Guest Post: Nascar - What Are they Going For?
The following is a post from my close friend, Bryan DiSanto. I wrote about NASCAR on my blogspot a few years back here.
NASCAR: What are they going for? - Bryan DiSanto
While watching a Philadelphia Flyers game, during the commercial I switched to the Daytona 500. As a fan of race cars, and anything fast, I thought watching it would make the commercials go by more quickly. Boy was I wrong. Every time I switched over to the race, there was a caution flag, with all the race cars in line behind the pace car. Boy, what an exciting race. Well now we all know why the pace car comes out, a caution flag. But why all the cautions you ask? Wrecks. And oh boy, were there a lot of them. This drove me to text my friend, who also is a fan of motor-sports, and anything automotive in general.
I came to the conclusion that for a car to deliberately contact another car, there needs to be some kind of penalty. No one of those, “Hey, were fining your multi-million dollar team $20,000” penalties. There needs to be a loss of points in the standings. I mean the “R” in NASCAR stands for racing. So let the fans see the racing. Not 1 final lap of racing and 299 laps of cautions, meaningless commentary, pit stops, deliberate hits upon other drivers and hey, crashes.
The way the “Stock Cars” (I use that term loosely, more on that later) draft is ridiculous. In the Dayton 500 the drivers were running in tandem. Teams of 2 were pushing (literally) themselves around the track. What happens if the front car lifts throttle or hits the brakes you ask? Well if you watched any of the race, you’ll know. The back car plows into the rear end, turns the front car around inevitably causes a crash, and Knocks a car or two out of the race.
Now, it is not only legal to make contact with other cars, it’s ENCOURAGED. Have they learned nothing of the death of drivers? Sure, some blame safety, driver error, car setup, or say the cause was a freak accident, but in the end, every time a car impact an object or another car, the outcome could be deadly. It’s so ironic that before the race, everyone honors a deceased driver who passed away during a race. Then, only a couple laps in, deliberate contact is made between cars, at over 200mph, which could easily end in multiple deaths. And worst of all, fans not only like the crashes, that is what they watch this form of “racing” for.
This brings me to another point. How can you call yourself a fan, knowing your cheering for someone to potentially kill or injure another driver every week? Do the fans consciously know what they are cheering for? I’m fine with violence, so go watch some boxing, MMA, or a hockey game. This is not the place for it. However particularly in the South, fans stare “rubbin's racin” I’m sorry, but no, it really isn’t. Rubbing is not having the skill to pass, or block a pass cleanly. Rubbing is racing, in demolition derby, and probably Roman chariots. So if these fans want to see cars crash, why not stand on an overpass above I-95. You may even see a decapitation. Or hey, watch any form of rally racing. Trust me, the crashes in the WRC are much more spectacular than in NASCAR. AND, get this; crashing isn’t even the name of the game. As a side effect they may actually get to see some good racing. Maybe if the WRC advertised Sebastian Loeb flipping his Citroen over into a tree on route 1 North in Dover, via a billboard, they could triple their fan base. That is beside the point though.
So, where is NASCAR going with this sport? In the absence of innovation, development, and the showcase of skill, we are left with crashes and sponsors. Crashes make the sport exciting; exciting enough to attract viewers and fills seats. When you buy merchandise you can have your favorite potential murderer’s driver’s face on it. So NASCAR likes, money and crashes. They advertise it as something it isn’t (racing) in an effort to make it legitimate. There are other people out there that are staying true to the form of racing. Which brings me to the term “Stock Car”. Yes, back in the day the cars had to be produced to race. However, today, I don’t see a full sheet metal, tube chassis, fire-breathing small block V8 at my local Chevy, Ford, Dodge, (don’t see much of anything at Dodge) or Toyota dealer. But wait, I just made a slanderous statement. They stay true to their roots by using a fucking carburetor. Nothing screams state of the art technology like 1970’s carburetion. If these cars are “Stock Cars”, then the old Honda F1 car is a spitting image of a civic.