why doesn't the governing body set penalties for contact between cars? I mean if you watch NASCAR races for the reasons listed above, then the sport should be no less interesting if there were no contact.

One of the biggest turn-offs, for me, is that many racers in NASCAR just seem dirty. Dirtiness sees to be one of the values of many spectators (I mean, "The Intimidator"...seriously?). Now I am sure that some racers make a name for themselves by explicitly going to the other direction in terms of sportsmanship, but that that kind of rules-bending value system is not squelched by NASCAR is telling.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 11:49 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you are at a NASCAR event and are injured by a flying vehicle, I think you are the type of person who identifies the weekend a great success.

You're goddamn right! I'm not anywhere near a NASCAR fan, but if I got injured at an event, you think that story wouldn't go into my top 5 rotation? Surviving that relatively unscathed is a fantastic tale.
posted by graventy at 11:53 AM on April 27, 2009


TypographicalError The danger is just that if you do something wrong, you might have to total the car and lose the race. And watching someone perfectly execute turns, a couple hundred times in a row, inspires not a little awe at the mastery of the mechanics of their vehicle.

I'm not arguing with you. I have no reason to believe that for you, personally, the enjoyment is exactly what you say it is. But whenever I hear this argument made, I feel that the obvious reply is what about Formula One, with more turns-per-lap, more complicated turns, more significant consequences for poor driving, and better drivers? If it isn't about watching Matchbox cars slam into each other, then why are you not watching a form of auto racing that requires, you know, skill?
posted by paisley henosis at 11:53 AM on April 27, 2009


As a sidenote, there are cameras EVERYWHERE in NASCAR. Man, we got to see that crash from 15 or so different angles. Why don't we have helmet cams on football players, or ball cams inside the baseball, or net cams in tennis?
posted by graventy at 11:54 AM on April 27, 2009


PS- curling is fascinating. The only competition aside from World's Strongest Man and sumo wrestling where I can completely lose track of time in front of the set.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:55 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jacoby Ellsbury STOLE HOME last night.

Nobody got hurt.
posted by yhbc at 11:59 AM on April 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


This is nothing compared to the violence of the imaginary sport of Motorball. The fans of Armblessed stick their hands through the catch fence in hopes that their hero will slice them off and place them atop the horns of his helmet. Peshkavus takes a bloody shortcut through the stands and is officially unpunished (although he is killed by another racer later on)
posted by mkb at 12:06 PM on April 27, 2009


burnmp3s : Then again I'd probably look pretty silly wearing a 5-point harness and helmet driving around all the time.

Maybe, but think of it this way, if anyone happened to look over during their morning commute, and saw you in a rusty Ford Escort with a five point and a full face helmet coming up on them fast, they might hang up their phone and get the fuck out of your way.

That's the kind of thing that makes people all at once, 1.) want to know what the hell is going on, and 2.) Be somewhere else. Preferably far away. Fast.
posted by quin at 12:11 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


> if anyone happened to look over during their morning commute, and saw you in a rusty Ford Escort with a five point and a full face helmet coming up on them fast, they might hang up their phone and get the fuck out of your way.

"Hey! It's The Stig! Where's my cellphone? I gotta take a picture!"
posted by ardgedee at 12:22 PM on April 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yeah, like the fans are just there to watch some guys operate machinery. As if.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:26 PM on April 27, 2009


"Still the question remains, if they are truly interested in safety why doesn't the governing body set penalties for contact between cars?"

That, in a nutshell, is what caused me to lost interest in NASCAR.

As seen in yesterday's race, what should have been the second-place car is ruled the "winner" because he managed to get his front bumper to the first-place car's rear bumper and spin him out, instead of actually, y'know, passing him.

Start disqualifying drivers for wrecking the cars ahead of them instead of passing them, and you might get to see some actual racing for the checkered flag.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:27 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


My son's been in love with the movie Cars lately and this incident looked more than a little like the end of the last race. Though I gather from the commentary that the wrecked driver actually made the error that sent him airborne? Is that right?
posted by the christopher hundreds at 12:29 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


That car flew headlong, unimpeded, at speed into the catch fence, and the fence did not break. That to me is pretty amazing. I'll let others debate where that sits on the safety scale.
posted by forforf at 12:29 PM on April 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Jacoby Ellsbury STOLE HOME last night.

Nobody got hurt.


I don't know, I think Pettitte and Posada's feelings might have been hurt.
posted by Sailormom at 12:30 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why isn't there a sport yet that uses full size, remote control cars, specifically designed to produce impressive crashes?
posted by lucidium at 12:30 PM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


> Why isn't there a sport yet that uses full size, remote control cars, specifically designed to produce impressive crashes?

That would take all the suspense and gut-wrench that people seem to enjoy, wouldn't it? Unless you're some kind of car anthropomorphizer and then it would just be open cruelty.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:34 PM on April 27, 2009


Maybe the remote control cars could have backstories and fake rivalries and stuff. You know, bring in some of the WWF-style bullshit soap opera.
posted by ryanrs at 12:40 PM on April 27, 2009


"America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed." -Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936
posted by gman at 12:43 PM on April 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


"Nobody got hurt."

Yeah, but fouls have a tendency to fly up in the stands. Getting hit on the head with a baseball is not something to welcome.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:44 PM on April 27, 2009


mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey: "As seen in yesterday's race, what should have been the second-place car is ruled the "winner" because he managed to get his front bumper to the first-place car's rear bumper and spin him out, instead of actually, y'know, passing him."

The leader (Edwards) was going slower than Keselowski, and he knew it. And he was told by his spotter where Keselowski was. So he moved low to block him. Edwards expected to get bumped, but he also expected to be able to control the car for the last quarter-mile. Note that when he gets out of the car, he doesn't look angry at all that he just went from first place to 24th. (That's a difference of about $170,000 in prize money, not to mention a totalled car.) It's because he knew he was making a dangerous move (one that I bet would be black-flagged on any other lap) and paid the price for it: "I saw him go high. I went high. He goes low right here. I didn't realize he had got that far, so I went low to block, and I didn't realize he was already there." (source)
posted by Plutor at 12:53 PM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


"F1 does everything it can to ensure safety and NASCAR doesn't. From conversations that I've had with NASCAR fans, that's what the sport is all about."

Untrue. NASCAR is not a sport.
posted by Ratio at 12:57 PM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


That would take all the suspense and gut-wrench that people seem to enjoy, wouldn't it? Unless you're some kind of car anthropomorphizer and then it would just be open cruelty.

That's absurd. People would love seeing robots drive fast and crash into eachother. Hell, people like Figure 8 racing and demolition derbies. I'm sure people would still like seeing giant, high speed chucks of metal smash into each other, even if there wasn't a person involved.
posted by delmoi at 12:58 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Why isn't there a sport yet that uses full size, remote control cars, specifically designed to produce impressive crashes?

That would take all the suspense and gut-wrench that people seem to enjoy, wouldn't it? Unless you're some kind of car anthropomorphizer and then it would just be open cruelty.


They could put a politician in each car as a captive passenger, like in Death Proof.
posted by The World Famous at 1:05 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Suspense about fuel, tires...

Really? Suspense about fuel and tires?
posted by xmutex at 1:09 PM on April 27, 2009


Really? Suspense about fuel and tires?

Actually, yes. Fresh/not fresh tires, fuel mix (which I believe can be controlled by the drivers, or is that only Formula Uno?).. there are variables and cost/benefit analysis that drivers and pit crews have to worry about throughout the course of a race.

This is coming from someone who doesn't think motorsports are "sports" per se, but can enjoy them for what they are. And yes, given the choice, I would watch open-wheel racing over NASCAR any day, but NASCAR scratches a certain itch too.
posted by indiebass at 1:14 PM on April 27, 2009


NASCAR is safe. Safer than commuting from Islip to Manhattan on the LIE safe.

You're asserting the safety of NASCAR by comparing it favorably to one of the most dangerous public roads in the country? Damned by faint praise, indeed.

From what I've seen and read (and admittedly I don't follow auto racing too closely beyond the Greatest Spectacle in Racing), it seems to me that while NASCAR has made some significant strides in safety, they're constantly about 5-10 years behind the various open-wheel series in safety improvements.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:15 PM on April 27, 2009


I had no idea you could actually finish a race without your car.
posted by bowline at 1:20 PM on April 27, 2009


Bowline has never seen Talladega Nights
posted by indiebass at 1:23 PM on April 27, 2009


> Untrue. NASCAR is not a sport.

I'm pretty sure that's some tongue-in-cheek mild trolling, and I certainly don't have much respect for NASCAR, but it does require athletic prowess, coordination, and stamina. Granted, drivers aren't pole vaulters or something, but driving those cars for 500 miles against other drivers is a very challenging physical/mental activity.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:24 PM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


"fouls have a tendency to fly up in the stands. Getting hit on the head with a baseball is not something to welcome"

The NHL has got you covered there. Shouldn't be too long before the stands at baseball parks are netted in such that a ball can't possibly reach the fans.
posted by Mitheral at 1:24 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Boy, that's a heck of a way to remember J.G. Ballard. Exquisite car crash exploding in the faces of the assembled American audience and Bobby feeling his secret erection.
posted by Nelson at 1:27 PM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Untrue. NASCAR is not a sport.

why isn't it a sport? What constitutes a sport anyway? Or do you just know a sport when you see one?
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:31 PM on April 27, 2009


It's Nascar. Not NASCAR.

Compared to F1, the series is not a sport. Nascar is the "professional wrestling" of motor sport.
posted by Zambrano at 1:33 PM on April 27, 2009


Zambrano: NASCAR stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. it's an Acronym. It is often capitalised, though not always.
posted by indiebass at 1:37 PM on April 27, 2009


I like that race league where there are a bunch of heavily-armed monkeys riding on tigers. That shit is off the hook.
posted by Mister_A at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


why isn't it a sport? What constitutes a sport anyway? Or do you just know a sport when you see one?

IMHO, if you can't drive your race car in the rain, then it isn't a sport. F1 has been great so far this season thanks to the rainy weather which completely messes with any race strategy.
posted by Paid In Full at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2009


If you trot out F1, then NASCAR isn't really even worth mentioning. F1 (and let's give Indy cars a pass here also) actually influences production car design, races on real city streets, sounds amazingly cool compared to the NASCAR lawnmowers, and generally make no pretense about being "stock" cars. Also, exhibit A versus exhibit B.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:44 PM on April 27, 2009


Dear Lord baby Jesus, we thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Dominos, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell. I just want to take time to say thank you for my family. My two sons, Walker, and Texas Ranger, or TR as we call him. And of course my red hot smokin' wife Carley, who is a stone cold fox.
posted by GuyZero at 1:45 PM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that's some tongue-in-cheek mild trolling

Yes, yes it is.
posted by Ratio at 1:46 PM on April 27, 2009


NASCAR has been using the dreaded restrictor plate (a plate that fits over the carburetor and restricts the flow of gasoline and slows the cars down) since 1987

This is my personal problem with NASCAR -- their insistence on fuel-delivery and valve-actuation methods that have been FUCKING OBSOLETE FOR 30 YEARS. Even Harley Davidson is barely this stupid anymore.
posted by 7segment at 1:48 PM on April 27, 2009


I prefer F1 myself, but those NASCAR boys really can drive.
posted by Mister_A at 1:49 PM on April 27, 2009


Plutor

The situation you are describing may be an accurate way of seeing the contact, but it still is unsportsmanlike. Again, I don't want to say that one type of racing is better than another. However, in 1994 Michael Schumacher crashed into Damon Hill under very conspicuous circumstances (with Hill out of the race, Schumacher was able to win the Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship despite his own car being eliminated from that race as well). This was a bit of a scandal in F1.

Contact and intimidation are not scandalous in NASCAR. Since people here are asserting that contact and crashing are not the interesting part of this sport (and I believe them) then why not punish drivers who are unsportsmanlike in their driving?
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 1:50 PM on April 27, 2009


I like that race league where there are a bunch of heavily-armed monkeys riding on tigers. That shit is off the hook.

A heavily armed monkey riding on a tiger is the world's most dangerous animal.
posted by Ratio at 1:50 PM on April 27, 2009


I disagree. I would think that a gorilla on a rhino or a orangutan riding a grizzly would be far more terrifying.

Because, let's face it, monkeys are just funny no matter how well armed they are. Apes on the other hand could be competent weapons users as well as learn how to properly steer their mount.

And imagine a hundred thousand of them charging over a hill, screaming and firing their machine guns in the air, and you have an idea of what kinds of things go on in my head.
posted by quin at 2:11 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I once made a comment on some other forum, when gas prices were climbing, saying that even as a longtime motorsports fan myself I couldn't justify in my mind the waste of resources and I can't understand why it continues, under the circumstances; someone responded "If anybody tries to take away my NASCAR I'll kill 'em." So I guess that's that.
posted by Restless Day at 2:18 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]



Just curious. Do people watch a whole (beginning to end) car race on TV like they would a whole football game?
posted by notreally at 2:39 PM on April 27, 2009


burnmp3s : Then again I'd probably look pretty silly wearing a 5-point harness and helmet driving around all the time.

It might be worth it in the Chicago area.
posted by desjardins at 2:45 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


NASCAR has become too much about blocking instead of driving faster.
posted by caddis at 2:45 PM on April 27, 2009


Just curious. Do people watch a whole (beginning to end) car race on TV like they would a whole football game?

I see you have not met my father.
posted by desjardins at 2:45 PM on April 27, 2009


Just curious. Do people watch a whole (beginning to end) car race on TV like they would a whole football game?

I watch every Formula 1 race from beginning to end. It's a lot shorter than a football game, and there's a lot more action (they don't stop play ever 10 seconds to talk about what they did for 10 seconds and plan the next 10 seconds). Since the races are all over the world at odd times, I record the race, then avoid the sports news until I can finish watching. But an F1 race takes far less time than a football game.

Except that I didn't get to watch this last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, because my stupid DVR had an error of some kind. Grr.
posted by The World Famous at 2:46 PM on April 27, 2009


Really? Suspense about fuel and tires?

Sounds like my drive home.
posted by mazola at 3:15 PM on April 27, 2009


"I once made a comment on some other forum, when gas prices were climbing, saying that even as a longtime motorsports fan myself I couldn't justify in my mind the waste of resources and I can't understand why it continues..."

You understand that the race cars used an ridiculously small amount of resources compared to the vehicles of the 100,000 or so fans who drove to the track and back, right?

So in essence, your argument was that any event that draws a large crowd is a waste of resources.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:22 PM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


And yes, I said an ridiculously. What of it?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:24 PM on April 27, 2009


I watched the F1, TWF. As usual, no on-track passes for the lead, though--gasp--there were a handful of passes down the field and a few seconds of close racing. "Squee!," went the British announcers, when they weren't wetting themselves over Button and Hamilton.

Meanwhile, contact in Nascar has long been allowed, to an extent. And drivers have been penalized for it when they've gone to far. It's not unlike contact in basketball, some refs calling a tighter game than others.

Driving skill in Nascar's an interesting question. Indy 500 winners have struggled with it. JP Montoya, who won Indy and several F1 races, was a serious threat to win the F1 championship, switched to Nascar. He struggled for about a year, is doing pretty well these days. He's said that driving the car is no problem, racing for 20th or so isn't so hard, but to compete for wins is extremely difficult.

That aside, there are countless decisions in a race regarding suspension adjustments, adding or subtracting 1/4 pound of air pressure in a tire, etc., that are sorted out in driver-crew chief conversations (via radio) to say nothing of pre-race matters of getting gears, shock settings, spring settings, etc., right. A ton of sophisticated, precise development goes into making the low-tech cars go faster.

Meanwhile, back at the original point, this track, Talladega and something like three other tracks are anomolies because of the restrictor plates, what's widely considered to be all sorts of problems--to include inevitable big wrecks. We shall see what Nascar does about it.

Lastly, Nascar haters and arrogant F1 fans can kiss my pasty white American ass.
posted by ambient2 at 3:28 PM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Lastly, Nascar haters and arrogant F1 fans can kiss my pasty white American ass.

I've seen Talladega Nights a few times, but I don't remember that quote from the movie. It does sound like it's straight from Ricky Bobby's mouth, though. Is it in some outtake that I haven't seen?
posted by The World Famous at 3:34 PM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


notreally Just curious. Do people watch a whole (beginning to end) car race on TV like they would a whole football game?

Personally, I could never watch an entire football game on TV from beginning to end, American football or what the rest of the world calls football. Aussie rules football, maybe.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:56 PM on April 27, 2009


NASCARs are extremely heavy cars, built to archaic and very low technology standards that have been dropped by mainstream vehicle manufacturers for 30 years, and the motor racing industry as a whole for getting on for 40. The fact that they can survive such accidents is pretty impressive, but only (from the perspective of someone who has worked in motor racing all his life) only in a grudging and passing manner.

No, NASCAR have not done enough to improve safety - they have cramped development of the cars in such a manner that has removed any possibility of making them as safe as they could be. The person who said upthread that "F1 has historically done everything it could to improve safety and NASCAR hasn't" is absolutely right - NASCAR haven't done anything above the minimum. The cars are relatively safe, but in a 'using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut' kind of way. There has been established safety cell technology available for decades that NASCAR is still too backwards and stubborn to adopt or even acknowledge, constantly claiming it is all about the racing.

However, in this example, the injuries have (to my mind) absolutely nothing at all to do with the design of the cars or the neanderthal racing style encouraged in the series - I thought that the aero flaps in the spinning car did a remarkable job of keeping a pathetically un-aerodynamic heavy lump from going fully airborne. It was only the additional hit that stopped it sliding into the guard rail below the catch fencing. The safety issue comes from the bone headed stupidity of circuit design that puts people less then 30 feet from cars doing 200 mph. At a corner. On the OUTSIDE of a corner.

Crazy.

Ovals are inherently dangerous as all of the incidents are contained - it is almost impossible for a car to lose control and get out of the way of the other cars, as they bounce off the walls and come back into them all. Thus, almost any accident is amplified. In addition, most of the momentum in the accidents is to the outside and directly toward the crowd. This, in principle, is fine, but a catch fencing only stops big solid things - and even then only within reason. The accident doesn't have the run off or room to dissipate the energy involved before all the carnage and wreckage gets thrown at a mincer right in front of the crowd. It's a surprise more injuries, and of more severity, aren't a result.

The circuit design - purely in the interests of 'the spectacle' and 'the fan experience' - is irresponsible. Either slow the cars down or reduce the energy of the impacts (ie by making them half the weight like proper racing cars are) to keep the accidents easily contained by the limitations of the circuit or move the spectators back and add several layers or protection (deformable barriers and better fencing). Formula one (and all the circuits in the rest of the world, frankly) have made steps to move spectators back to safe positions and design tracks with the purpose of reducing the possibility of an out of control car heading into the crowd (or even any of its pieces). Even so, at road courses this does happen rarely. At ovals, it's still just a matter of time for a serious incident to occur.

NASCAR needs to address this, and their waning popularity means they can hardly lose more fans by actually doing something halfway modern. The Car Of Tomorrow itself was a half arsed joke that was still 30 years out of date when it was introduced.
posted by Brockles at 4:37 PM on April 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


Back in the late '80s, a guy on the staff of my (rural, southern) college newspaper wrote what he expected to be a filler column on why NASCAR is not a sport, just to fill out the sports section. Dude got death threats. At his house.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 4:38 PM on April 27, 2009


Just curious. Do people watch a whole (beginning to end) car race on TV like they would a whole football game?

Like The World Famous, I watch every F1 race from beginning to end and on into the national anthems and the champagne shower (unless it's Bahrain with its unique and unspectacular rosewater shower). Then again, I see F1 as a sport and a soap opera, so you might say that I'm a fan.
posted by ob at 4:52 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The watch it for the crashes (or wrecks as they say in NASCAR lingo) comments is truly only part of it. I don't personally watch NASCAR (F1 is another matter) but some people thought the same of hockey. That one only watches hockey for the fights. Is that venture where they got guys to dress up in hockey equipment, put them on ice, and then have fights still going? Did it ever go strong? I honestly don't know but I haven't heard of it since it began but I then I don't pretend to hear of everything. I don't think many racing fans watch demolition derbies.

I abhor the idea of creating rules to artificially bunch of the field. It's utter bullshit and F1 suffers from some of this as well, with silly qualifying with fuel rules, ridiculous wild card rules like grid penalties for blown engines, and the scrapping of aggregate timing in favour of safety cars that erase any margin one competitor had over the the one following, not to mention a frequently unclear rulebook.

Bunching of the field artificially shouldn't be happening not because of safety, but because of sport.
posted by juiceCake at 5:14 PM on April 27, 2009


Oh, that's just Carl Edwards, the most famous person from Columbia, MO...he loves doing flips. Usually not in his car though.
posted by schyler523 at 5:24 PM on April 27, 2009


I was curious, so I did a bit of quick research, and it seems that Nascar doesn't seem to be any more dangerous than any of the other auto major racing sports, and is probably less so.

Top five most dangerous tracks for competitors
:

* 1.Indianapolis Motor Speedway 56
* 2.Nürburgring 48
* 3.Monza 30
* 4.Daytona International Speedway 24
* 5.Le Mans 24

I couldn't find any specific statistics on spectators, but I did find an article on major incidents of fan deaths in motorsports. Spoiler: No Nascar incidents listed (though they did list a NHRA incident).

So maybe Nascar being "less safe" means more contact? I'm not sure. I'm honestly confused by the people saying Nascar is less safe, and would like to understand where they are coming from.
posted by forforf at 5:28 PM on April 27, 2009


F1 has an abundance of really amazing-to-watch racing, but not a lot of racing on the track.

NASCAR has less interesting driving (except for Watkins Glen), but more actual racing going on.

The problem with NASCAR is just that the races are way too long. It's two or three hours of driving around, keeping a decent position, hoping you don't suffer a mechanical or get in a wreck, followed by an actual race.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:41 PM on April 27, 2009


I grew up on motor racing and used to enjoy watching it for the skill involved; the skill of knowing where your car was better than your competition, worse than your competition, and being able to use that difference & knowledge to your advantage. Sure, crashes are momentarily interesting, but that was never why I was a fan.

All the equalisation BS, touted as being to ensure "closer racing", has made it boring. The advantages and disadvantages between cars have been flattened out so that they're no longer big enough to make much of a difference, outside of some spectacular advance or difference belonging to one particular team or driver - which gets boring when one driver or team keeps powering away from the rest, race after race, in any season. That criticism goes equally for F1, Indy, Nascar, Group A, and Australia's V8 Supercars. Boring when somebody streaks away, boring when nobody streaks away, and no interesting in-between.

The best racing I've seen in the last 10 or 20 years has been club racing, or true production car racing. 2 great races stick in my mind - a Bathurst 12hr production car race (the first, I think, in 1991), with a 4 cyl Ford Laser TX-3's coming second to a Toyota Supra & beating V8 Holdens & Fords, and an all-Healey support race at one of the other Bathurst races. The sight of a couple of dozen Healeys, ranging from bugeye Sprites to 3000's tearing around that mountain track, with the 3000's tearing away on the straights & fast uphill sections and the Sprites catching them on the downhill corners, was just amazing to see.

So, in short: No, not everyone watches motor racing for the prangs.
posted by Pinback at 6:19 PM on April 27, 2009


Formula One is cool because the cars are the ultimate in technology. They will go from zero to sixty and back to zero faster than most high end sports cars can do just the first part. You have nearly 1,000hp in an extremely light car, and they can turn on a dime. It's great techno fun and it takes great skill to maximize all this potential. NASCAR is more macho. The cars go really, really fast and never slow down, except for pit stops. They bump, they intimidate they don't have open wheels so they can get damn close at 200+mph. Even when really hammered a fan can understand exactly where the race stands at a glance. I am kind of an Indy guy, I like the ultimate speed and pure racing not bumping. It's all good. When you get the milk you're good.
posted by caddis at 6:34 PM on April 27, 2009


You have nearly 1,000hp in an extremely light car, and they can turn on a dime.

Hmmm. Not so much. They're currently rumoured to be at 800-850bhp maximum. It's been a while since F1 engines have had that sort of power (pre 2006 or so). Clamping down has had some effect (other than slowing them down!).

They will go from zero to sixty and back to zero faster than most high end sports cars can do just the first part.

In 2006, the quoted figure was 7 seconds. But for zero to 120 mph and back to zero. That's so mind-fuckingly fast that I can't get my head around it - and I've stood on the guardrail and in the pit lane and watched F1 cars do standing starts and general lapping from a few feet away. It's just so bewildering how quick they really are. Even ten years ago, they were suggesting 0-200mph and back in 14 seconds.

To even mention them in the same breath as NASCAR is an insult to F1, to be honest. It's like comparing a Dakota to an F22...
posted by Brockles at 6:58 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Forget this NASCAR v. F1 stuff. MotoGP and World Superbike is where it's at.
posted by asterix at 7:28 PM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


F1 is also known for crashes.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:34 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is kind of an interesting risk dilemma. Back in the 80's the problem was guys were too fast and in danger of taking off into the stands. So you slow everyone down all "The Veldt"-like, and now the problem is even more crashes since everyone is moving together like a big snake.

The obvious answer is to implement A.A.D.A. rules.
posted by bardic at 9:17 PM on April 27, 2009


Not a bad point, asterix; Spies was incredible in race one at Assen.

The thought that "F1 has historically done everything it could to improve safety and NASCAR hasn't" is questionable at best. In the 60s', F1 guys were dropping like flies, Jackie Stewart was among those pushing for greater safety and support for his efforts was far from unanimous. More recently, F1 didn't mandate the HANS device--created in the US freakin' A--at the speed of light.

That aside, while Nascar (and F1) have had their times of being less prompt in addressing safety than would have been best, hard to take issue with where things stand now in Nascar (and oval racing is inherently more dangerous than road-course racing). The wreck that prompted this post wasn't the nastiest one in recent times. Note the telemetry showing about 187 mph at impact. McDowell was not hurt.

Not clear if there's an expectation that the cars should survive nuclear war.

Sure, F1 is more high-tech, though manipulated like most any series; the fuel issues, requirement that drivers use two tire compounds (one softer than the other).

Strangely enough, it is possible to like Nascar and F1... and drag racing.

If people wanna talk performance... drag-racing record time for a standing-start 1/4 mile: 4.428 seconds. Record speed: 336.15 mph.

I like the go fast.
posted by ambient2 at 10:21 PM on April 27, 2009


I thought they'd added a movable section to the roof of the cars to stop them taking off when flipped round for precisely this reason?

I have real problems with NASCAR, though not as much as the open wheel racing they do on ovals, which is basically anything but safe. The fact that there's nowhere for a crashed car to go that is off track, unless they manage to crash onto the infield (rarely), means the frequency of t-boning crashed cars is way too high.
posted by opsin at 4:23 AM on April 28, 2009


And indeed, they do. You can see it flipped up and was working, until the second car hit him and pushed him up so as no air was contacting the flap anymore.

Apart from not racing on ovals, I don't know what you could do safety wise to have stopped that crash...
posted by opsin at 4:25 AM on April 28, 2009


Top five most dangerous tracks for competitors:

Let's add a bit more context, shall we?

* 1.Indianapolis Motor Speedway 56 (opened 1909)
* 2.Nürburgring 48 (opened 1927)
* 3.Monza 30 (opened 1922)
* 4.Daytona International Speedway 24 (opened 1959)
* 5.Le Mans 24 (opened 1923)

Interesting how Daytona makes it into the top five within 50 years of being open, while the other four have all been open 80+ years.

OK, I'm being a bit facetious here: yes, I realize that even on a per-year basis Daytona is only #3, and you couldn't really make a comparison on this basis alone: you'd need to look at, perhaps, drivers killed per car-miles driven or something like that, and ideally you'd want to look at probably just the last 10-25 years (I don't think anyone will dispute that NASCAR today is safer than open-wheel racing in the 1920s), but then you probably don't have enough fatal incidents in any of the series to draw a conclusions. No, I can't back up my perception that NASCAR today is more dangerous than open-wheel racing today with any hard data, but OTOH, the data above do not convince me that it isn't more dangerous, either.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:43 AM on April 28, 2009


Apart from not racing on ovals, I don't know what you could do safety wise to have stopped that crash...

You could have enormously reduced the energy involved by cutting about 1500lbs out of the weight of the thing even without having to slow it down. That's half the issue. Also, deformable structures would have helped a lot - with the added benefit of discouraging whacking into each other if it has consequences.

In the 60s', F1 guys were dropping like flies, Jackie Stewart was among those pushing for greater safety and support for his efforts was far from unanimous.

Er. What? In the 1950's, people died all the time and no-one thought anything of it. I don't think ancient history (in motor racing terms, at least) is relevant. Jackie Stewart's efforts resulted in precisely the drive for safety that makes F1 far better than NASCAR in that regard today. I don't think "Ah, but before they started addressing safety, they didn't are about safety!" is a good argument. Especially when that same drive from the 1960's has yet to even start in NASCAR.

More recently, F1 didn't mandate the HANS device--created in the US freakin' A--at the speed of light..

NASCAR and F1 mandated use of the HANS device in the same year - although NASCAR only adopted it at the end of that year. After Formula One. How is that an example of F1 dragging their feet? Besides, this is not in any the whole story - the original HANS device was not at all suitable for F1 - or, in fact, for any sort of racing that required you to turn your head while you are driving. F1 tested the device in the off season with a variety of drivers (representatives of the safety work group in F1 included) and found that the first few iterations of the design were extremely restrictive in terms of visibility and available movement of the head. In addition it was also extremely heavy and unsuited for the rapid changes in loading of an F1 driver's head. This, in a car where you do more than turn a bit left every 20 seconds, was more dangerous than the alternative. When the HANS device was redesigned to be more appropriate for a different style of racing it was adopted and enforced. An unsuitable 'safety' device can be as, or more, dangerous as not having it at all.

Ejection seats would, in theory and only considering some of the variables, allow drivers to avoid being in the car during a crash and so nominally safer. They are, of course, completely inappropriate for racing cars in almost all realistic considerations.
posted by Brockles at 7:48 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Apart from not racing on ovals, I don't know what you could do safety wise to have stopped that crash...

Many have been calling for modifications to these two tracks in particular to provide less steep banking. This will force drivers to slow down. Steeply banked turns allows them to take the turns at really incredible speeds.
posted by caddis at 8:25 AM on April 28, 2009


To even mention them in the same breath as NASCAR is an insult to F1, to be honest. It's like comparing a Dakota to an F22...


Americans don't do "inferiority" well.

By the way: good riddance to Pontiac.
posted by Zambrano at 9:15 AM on April 28, 2009


The thought that "F1 has historically done everything it could to improve safety and NASCAR hasn't" is questionable at best.

I was going to respond, but then I read down and saw that Brockles had said what I was going to say.
posted by ob at 9:40 AM on April 28, 2009


That aside, there are countless decisions in a race regarding suspension adjustments, adding or subtracting 1/4 pound of air pressure in a tire, etc., that are sorted out in driver-crew chief conversations (via radio) to say nothing of pre-race matters of getting gears, shock settings, spring settings, etc., right. A ton of sophisticated, precise development goes into making the low-tech cars go faster.

Yeah, pretty much operating machinery.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:40 AM on April 28, 2009


Yeah, pretty much operating machinery.

Yep. Tiger Woods is just operating a lever. Baseball? Same thing. Simple game with a simple machine.
posted by The World Famous at 10:51 AM on April 28, 2009


Am I the only one confused by the chilldown techno being played over Dale Sr.'s death video? ("someone" link in the FPP)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:19 AM on April 28, 2009


Yep. Tiger Woods is just operating a lever. Baseball? Same thing. Simple game with a simple machine.

And how are those levers propelled? Internal combustion engine or steam turbine?
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:27 PM on April 28, 2009


> Yeah, pretty much operating machinery.

Eponysterical? Look, have you ever watched a construction worker go at a pile of earth/garbage/debris with one of those pint-sized loaders? It takes coordination, timing, energy, and athletics to get the job done quickly and accurately. It's not just pushing buttons.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:51 PM on April 28, 2009


And how are those levers propelled? Internal combustion engine or steam turbine?

Neither. Woods uses KERS for most of his drives. It gives him an extra 80-yard boost.
posted by The World Famous at 2:17 PM on April 28, 2009


All games are just delivery services: the purpose is to get something to somewhere. The only thing that varies is the item and the delivery mechanism.

American football and rugby: Prolate spheroid, hands (and occasionally feet)
Association football (aka soccer): Truncated icosohedron, feet (and occasionally hands)
Tennis, golf: Sphere, lever (and occasionally hands)
Car racing: Car, internal combustion engine
Track, swimming: Person (except track relays, where the item is a baton), whole body motion (primarily legs and arms)

Baseball and cricket are an advanced cases: There are two items (person, ball) trying to get to the same place (or sometimes slightly different places) using different delivery mechanisms. To even mention them in the same breath as simpler sports is an insult to baseball and cricket, to be honest.
posted by Plutor at 2:51 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


And where does boxing fall in this scheme of yours, Plutor? Gymnastics? Figure skating?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:32 PM on April 28, 2009


Boxing is a delivery service. The object is fists (and gloves), the mechanism is primarily arms and back.

One could argue that performance-based subjectively scored sports (like gymnastics and figure skating, but also competitive dancing, half-pipe, and so forth) are a zeroth tier of sport-as-delivery complexity. (I wanted to avoid the holywar of whether these are sports, but I think I might have just stepped in it.)

I'm interested to see if anyone can come up with a sport that would belong to the third tier. I think that Quiddich counts, based on my vague recollection of the first Harry Potter movie, but since it's a) fictional, and b) a stupid game, I don't like including it.
posted by Plutor at 7:21 PM on April 28, 2009


Texas Hold'em - Money, hands/math skills/ability to read or conceal emotion
posted by Pollomacho at 9:06 AM on April 29, 2009


I'm having a hard time deciding how to feel about card games. Are they sports?

Is the purpose of the game getting the most money? Or is that like saying the purpose of football/baseball/tennis is getting the most points?

And I think math skills and ability to read/conceal emotion are skills more than mechanisms. Those strike me as things that aid success at the game, but aren't strictly necessary to simply play it. (Unlike the way that hitting the ball with the club is necessary for anyone to say that they're playing golf.)
posted by Plutor at 9:44 AM on April 29, 2009


aren't strictly necessary to simply play it.

Depends on wether you think Poker is a game played with cards, or with other people.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:50 AM on April 29, 2009


Since my theory is an exercise in reductio ad absurdum, I think we can discard other people as unnecessary. I've already done that for football and baseball and cricket and tennis, and no one seemed to mind.
posted by Plutor at 9:56 AM on April 29, 2009


My (idle and offhanded) point is that, If I am the one doing the reducing, poker becomes "conceal emotions, and read others' concealed emotions", rather than "something to do with with cards".

There are a million different ways to play poker - 5, 7 draw, stud, hold 'em, etc etc etc, and, when thinking about the reduction you were performing, it occurred to me that one could argue that the social part IS the "hitting the ball with the club" part - that the cards are just a vehicle to play THAT game with. I found that interesting, and I wouldn't have gotten there without your reduction, so thanks!
posted by dirtdirt at 10:26 AM on April 29, 2009


The writer mentioned in the post, David Poole, died yesterday of a heart attack. He was 50.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


that the cards are just a vehicle to play THAT game

The cards are the machine with which one plays poker, just like the bat, ball, and glove are the machines of baseball and the car is the machine used in racing. The "vehicle" by which the drivers play the game of getting around the track faster than the other drivers.
posted by The World Famous at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2009


Hmm. True. However, by my reckoning, one could play "poker", where "poker" means "conceal emotions, and read others' concealed emotions regarding your in-game situation" with lots of different things standing in for the cards (dominoes, matches, colored balls), but there is nothing that could stand in for the emotional aspect. That aspect is the irreducible part, to me.

Although I guess there are things that could stand in for bats and balls and the game would still be recognizable as baseball, so who knows.

But yeah, Nascar.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:49 AM on April 29, 2009


I'm gonna go play Nascar with other people's emotions, now. Thanks for giving me something to think about.
posted by Plutor at 12:05 PM on April 29, 2009


However, by my reckoning, one could play "poker", where "poker" means "conceal emotions, and read others' concealed emotions regarding your in-game situation" with lots of different things standing in for the cards (dominoes, matches, colored balls), but there is nothing that could stand in for the emotional aspect.

That's called a "metaphor." If you change the definition of "poker" to something other than the card game (and variations on that game) called "poker," then yes, you can call anything poker.

You could even use poker as a metaphor for Formula 1. Ross Brawn has been playing poker with the other F1 teams this season. Metaphorically.
posted by The World Famous at 1:27 PM on April 29, 2009


That's called a "metaphor."

No. I'm saying that the game of poker is specifically the personal subterfuge, and that the cards are just a means of facilitating that. It's not a metaphor. It's looking at one of the mechanisms of the game and saying that that is the most important one, instead of the more obvious mechanism. I'm not interested in calling "anything" poker, and didn't mean to give you that impression. But really, I'm not all THAT interested or invested in this other thing either, but I do think it's accurate, in a sense.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:42 PM on April 29, 2009


I'm saying that the game of poker is specifically the personal subterfuge

Right. You're saying that the game itself is not really a card game, but a personal subterfuge game that happens to use cards. But without the cards, the "personal subterfuge game" is not called Poker. There are millions of other "personal subterfuge games" in the world, other than Poker, and they're not called "Poker" because they are not the specific card game called "Poker."

Sorry, I'm not trying to fight about this, and I really don't care about it much. I think you and I are probably on the same wavelength here, so I don't want you to think I'm trying to argue. But I just have this impression that a lot of serious poker players (not necessarily you, I'm just sort of ranting here) seem to think that there is something unique about the personal subterfuge element of poker that is not present in other things. I do agree that that is actually pretty much all that poker is about.
posted by The World Famous at 2:31 PM on April 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've grown up with stock car racing. My dad used to blueprint engines for nascar teams, back in the days before Bill France ruined Nascar. I like the races a lot when it was a bunch of small racing teams/families who built their own cars and engines, put em on a trailer and headed to the track.

Back before everything was mandated to be exactly the same as every other car, racing really was about what you could build, and who you put behind the wheel. You could get a car on the track and qualify for a winston cup race for under 6 figures. Now...shoot, you couldn't even field a car for less than a few million. That's why there's less than 20 owners for a field of 32+ entrants.

Millionaire crybaby drivers, high production television, and the France family ruined stock car racing. Those cars are no more stock cars than my vegetable garden is a tropical rain forest. And despite the fact that they're not stock cars, Nascar refuses to allow modifications that would make the beasts lighter, safer and more manageable on the track. There's no excuse for the ridiculous wrecks we've seen lately. None.

Nascar wants those wrecks. Those wrecks are what keeps sponsors paying the big bucks for the races. It's what puts logos on cars and keeps nascar drivers in Bolivian supermodels. Those wrecks are the money shot.

That said; probably because I spent a lot of weekends asleep in the pit boxes of race tracks as a kid, my husband and son both refer to the the Sunday races as "Napscar", because if a race is on TV, I will inevitably curl up on the couch and fall asleep. The drone of the engines is like a horsepower lullaby.

Also, RIP David Poole. He was a great reporter; he'd forgotten more about racing than most other sports writers have ever known, and was well loved and respected in the pits, in boxes and in the stands. He will be greatly missed in the racing community. My sympathies to by his wife Katy and their lovely children. I hope that anyone who enjoyed his reporting will join me in making a donation in his memory to www.penniesforwessa.org, or www.victoryjunction.org.
posted by dejah420 at 2:48 PM on April 29, 2009


If people wanna talk performance... drag-racing record time for a standing-start 1/4 mile: 4.428 seconds. Record speed: 336.15 mph.

Zero to 336.15 in 4.427 secs. Fuck me! I wish I could have seen that.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:58 PM on April 29, 2009


That's about 4g's. Yowza.
posted by GuyZero at 3:11 PM on April 29, 2009


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