Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A Different Angle On: Nascar Nextel Cup Racing

Nascar is currently America's most popular sport. Thirty to Forty drivers behind twelve cylinder racing engines, driving in circles for three or so hours. Aah! The only thing better than that to many viewers is a hot Brat and a Bud.

I watch Nascar because I moved to Indiana, Fishers (a suburb of Indianapolis) to be exact. I quickly became a Jeff Gordon fan, and ruthlessly cheered for him. I couldn't figure out why the champion wasn't winning as much as he used to. This was in 2002.

Last year and the year prior I was too preoccupied to pay any attention to the Nascar races, and I was usually working when they were driving, so it ruined all the fun of watching the race replays. I like to cheer for my drivers while they are racing, not after. Anyhow, a few weeks ago, I was minding my own business, watching television, and I couldn't find anything good to watch. Then, I saw that a race was going on. I watched, rapidly falling back into my fierce opposition of anyone who would DARE challenge Jeff Gordon.

Now, a couple of months later, I watch Nextel cup practice, qualifying, special programs, and the races. I watch because it is enjoyable, I love cars, and the races can become quite exciting.
I am by nature a fairly soft person. I am trying to be as compassionate and loving as possible at all times, as I believe it is what human life is made of, and therefore very much the most important thing on earth. However, I can start watching a Nextel cup race and be very interested in the beginning, but, by the end of a race, I am screaming at the television "Greg Biffle, you creep! You better not pass Carl Edwards!" Seriously. What is it about Nascar that is so addicting?

Lets look at NASCAR from a different angle.

People are competitive by nature. We are continually exposed to material fun nowadays, whereas it was more artistic a few years ago. Cars have recently jolted into high gear in the entertainment industry as a result of "The Fast And The Furious" and "2 Fast 2 Furious." Not only this, but street racers are building virtual works of art called "rice rockets," essentially stock cars. And since NASCARs are stock cars, they naturally fall into the same category.
Like breeds like. Apparently Americans like the idea of taking a regular old average every day run of the mill car, and turning it into a bottle fed projectile. I do, too. I think it is a healthy hobby for some folks, because it demands you understand mechanics, and the proper application of many different mediums and materials. Of course, safety is important too, so I'll just watch the pros race in a controlled environment. Safer that way.

People take these cars and take them apart, put intercoolers in them, rearrange them, polish their ports, blueprint the blocks, and basically breed a monster of their own hands and money. I mean, really, how much effort does it take to buy a Lamborghini? Now, the average Joe with mechanical skills can own and operate his very own, lightning quick car. In other words, how special is it to own an expensive car that you didn't create, design, or really play any part in?

Nascar fans will all tell you that they have a favorite driver, they watch whenever they can, and they have loads of fun. They love the accidents, the fights the drivers get into, and watching Carl Edwards do back flips off of his car after driving donuts and doing burnouts. It is fun. It actually is fun, unlike movies, which frankly are not so good these days as Hollywood is making fun of our intelligence as viewers. NASCAR is just a bunch of regular Dudes and Chicks who love the smell of gasoline and motor oil, racing one another for a bunch of money and a trophy. What could be more American than that?

I think today's American is generally looking for something wholesome, fun and positive to sink his or her teeth into. Americans are tired of the media constantly bombarding us with negative info such as Brad Pitt's divorce and how the French hate us. We want to see the good ole boys pit fast. Seriously, watching the pit crews work on a car during a race is like watching a swarm of bees attack a bear. It's fun. People just want to have fun.