Monday, May 09, 2005

Gentlemen Start Your Engine

This article is dedicated to all the NASCAR fans out there. You know who you are. You’re not hard to find, you drive around with the number of your favorite driver on your rear bumper or windshield, you have sunglasses identical to your favorite driver, and you own flags, beach towels, bobble heads and many other knick-knacks. You are among some of the most rabid fans in all of sports.

NASCAR is America’s fastest growing sport. No longer are fans tuning in to watch the highlights of the crashes on ESPN, they are tuning in to watch the races, and they are tuning in by the millions. Over 60,000 fans watched the race from Darlington Saturday night, while millions of others watched from home.

People have realized that these drivers do a lot more than just drive fast and turn left. They train, they study film, and they strategize. It’s nothing like figuring out how to scheme against a 3-4 defense in football, or penetrating a zone to get an easy basket in basketball. No, it’s much more difficult than that! These guys have to figure out how to make their car perform at its peak for hundreds of miles every weekend. They have to figure out how many laps the car can go before the tires need to be changed, fuel added, and driver re-hydrated, and the goal for the pit crew is to do all this in less than one minute. They work with some of the world’s smartest engineers and scientists in developing engine specs and fuel formulas. It’s safe to say that their labs are used for a lot more than just drug testing.

Rivalries among drivers have helped boost the popularity of the sport, with fans quick to rush to the defense of their driver. NASCAR has proven itself to be a legitimate sport with legitimate fans.

With all the talk about steroids in football and baseball, along with the struggles of the NBA, more and more people are getting caught up in the drama that NASCAR provides. It has turned out to be a pure sport that fans can enjoy without worrying about salary caps, free agents, and hold outs. With no labor disputes or coaching carousels, it seems like NASCAR is making headlines for all the right reasons.

So, if you are tired of wondering when your team is going to sign their first round draft pick, or who will be suspended next for performance enhancing drugs, keep in mind that the next race begins at 7:35 pm Saturday night from Richmond, VA. You won’t see an end zone dance, a monster dunk, or a walk off home run, but you will see bone jarring collisions, high speed maneuvers, time management and winner and losers. Sounds like an exciting sport to me.