NASCAR: Turning Left Is Interesting

Ben AutySenior Writer IJuly 13, 2008

For anyone who knows me, you will know that I am Formula One, through and through. I wouldn’t even say that I am a fan of motor sports in general, because that would be a lie. Most of it bores me, and I find it hard to get interested.

There is just something about Formula One that has always had me interested and keeps me glued to all ongoings like a vise grip.

Check out the F1 page and you will see me sitting high as not only Community Leader but as the No. 1 writer, so it’s fair to say I know my stuff. I would consider myself, in your view, as the Adam Amick of Formula One. Sorry if anyone disagrees with this comment, but I am trying to make a point here people.

My perception of NASCAR wasn’t a very good one for a number of reasons. I travel to the U.S. pretty much every year for a family holiday, sorry family vacation and this is where is begins.

Whenever I was over there I would tune in on a Sunday to catch a big NFL game, and occasionally NASCAR would be on one of your 10,000 channels that you seem to have, and I would maybe watch it for a small amount of time.

It didn’t ever really take my fancy because nine times out of 10, the race would be under a caution and it was quite dull, so I would switch channels.

I now understand that a caution can fully turn the race on its head, as much as a safety car can within my beloved sport of Formula One, bunching the field back together, waiting for the moment that the SC comes in and the pack can peel off again. It’s the ultimate test of any good driver. To see if he can handle the situation and come out on top of such a situation.

Of course, NASCAR has its fair share of prejudice, where people will say that it’s just turning left. People will say that it’s a sport loved by rednecks, and people do call it boring. Obviously, I had heard all of these remarks and it just put me off further.

I had no interest to watch it.

I had caught the odd highlight show on NASN over here, but it still hadn’t really quenched my thirst for this sport because we all know that highlight shows only give you the best bits, and even then you don’t understand the kind of anticipations building up to or surrounding the particular occurrences, so it’s just quick hits of excitement and that's it.

It wasn’t until I visited an M&M’s store, I don’t know whether it was in Las Vegas or Orlando, I can’t quite recall, but in the store there was Kyle Busch’s No. 18 car. I must have spent a good 20 minutes just looking at this car, inside and out, just looking at the technologies and the huge differences between NASCAR and F1.

The next couple of reasons for my intrigue might make you chuckle a bit, but hey, it helped you gain another fan from it, so you can’t mock it. I watched two movies, and no, one of them wasn’t Days of Thunder. Instead, one of them was Talladega Nights—The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and the other, the Disney Pixar box office smash Cars.

I can see you laughing, but it was the latter that had the most impact. I watched the extra’s on the Blu-ray disc and it showed all the research they did on this at different tracks with different cars, and it really ignited a flame inside my head that was growing and growing the more I watched.

So, with my interest getting higher and higher, I thought it was about time I caught a race. Oh great, there is one on, but hang on, I have to wait up until 4:30 in the morning to see it till the end.

TOTALLY worth it. I wasn’t disappointed viewing my first full race, I don’t know how NASCAR usually goes off and what most would consider a ‘GREAT’ race, but in my opinion, this one had everything. And what a great finish. I was on the edge of my seat and thoroughly enjoyed it.

F1 could learn a thing or two in terms of broadcasting from NASCAR for example:

  • The constantly updating ticker along the top of the screen, constantly showing the gap from the front-runner.
  • Better pit stop comparisons, in terms of who went quickest.
  • The indicating of cars, of course we fans know who they are but new viewers won’t.
  • When indicating the cars it shows the revs and the mph of the car indicated.
  • Some VERY interesting camera angles, which could certainly be utilised.

Of course, the sports are incredibly different, so these changes might be a bit of a nightmare to coordinate because the tracks are a lot more complex, and setting up certain things may be an impossibility.

I don’t know, but I do know that the sport could be a whole lot more interesting than it already is should we take a few pointers from NASCAR.

That was my first NASCAR experience and to be fair, I enjoyed it. I could be getting just as obsessed with it as I am with F1. Will I be watching again? Oh yes, for sure, I am going to become a bit of an armchair late-night fan. In fact, I am back out in the U.S. again in October, so I will hopefully be trying to catch a whole race, or at least get into a NASCAR store/restaurant?

Am I converted? Unfortunately not. F1 is the No. 1 sport for me, and it will always be that way. Sorry guys.

Ben, Over and Out!