We NASCAR fans have heard them all. All of the insults, misconceptions, and stereotypes have grown as quickly as the sport. Not that I don’t think people have the right to voice their opinions, but maybe they should sit down and watch at least a quarter of a race to experience the excitement before they judge us.
I have put together a list not of why NASCAR is better than other sports, because I don’t believe that any sport is better than another, but arguments to why I watch and enjoy NASCAR.
1. We’ve all heard this one: “NASCAR is not a sport!” It is a sport, trust me. A sport consists of competition, teams, winning, losing, and athletes. NASCAR has all of these.
Mentioning athletes, NASCAR folk are among some of the most athletic.
These drivers have run marathons, biked over 200 miles, and have unbelievable workout regiments, not to mention the training that the pit crews go through.
These pit crews consist of many former college football and basketball players, and there’s even a former pro wrestler. So to say that these aren’t athletes and that NASCAR is not a sport is completely wrong.
2. Another classic: “Why do you want to watch cars drive around in circles?” Let’s make this one short and sweet: they’re not circles, they’re ovals! Sometimes they're tri-ovals, quad-ovals, and there's even Indy, which is a rectangle. Pocono is a triangle, and there are two road courses. DONE!
3. Easily relateable. These drivers are more like you and me than any athlete in any other sport. Drivers in one Nationwide race have spanned all the way from 18 to 68 years old! Some of these guys have come from working in factories and other blue-collar jobs, making them relateable to the average fan.
They are genuine, nice people, and you could walk up to their RV in the infield at a track and sit down, have a beer, and talk with them like any other person.
Granted they do live in bigger houses and have more money, but they’re not like other athletes in other sports with hold-outs and always wanting more money.
Dale Earnhardt drove for Richard Childress when he could have easily driven for any other team for a lot more than what Childress was paying him, but he didn’t; salary is not the driving force for drivers in this sport.
4. Steroids. A word that you will probably never hear associated with NASCAR. There’s just no need for performance-enhancing drugs in racing.
Granted there have been issues with other drugs in NASCAR, but in the last 15 years, I can only think of four major issues with drugs: Kevin Grubb, Shane Hmiel, Aaron Fike, most recently Jeremy Mayfield, allegedly, and a few crew members over the years.
Only four drug-related suspensions in over 15 years. Baseball can’t say that, football can’t, but NASCAR can, and I’m proud to say that I am a NASCAR fan due that alone!
5. Accessibility. This is the most accessible sport out there. There are cameras everywhere: the front bumper, rear bumper, inside the car, on the roof, on the wall, on a blimp, on the pit crew’s helmets, even in the racetrack surface!
The only camera angle that I’ve seen remotely close to those of NASCAR is in baseball. A few times they had a camera in the base.
In no other sport can a fan pick up a scanner at a game and listen to play calls or calls to the bullpen or anything. In NASCAR you can hear everything! You can hear the emotion of the driver, the strategy of the crew chief, and the warnings from the spotter!
Drivers are even willing to give interviews anytime. They give interviews after a wreck, before the race, after the race, and even during the race! At one point, many drivers were never off camera.
The short-lived NASCAR Drivers 360 on FX gave a look at day-to-day life of the drivers at and away from the track. Nowhere else do you get accessibility like this in a sporting event.
These are just a few of the reasons as to why I like NASCAR. To those people who ridicule and make fun of NASCAR fans, maybe you should take a step back and look at the athletes in NASCAR, they might not be so different from you!