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Old 02-19-2006, 04:36 PM   #1
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Nascar

Can someone explain to me why NASCAR has such a big following. I just don't get it. I mean, its huge. I could understand it if you were racing but to watch it, especially on TV???? Up in the Northeast it is a non event. But elsewhere, especially south of here it is huge. I'm intrigued bu the huge following and almost cult status some of the drivers garner.

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Old 02-19-2006, 05:37 PM   #2
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Its bigger in the North East than you think. They do races in New Hampshire, Pocono, Watkins Glenn and they all sell out better than any other motorsports event. Those NASCAR fans are in the closet for sure.

I suspect a big part of NASCAR fans have actually made it to their local track to watch the races and once you've done that you become a different type of fan: one that actually doesn't mind that it loses allot on the televesion screen.
As anyone who has watched a race in person will tell you its a spectacle like no other in all of sports. The sound of 50 (or whatever they have) cars roaring bumper to bumper must be as loud as it is fast. Well at least that's what my first experience watching an oval race was like

I suspect that its so popular because unlike F1 and LeMans its very competitive (everyone in the race is driving fairly equal machinery) and unlike open wheel racing or Sports Cars, most of the names sound familiar. The drivers are American not a bunch of Frenchies, Latin Americans and Funny talkin' Brittis dudes. That counts for allot because in this country we identify with the individual and not a team or a constructor. NASCAR seems to be driven by the personalities and traits of the different drivers and the fans could care less who makes their car.

THe road races they've held, although still too sloooow for my taste, have been interesting. Watching those way toooo heavy cars take fast corners is very entertaining...now pass me some beef jerky.
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Old 02-19-2006, 06:46 PM   #3
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I used to hate on NASCAR as well, until I went to my first Daytona 500. You really don't understand what those drivers do until you see it in person.. countless current 'fans' I know feel the same way. My awakening came in 1982 and i've been a racing fanatic ever since (not just nascar).

I'm a big racing fan in general, IMSA, F1, Indycar.. you name it.. but far and away the most exciting is NASCAR mainly because there is actually on track action and competition is pretty equal. While other series are more 'finesse' racing, they also tend to be very boring and uneventful.. like in F1, odds are the polesitter for a race will not be challenged and they will win., unlike NASCAR where the lead is contested from start to finish. It's definitely more brute force racing, but it's so much more entertaining.

Like I said, having seen many forms of racing in person, nothing impresses it on you quite like seeing a pack of 40 cars doing 200mph nose to tail in person. Try it before you put it down. Be a fan of all racing, and don't judge it too hastily.

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Old 02-19-2006, 07:07 PM   #4
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Old 02-19-2006, 07:30 PM   #5
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Shifting, braking, and turning in both directions is fun!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 02-19-2006, 08:06 PM   #6
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Hi,

I Hate the Series, but have profound respect for the Drivers. I do not consider it a form of MotorSport in any measure - I mean even Pickup Trucks..?? C'mon!

I believe it is the Modern equivalent of the Roman Games and the precurser of RollerBall!

It's purely a Gladiator Sport. Which is what makes it so popular among the Masses. But, as Socrates said: "Γεννητός έσομαι ηλίθιος" , loosely translated - The People are Idiots.

Those Cars (with look-alike Production Bodies) are simply too unstable at the speeds they attain (I mean they're within a Hare's Breath of CART, INDY and F1 Top Speeds). It's dangerous, but where's a Hillbilly gonna make that kind of dough 'cept with some Backwoods Still?

It's not about Skill so much as it is about who's willing to take the greatest Risk to please the Crowds. It's a Circus. All IMHO of course...

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Old 02-19-2006, 08:07 PM   #7
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C'mon Jim, don't hold back, tell us what you really think!

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Old 02-19-2006, 09:45 PM   #8
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btw, I 'll doing a few laps in one of these Nascar boats as a passenger at a venue near Orlando later this summer(long story).

I hate to disagree with my forum members but NASCAR (including the funny looking pick up trucks) is VERY MUCH A MOTORSPORT. The precision needed to set a qualifying lap is no less dificult then any World Rally race. I think people really underestimate the finnesse involved in carving out the perfect line And they do this for 500 laps. That requires a surreal ability to focus and be to incredibly consistent.
Believe me if it was just about having brass balls there would be a heck of allot more guys linning up to collect a huge paycheck.

The top five positions in this Daytonna 500 shared $5 Milllion dollars. Not bad for three hours work. That kind of money is only paid out by F1 and they spend about 100X's what Nascar spend every year.

I understand why its popular with so many, I just can't figure out why so many of the drivers have names like Jimmmie, Ricky, Billy Bud or is Rickie Rudd?
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Old 02-19-2006, 11:06 PM   #9
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Hi,

Yea... just pass me the Cheese Dip and the Remote, I'm gonna spend next Sunday in the Barcolounger switching between NASCAR and WWF... YEEE HAAA...!!!

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Old 02-20-2006, 02:30 AM   #10
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The notion that all NASCAR fans are mullet headed, toothless, beer swilling, morons is about as accurate as the notion that all Porsche owners are snobbish, perpetually single, infantile and meticulously boring people.

I went to my first NASCAR race at Riverside in the 60's. I went to my most recent in '05 at Sonoma. I've watched them almost religiously since the mid 70's, becoming even more involved when I went to work for Texaco. I admit that there are many things about the sport I detest:

Confederate Flags (Hey, you lost the war, give it up already)
Tobacco spitting (Do I really need to say anything)
Waaaaay over marketed (Not unlike most motorsports)
Fans are a little rabid (Still, it's not as bad as soccer, if your driver looses, you still shake your neighbors hand and nobody riots)

OK, I'll just stop before I get on a rant.

What I do like is this:
It's accessible (You can still talk to the drivers in person)
It's competitive (No Dynasties)
It's affordable (I can't fly to Monaco, much less watch a tiny part of the race)
It's understandable (The cars are semblances of street vehicles)

What is tough is, seeing the sport gain so much in popularity in recent years while other forms (CART or IMSA??) have all but disappeared. Did you see the last F-1 (farce) race at Indy? What NASCAR is, is well managed and extremely successful. It started on the backwoods with moonshine running weekend warriors. It hardly resembles that anymore.

Yesterday Jimmy Johnson won over $6 million in purse and endorsements. There were over 250,000 in attendance [i]on raceday alone[/]. That's 200,000 fans and 50,000 folks selling stuff. It makes PT Barnum's notion of "The Greatest Show on Earth" pale by comparison.

One of the most popular tracks is in Bristol TN, a .533 mile oval (soup bowl) with turns banked at 38 deg. It seats over 160,000 and has been sold out for over 10 years

Hard to argue with those numbers...and if you ever sat there the excitement is palpable.

Is it the Mulsanne straight? Hell no, but its in our backyard. I don't hate it or defend it, I just take what I want and leave what I don't, but I don't knock it.
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Old 02-20-2006, 04:29 AM   #11
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Funny how people stereotype others isn't it I would think a group like this would be a touch more mentally advanced than that! Anyone that thinks it doesn't take driving skill to hold on to a car, much less work to advance your position going 200 mph in the middle of 40 others also doing that speed with the same goals is crazy.. In most other popular forms of racing by the end of lap one the gap from the leader to 2nd place is 3-5 seconds, but in nascar that's the gap from first to last. It definitely takes talent.. and if road racing is the only kind of racing out there for some, consider that when nascar goes to road courses quite a few road racing 'aces' join the field and routinely are beaten by drivers that are quite unfamiliar with it. I'm surprised to see folks here act so snobbish
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Old 02-20-2006, 04:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
The drivers are American not a bunch of Frenchies, Latin Americans and Funny talkin' Brittis dudes.
Which is the reason why NASCAR is not particularly popular ouside America.

We have one oval in the UK, at Rockingham, and I have heard that it is in financial trouble because no-one is interested. European (and for that matter Antipodean) race fans like to see cars turn both left and right, use the brakes, and not rely completely 100% on the physics of aerodynamics for 3 hours. Plus, we don't like to see half the race distance carried out under a full-course yellow for the slightest accident. This not only applies to NASCAR, but also IRL.

I watched the first part of the Busch Series race from Daytona live on TV here in England, and didn't see one exciting overtaking move. My wife could not understand why I (not the huge crowd at Daytona) were the least bit interested in watching a pack of cars drive in a circle.

As for some of the tactics used in NASCAR - well, they can only be descibed as irresponsible and dangerous. The drivers are forced to do it because if they don't someone else will and go on to be more successful. I'm talking about bump-drafting. No other form of motorsport uses this tactic, because it would be banned. Maybe NASCAR will realise this soon, hopefully before a car gets bumped on a turn at 200mph, and ends up in one of those packed grandstands.

I'm sure the drivers are talented, no doubt about that, but why don't they show that talent more on road courses? Then there would be far more interest in the series.

I'll go back to wathing F1, CART, the British Touring Car Championship, Le Mans (looking forward to going there this June) and Australian V8 Supercars. That is real motor sport.

All in my opinion, of course..

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Old 02-20-2006, 04:54 AM   #13
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Do you think NASCAR would be as popular if wrecks never happened?
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Old 02-20-2006, 05:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by prOk
Funny how people stereotype others isn't it I would think a group like this would be a touch more mentally advanced than that! Anyone that thinks it doesn't take driving skill to hold on to a car, much less work to advance your position going 200 mph in the middle of 40 others also doing that speed with the same goals is crazy.. In most other popular forms of racing by the end of lap one the gap from the leader to 2nd place is 3-5 seconds, but in nascar that's the gap from first to last. It definitely takes talent.. and if road racing is the only kind of racing out there for some, consider that when nascar goes to road courses quite a few road racing 'aces' join the field and routinely are beaten by drivers that are quite unfamiliar with it. I'm surprised to see folks here act so snobbish
Indeed. My last few chances of watching F-1 was more of a parade than anything else. Very little lead changes. Daytona had many. To take away the preconceived notions is what I see as odd.
I still watch F-1, but find it nowhere near as exciting as it used to be. I'm talking about years before Senna, too. I remember a young lad, Nikki Lauda. I believe it was he who made the first pit stop in an F-1 race to change tires (something the old moonshine runners figured out the first race). He lost a lap but won the race!
No doubt, F-1 is the pinnacle of open wheel racing, but ask Sterling Moss, or Jim Clarke if they wanted to win the Daytona 500....they salivated at the thought. You just have to be there, at a high banked 2.5 mile oval and you never wonder again is all I can say. The last real great 'unmolested' race there was when Bill Elliot set a pole speed of 210 in 1987. That was going over 235 in the straights. Those cars were literally flying. They came in for fuel and hardly needed tires. With restrictor plates came the freight trains we see now, but there are only really 2 tracks like that, Talladega and Daytona. At Talladega in 1987, Bill Elliott established a world stock-car record when he posted a speed of 212.809 mph. Mark Martin established a 500-mile stock-car record in 1997 when he won the caution-free race with an average speed of 188.354 mph. That's a feat few could match I'm sure......kinda takes away from the "250 miles of cautions" theory as well.
NASCAR races at Sonoma CA and Watkins Glen for road courses, but ovals are by far the most popular. The main reason, I suppose, is that fans (who pay for keeping the tracks open) enjoy these the most. I'd always liked to see Road America and really enjoyed Riverside, CA in it's heyday. The truth is it takes an enormous amount of monies to keep this going. Competition is stiff for tracks to entice a NASCAR race. In Bremerton, WA there is a movement afoot to build a track. The future is uncertain without some guarantees from NASCAR as the cost is so high.

I see many forms of racing today where the cars are slowed down and NASCAR is but one. Look at the changes in F-1 with tires and engine packages in the last few years. Very few lap records are being broken now as a result.

One of the purely unrestricted forms I can go see in the US is drag racing! If it didn't take so long to see just a few moments of racing I could get more enthusiastic. Still, going 326 mph in 4.4 seconds is something hard to imagine. The G Forces alone would cause most folks to pass out. The innovation and complexity of these machines is incredible. The good natured competition and ability to compete and stay friends is admirable as well.
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Old 02-20-2006, 05:10 AM   #15
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Do you think NASCAR would be as popular if wrecks never happened?
It might even be more, imho.
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Old 02-20-2006, 05:34 AM   #16
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I too miss the days when F1 was fun to watch Before Senna ) All forms of racing, although different, require talented drivers and finely tuned cars to do what they do. Just because one may not like a certain style of racing does not make it right to stereotype those that do.. I'm a nascar fan, and I know many others that are definitely not beer swilling mulletheadded rednecks from the trailer park as some here have so gracefully inferred. I won't offend your idea of what is fun and in return, try not to offend mine
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
What I do like is this:
It's accessible (You can still talk to the drivers in person)
It's competitive (No Dynasties)
It's affordable (I can't fly to Monaco, much less watch a tiny part of the race)
It's understandable (The cars are semblances of street vehicles)
While it may be accessible, it's got nothing on ALMS where I got to have my picture taken in front of the Audi R8 that won LeMans as it sat on the grid and wish JJ Lehto good luck before he stepped into the car (the grid is open to the public at Mosport and from what I understand will be at most/all ALMS venues next season.

If you don't think there are dynasties, have a look at how many teams have won the Cup over the last few seasons.. Three wins for Gibbs (stweart (2) and B. Labonte), 2 for Rousch (Kenseth and Busch), one for Yates (Jarrett), and five for Hendrick including four straight with Gordon (4 total) and T. Labonte (1).

While Schumacher has definately been dominant over the last decade in F1, the numbers aren't all that different from NASCAR. Schu does have 6 titles in those 10 years, but by the measure of the teams Ferrari have 5, McLaren have two (Hakkinen), Williams have two (Hill and Villeneuve), and Benetton and Renault each have 1.

Affordability? For the teams and competitors yeah, but not for fans. My buddy paid more for his Bristol ticket this year than two of us paid to rent a car, drive to Indy, buy our F1 tickets, and pay for gas and hotels. Yeah the race definately sucked but it was an aberration we're not likely to ever see again in modern F1.

I can see the udnerstandable part. The cars are familiar looking and let's face it, it doesn't take a whole lot of attention to follow the pack around the track. And there's the rah rah USA thing - see how many people recently polled like the idea of Toyota entering next year..

But you're never going to see anything like Alonso passing Schumacher on the outside of the 180R at Suzuka. Or watching 18 Champ Cars go from 190 mph to 40 on a public road in the braking area of the back stretch in Toronto. You'll never see anything like Senna and Prost duking it out over 16 races, each trying to beat his teammate to the championship.

But there's a god point about the drivers - American kids these days want to drive cars, and their heroes are guys named Earnhardt and Gordon and Stewart. They're more likely to get into quarter midgets on dirt and late models on pavement ovals. European kids want to go karting and their heroes are guys named Alonso and Schumacher. NASCAR's got it easy as far as driver recognition goes - when your two gateway series (Trucks and Busch) are televised the public already knows the rookies names. How many of you have ever seen an Atlantic race? Formula BMW? Star Mazda? F3000? GP2? Only hard-core open wheel guys had heard of people like Bourdais, Junquiera, and Montoya before they became Champ Car drivers.

It used to be that kids wanted to be Unser or Andretti or Mears. Now they look up to the motorsport equivalent of professional wrestling.


Thank goodness karting season starts soon
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:15 AM   #18
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Talking

"Funny how people stereotype others isn't it I would think a group like this would be a touch more mentally advanced than that"

I think that this statement is a good example of a stereotype.

BTW-I have no issue with NASCAR racing. I don't watch it and have no issue with people who do. Hey, its their money!
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:35 AM   #19
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My only real issue with it is that it's stealing all the American sponsorship dollars from other series - series that need the money to keep their teams afloat. It would be a shame to see open-wheel racing in the US go the way of the dodo because people would rather have a small patch of a stock car than an entire Champ Car.

That and I find it boring
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prOk
... Just because one may not like a certain style of racing does not make it right to stereotype those that do.. I'm a nascar fan, and I know many others that are definitely not beer swilling mulletheadded rednecks from the trailer park as some here have so gracefully inferred...
Hi,

The problem with challenging someone's Political Correctness for using a Stereotype is that you have to actually acknowledge that Stereotype to do it.

Stereotypes do not apply Universally, they just apply in General...

What's that saying about People in Glass Houses...??

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