NASCAR and Poker: Same Song, Second Verse

racethis 50Correspondent IOctober 20, 2008

Poker and NASCAR, are they one and the same?

Ok, so I'm new to this NASCAR thing, but I'm an old hand at the game of Poker. As I've slowly learned the ropes and the lingo of the NASCAR fan, such as "the pole" isn't in a bar in the downtown district and that "getting a ride" doesn't mean a trip with a friend to the mall, I've come to appreciate this sport. I couldn't help but notice the similarities between Poker and NASCAR after my first Cup Race as a spectator at Martinsville.

In Poker, on a big tournament table, you lay low for a while, trying to reserve your chips until you think you have a handle on how your opponents play. In NASCAR, you try to survive the first half, as close to the front as you can without wrecking, while  keeping an eye on the other drivers. 

In Poker, when you have a good hand, you make your move, gaining some ground and checking out the response of the other players. In NASCAR, you take the chance when you have it, moving past each driver with confidence and caution at the same time. 

In Poker, sometimes it looks like your flush is a sure bet, only to find out the guy next to you has a full house, (that's why you saved a little , instead of going all in.)  In NASCAR, when the golden opportunity arrives, you make your move, but, you hold back ever so slightly to keep some control should something go wrong.

In Poker, patience is a virtue.  In NASCAR, I  don't know how much more patient you can be than to be sitting in a car, 250 laps down with 250 to go, calculating when you are going to push it for the pass.

At the end of a tournament, time's up for holding back, it's all in or no win.  In NASCAR....need I say more?

I've always used Poker as an analogy to how we move through life. We check out the situation, we size up those around us, then we make our moves and take our chances when the timing seems right. Patience, strategy, the guts to make the big bet and the luck of the draw define the game. 

In NASCAR, patience, strategy, the guts to make the big moves, an engine that does the job and the luck that you miss the wrecks on the track define that sport.

After this weekend at Martinsville, I'm certain that the sport of NASCAR was created by some old poker players who wanted to see a little more action then a full table of chips thrown in, when the last call was up.

Folks, it doesn't get more American and Apple Pie than Poker and NASCAR. I thoroughly enjoyed the race this weekend, but for now, I'm going to go wash the smell of burning rubber and racetrack from my hair and get back to the poker table, where I'll be racing for my own checkered flag; the "Chip Cup Championship."  Ahhh, I can smell victory lane already :)