Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why You Should Care About NASCAR

With this weekend's NASCAR race taking place in New England, I asked my NASCAR-loving friend Kevin to provide me with reasons why I, or anyone from here, should give even half a shit. Here was his response:

I'll give you 7 reasons you aren’t interested in Sunday’s NASCAR race in Loudon:

1) It is so easy you could do it. When was the last time you took a highway exit ramp at more than 50mph? More than 40mph? Never? Suck my balls on this one; try to actually imagine taking those turns at 100mph, with other cars 1 foot to either side of you. Now do it on ice, because they don’t race on the grippiest of tires.

Now replicate that 1000 times. Don’t crash either. You can cost yourself, and your team hundreds of thousands of dollars in winnings. Last year’s winner got $240,000. Dead last, 43rd place got $68,000. And each car costs about $150k-$200k to build. So there’s that to think about as well.

2) You don’t like football. How does this relate to racing? I wrote a paper once in high school about why people love football so much. My theory was that people enjoyed the enduring possibility of a big exciting play happening – Moss catching a 20yd out pass on 3rd & 19, Purple Jesus breaking away for 40 while deftly avoiding HGH junkies hell-bent on asserting their manliness to him, or Joe Theisman’s leg snapping like your girlfriend after you pull the “Whoop’s wrong hole” – routine. Who gives a shit about Antowain Smith running 2 yards into Damien Woody’s ass? I theorized that you watch to see something dynamic happen.

In racing, there are of course spectacular crashes, and even occasional fights between drivers post-race. But the real thrill is watching two drivers racing for position, knowing that the slightest mistake leads to crashing, money lost, and pissed owners and sponsors who fork over up to $20mil per year, not to have their logo end up in a scrap heap. It’s that on-the-edge excitement that we watch football and why I love NASCAR.

Another note – If Albert Haynesworth steps on you during a game, and you vow revenge for the next time you face him, when will that be? If you’re in the NFC, your best bet is the Super Bowl, otherwise it’s “see you in 4 years”. In NASCAR, revenge is a close as next week.

3) You don’t like Tailgating, cookouts, alcohol, or friendly people. If this is you, check into a mental hospital, you may be the next Manson. Football tailgating is for pussies who get up early on game day and have a cookout from 8am until kickoff. A portion of NASCAR fans tailgate for an entire week, and then continue after the race into Monday or Tuesday.

NASCAR races are giant parties, where everyone is friendly, willing to share some food or beer, and chat you up, even if you can’t understand them because they forgot their dentures that morning. If you find the right family / group / Dukes of Hazzard duo to park next to, you may get a treat of some of the best BBQ you’ve ever tried.

I’d be remiss if I neglected to inform you that once its race time; the racetracks allow you to bring in your own beer (that’s right – you have the option of not paying $6 for watered down Bud Light). Everyone is happy at NASCAR. Drunkery aside.

4) You have better ways to spend a Sunday. Beach going – the race is outside in the sun – check. Cookouts – check. Drinking – check. Mattress shopping – 1-800-Mattres (leave the last “s” off for savings) – check. Exploring New England – have you been to Loudon yet? No? I didn’t think so – check.

5) You don’t like “people-watching”. First, you’re a liar. Second, you have no idea what you are missing: America, Confederacy, America, Camouflage, America, Tattoos, Tattoos of America, Lynyrd Skynyrd, America, unashamed fat people, America, the catwalk in Paris’ worst nightmare, America.

I've had two different friends attend races with me who had never been before, and both are itching to go back solely because of points 3 and 5.

6) You don’t know who to root for. This is simple, as NASCAR is a giant marketing vehicle. Pick your favorite soul crushing, mega-conglomerate that you purchase from and go from there – Budweiser, Mountain Dew, Home Depot, Best Buy, M&M’s, Little Debbie (yummy snack cakes), Target, or Bass Pro Shops (don’t laugh, Patriots Place has one, and its apparently the largest outdoor goods store around). There’s even a Kotex sponsorship for the ladies in the lesser Nationwide series.

If nothing appeals to you, then root for Dale, and you’ll instantly be everyone’s friend. Root for Jeff Gordon, and you take your life into your own hand. Fuckers.

7) You don't want to try something new. Maybe you don't like NASCAR because you are close minded, and unwilling to experience something new, and that god forbid might be entertaining on some level. 5 years ago, I was in your shoes, was given free tickets to a race, and experienced NASCAR in person, far from what can be portrayed on TV.

Right as the cars are pacing around the track before the start of the race, you’re experiencing the calm before the storm; you can feel the anticipation in the air that you and 110,000 of your friends have waited all year to witness.

Finally the cars come off turn 4 and the green flag waves. Instantly, 43 drivers each sitting atop an 800 horsepower machine, and close enough to barely walk between the cars, slam their gas pedal, and with a roar and rumble unlike any train, rollercoaster, or jet, come screaming past you. You witness 20 feet away from you, what a blur moving at over 130mph actually looks like. The ground shakes so much you feel it through your bones. Testosterone and awesomeness defined.

3 comments:

A Pimp Named DaveR said...

I just prefer open-wheel racing.

But all of this is pretty true.

Starting Aces said...

I started watching in college because my roommate was so into it.

Not a bad way to spend a sunday (or saturday if I'm feeling frisky) when there's no football.

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