NASCAR: What a Wide-Eyed Beast You Be, Just Don't Blink, You Could Miss It

Kara MartinSenior Analyst IApril 28, 2010

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 16:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 16, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

On average we blink once every five seconds, 732 times an hour, 17,000 times each day, which adds up to an amazing 6.25 million times a year.

The blink of the human eye is about 0.33 seconds.

It is so apart of our lives, that rarely do we even think about it, but I am willing to bet that the 140,000 + sets of eyes in the grandstands of Talladega this past Sunday, and countless others glued to their televisions at home, made a conscious effort not to blink as Kevin Harvick made his now famous slingshot maneuver around Jamie McMurray to take the checkered flag.

Harvick beat McMurray by just 0.11 seconds.

While that win is most certainly one for the record books, look back to Darlington, Mar. 16, 2003 for the closest finish in NASCAR history, when Ricky Craven beat Kurt Busch by a mere .002 seconds.

The two drivers actually finished the last stretch of the race with their cars touching.

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In NASCAR, a hundredth of a second can win a race.

With Richmond coming up this weekend, we are reminded that in Sep. of 2003, at that very track, 0.387 seconds marked the difference between the first and 36th positions.

Talk about your grid-locked traffic!

One of the reasons Danica Patrick says she is giving NASCAR a try is because of how much tighter the racing is.

Look at the stats. Can you blame her?

NASCAR’s average margin of victory in 2009 was 2.0 seconds, the IRL’s margin of victory was 3.58 seconds.


In 2003, Ryan Newman made history at Bristol Motor Speedway, with a Sprint Cup Series quaifying lap of 14.908 seconds (128.709 mph).

A simple 2.5 blinks of an eye.

Think of how upset we as fans get when we miss something on the track because of a routine blink or being distracted by your buddy knocking over your last can of hooch.

Get a piece of debris in your eye and you could easily miss several laps!

It is instinctual for humans to close their eyes tightly when we anticipate something displeasing.

Think of it in terms of watching a horror movie. That scary music cues up and you just know that something wicked is coming!

Your eyes squint, your hand is waiting in the wings to make the quick cover. You want to turn away, but you can't, because you might miss something.

Just like NASCAR, don't ever take your eyes off the screen or you are bound to miss something good!

Take a minute to appreciate the real eyes of the track, the spotters. They get paid NOT to blink!

Each week when a driver climbs into his car, he is fitted with his helmet and HANS device; then strapped into the driver's seat, which leaves him with a very limited view of the track.

It is up to a very trusted member of the driver’s team to “see” for them. Spotters must have a keen eye focused on their driver, but one that constantly roves the field, looking for the future “what ifs.”

The spotter can make or break a driver’s position, prevent or find themselves in the middle of the “big one” and ultimately win or lose a race.

The stress doesn't end with the checkered flag. Most spotters can't sleep after a big race. Their eyes are sore for days, worn out from hours of staring through binoculars and not blinking.

The idea of being at a NASCAR race in itself is somewhat surreal. It is a fantastic, almost dream like state, because what we are witnessing on the track is somewhat impalpable.

Categorically, it is unlike any other event.

It is fast and furious. It is danger and intrigue. It is beauty and perfection.

It is intangible, wide eyed glory, just don't blink!

"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller