My friend Sandy just doesn’t get NASCAR. She thinks it is just a redneck pastime. Not even a real sport. She asks me questions like “how can you just sit there and watch people drive around in circles?” Sandy even told me that the only reason to watch a race was to see the wrecks.
She just doesn’t see the personalities behind the sport like the speak your mind frankness of Tony Stewart or Kevin Harvick. Or the intensity of Kyle Busch or Dale Earnhardt Jr. Or the usually unspoken inter-team rivalry between Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.
Sandy thinks that anyone could drive a race car. “How hard is it to make a left turn, after all” she asks me. When those left turns are coming up every 15 seconds at 190 miles per hour. I wonder how she would do coming off turn 4 with Kurt Busch on her rear bumper and Danica Patrick to the inside.
The strategy of the race totally escapes her. Sandy doesn’t realize that races are won and lost on pit road. The decision to pit. 2 tires or 4? Gas only. These decisions can make or break a race team’s day. To Sandy they just stop when they run out of gas.
How about you? Do you have a friend like Sandy who is totally clueless when it comes to NASCAR? I’ll bet you have some funny stories. I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Is NASCAR really just a bunch of rednecks going fast and turning left for hours on end?
That is what writer Rob Sylvester said in an article posted on the NBC Sports website.
â€œLook, Iâ€™ve never been much for NASCAR, mainly because if I wanted to watch teams of rednecks expel gas while going in circles for hours, Iâ€™d turn on FOX News,â€ said Mr. Sylvester in an article about a renewed interest in putting a NASCAR track in New York City.
Mr. Sylvester even discounted the economic viability of a track in New York. He openly doubted whether race fans would bother attending races there; despite the fact that other tracks in the Northeast like Pocono and New Hampshire have no problems selling tickets.
The article by Mr. Sylvester went on to describe NASCAR drivers as â€œa few good olâ€™ boys (and not to mention the occasional California prettyboy).â€ And his idea of a typical race fan who might visit New York to attend the race is a â€œtouristâ€¦ from the Red State region.â€
Whatâ€™s troubling about the entire article is not Mr. Sylvesterâ€™s opinion, however. It is the fact that the story was published on the official NBC Sports website. A company that once made a very good living broadcasting NASCAR races on TV, and likely will again when the current TV contract comes up for renewal.
What do you think about NBCâ€™s view on all this?
Did you see the NASCAR episode of Undercover Boss on CBS?
NASCAR Senior Vice President and Sr. Vice-President Steve Phelps went undercover to see what is really going on behind the scenes in NASCAR.
Did NASCAR fine Dale Earnhardt Jr for something he said? Or was it Kyle Busch, or Jimmie Johnson?
NASCAR Director of Corporate Communications Ramsey Poston has admitted that two star drivers have been fined for making remarks about NASCAR and the way it runs races. But Poston did not say who was fined or what was said that NASCAR didnâ€™t like.
A secret penalty system is a little bit suspect. NASCAR needs to be more transparent. If they are covering up the fact that divers are being punished it makes people wonder what else is being kept under wraps.
One driver was fined as much as $50,000 for making comments disparaging to NASCAR, according to the Associated Press.
Poston defended NASCAR’s actions as protecting its brand.
“It is the sanctioning body’s obligation on behalf of the industry and our fans to protect the sport’s brand,” Poston said. “Any action taken by NASCAR has nothing to do with the drivers expressing an opinion. It’s focused on actions or comments that materially damage the sport. We have specifically discussed this in meetings with teams, drivers and stakeholders.”
If a driver makes comments that are not true, and that drive fans and sponsors away from NASCAR, then they should be fined. But the fine and the reason for it should be made public.
But if a driver is stating a fact or arguing his point he should not be fined for it. There is a line somewhere â€“ we just donâ€™t know if that line was crossed because all this was handled in the back room.
Where do you think that line is? What should drivers be allowed to say without fear of retribution? Do you agree with NASCARâ€™s secret penalties?
If NASCAR wants to put more fans in the grandstands and in front of their TVs they need to make the cars that win on Sunday look more like the cars you can actually buy on Monday.
They have at least taken steps in the right direction. The wing is gone and the spoiler is back. Next year in the Nationwide Series Ford plans to race a Mustang and Dodge is bringing a Challenger. There is talk that those same cars could also come to Sprint Cup.
Changes to the front end on Sprint Cup race cars seem to be all but a done deal.
Chevy just doesnâ€™t get it, though. They are planning on racing an Impala, when they could be bringing a Camaro.
The car companies have a big say in what races on the track. If Chevy would race a Camaro it would bring some added excitement to racing and help sell more cars for Chevrolet. A Camaro would be good for NASCAR and Chevrolet.
But Chevy is at least keeping an open mind and listening to race fans who canâ€™t believe that GM would pass on the opportunity to race the Camaro GM racing boss Pat Suhy said â€œIâ€™ll never say neverâ€ when asked about the possibility of a Camaro in NASCAR. But so far the word from GM to NASCAR and race fans everywhere is no.
With Mustang, Camaro and Challenger to racing in the Sprint Cup Series â€“ with bodywork that actually looks like the cars down the street in the showroom fans would become more engaged with NASCAR.
There is no Ford vs. Chevy rivalry any more. Thatâ€™s because no one can tell them apart on the race track. Come on NASCAR â€“ give us our stock cars back.
I know you have a lot of smart engineers working in your R&D Facility in Charlotte. Together with the automaker engineers I know you can come up with a car that looks like a stock car and still keep the cars even aerodynamically.
Would a Camaro, a Mustang, a Challenger and Toyotaâ€™s new sports car make NASCAR more exciting for you? Would you be more likely to buy one?
Photo Credit: Ford Racing
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NASCAR is Openly Encouraging Increased Aggression by Its Drivers
It quickly became clear today during a press conference at the NASCAR R&D Center that NASCAR is not only telling drivers to take the gloves off â€“ but that NASCAR is openly encouraging more aggressive behavior by competitors. Both on and off the track.
NASCAR is a Contact Sport
â€œThis is a contact sport,â€ NASCAR CEO Brian France said in his opening remarks. â€œThis is the best racing in the world.â€
â€œWe have an eye on putting things back in the driverâ€™s hands. Weâ€™re going to loosen up.â€
Then France repeated his opening mantra once again. â€œWe want to see more contact. This is a contact sport.â€
Bump Drafting is Back
NASCAR also announced that they were eliminating the restrictions on bump drafting that made last yearâ€™s Talladega race so boring.
NASCARâ€™s Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton made no bones about where NASCAR stands on giving the drivers the freedom to bump draft. â€œBoys have at it and have a good time,â€ said Pemberton. â€œThatâ€™s all Iâ€™ve got to say.â€
Pemberton also revealed that restrictor plates at Daytona would be less restrictive this year. The plates will have 63/64â€ openings this year. The largest openings in 21 years.
So why did NASCAR decide to give teams the bigger restrictor plate? â€œWe felt like it was important to give the drivers a little more horsepower â€“ a little more throttle response,â€ said Competition VP Robin Pemberton.
No More Wing
The wing will also soon be gone off the rear of the car. Pemberton confirmed that Sprint Cup cars would return to the use of a spoiler early on in the 2010 season. But for Daytona the wing remains.
So why is NASCAR doing away with the wing and returning to the spoiler? â€œThe spoiler has come on for the car to look more like it used to and drive differently,â€ explained Brian France.
â€œIf we didnâ€™t think that the racing would be improved â€“ spoiler vs. wing â€“ we wouldnâ€™t have done it.â€
Indeed the spoiler makes the car look a lot more like a stock car and less like a tuner car.
Now NASCAR needs to get rid of that splitter on the front of the car. Brian France indicated that was a possibility. â€œThe front end is something we are looking at,â€ said France.
The yellow line rule at Daytona and Talladega will stay in place for now, however. NASCAR met with drivers and teams about doing away with the double yellow line which prevents drivers from going below the line to advance their position.
Eliminating the double yellow line rule was seriously considered â€“ and it may eventually be done away with. But not yet.
Encouraging Drivers to Show Personality
NASCAR President Mike Helton said that NASCAR was â€œencouraging the characters of the sport to show their personality.â€ But he also left some wiggle room as far as how far NASCAR is willing to go. That doesnâ€™t mean you get a free pass out of jail,â€ he said.
So is NASCAR putting the show over safety in promoting their racing as a contact sport?
Mike Helton doesnâ€™t think so. â€œNASCAR racing from day one has always been highly competitive,â€ said Helton. â€œIf you ainâ€™t rubbin’ â€“ you ainâ€™t racin’.â€
â€œWeâ€™re the last people that want to over-regulate the sport. Weâ€™re very careful about what regulations we ease up on.â€
â€œThese cars are safer than 5years ago,â€ Helton continued.
More Exciting Racing
â€œObviously the racing is going to get more exciting,â€ said Sprint Cup Director John Darby.
So drivers, put your big boy pants on, pull those belts a little tighter, make sure that helmet is strapped on tight, and hold on. This is going to be a wild ride.
Is NASCAR going down the right road? I believe so. What about you?
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We’ll let you know when new stories like this are added.
Answers: Why Youâ€™re a Fan of NASCAR
A while back we asked you the question â€œWhy Are You a NASCAR Fan?â€ That post has been one of the most popular articles here on RacingWin â€“ generating over 140 responses so far.
It proves just how passionate you NASCAR fans are about your sport, whether youâ€™ve been a fan for 50 years or you just got into NASCAR this year.
Hereâ€™s what some of you had to say:
â€œI am 48 years old and have been a fan for 42 years, mostly because my dad and grandfather were fans. We used to listen to the races on the radio every Sunday.â€ Â ~ Tim
â€œBack in the late 50â€™s my daddy took me to a race at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway, I was in high school. I have loved racing ever since.â€ ~ Betty
â€œI became a NASCAR fan when I married my wonderful husband 24 years ago and we both enjoy all the excitement, we also love the dedication the drivers show to the sport and us fans.â€ ~ Fannie
â€œI have watched NASCAR since the 70â€™s and will keep watching till I die. I cheered for Dale Sr. and now cheer for Dale Jr.â€ ~ Ray
â€œMy boyfriend got me hooked on NASCAR. He was watching a race on TV and I thought I would watch it with him.â€ ~ Kim
If you want to hear some positive NASCAR stories you should read all the comments. And if you havenâ€™t already shared your NASCAR story you can tell the world why youâ€™re a NASCAR fan.
Will Obama Ban NASCAR Flyovers Next?
As President of The United States Barack Obama is Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces. He has complete control over the nationâ€™s military forces â€“ including the right to allow or not allow aircraft to fly over special events.
For 43 years the Treasure Valley God and Country Festival has been held in Idaho. Previous Presidentâ€™s have allowed the Air Force to take part in the festival by providing planes for ceremonial flyovers â€“ but now the Pentagon has said no to the festivalâ€™s organizers under Obamaâ€™s watch.
As part of the festival the anthems of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are played to salute our nationâ€™s military men and women.
Barack Obama could just as easily ban flyovers at NASCAR races â€“ and that would be a real shame. Is NASCAR next on Obamaâ€™s list?
What would you say to Barack Obama to prevent him from banning NASCAR flyovers?
Why Are You A NASCAR Fan?
What makes NASCAR so special to you? I was hoping you could share your thoughts about why you are a NASCAR fan. How did you get involved in the sport â€“ and why do you follow it today?
Maybe you follow a driver â€“ or maybe there is one you love to hate. Maybe you like the action, or the strategy involved as the race unfolds.
What first drew you to become a NASCAR fan â€“ and what keeps you following the sport today?
Feel free to leave your comments below, or email them directly to me at email@example.com.