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NASCAR- The Real American Pastime


ZOOM! There goes a car, barreling down the track at 200 miles per hour. ZOOM! There goes another one in hot pursuit. ZOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! There goes 41 others, slicing and dicing in a frantic race for the championship. I believe in NASCAR. I believe that NASCAR can heal the spirit, entertain millions, and bring generations, countries, and ethnicities closer together. I believe that NASCAR is a sport for the young and the old, the rednecks and the businessmen, the liberals and the conservatives. I believe that NASCAR is a true American sport, and I believe that it is one of the greatest sports on Earth.

The numbers don’t lie- NASCAR has more fans, and has more spectators at each event than baseball, football, and hockey combined. NASCAR is faster, NASCAR is tougher, and NASCAR requires more endurance than many other American sports.

The haters need to be addressed. Those who say, “Oh, NASCAR isn’t a sport, all they do is sit in a car and turn a wheel,” or, “NASCAR’s so boring. All they do is make left turns, I would only watch it for the wrecks.” That’s shallow. NASCAR is about the passion, the intensity, the speed, the strategy, the victory, and the defeat. NASCAR is a sport where drivers, crews, spectators, and the fat guy in Virginia, sitting on his couch watching the game, are all brought a little bit closer through triumph (Jimmie Johnson’s 4-in-a-row championships), and through tragedy (Dale Earnhardt’s death), no matter what it is. The fans see it, the fans talk about it, and the fans argue about it. In many ways, NASCAR is America’s greatest social networking site. And to those who say it’s not a sport, you try sitting in a 130-degree car for four hours, muscling a bulky machine around a racetrack, see how you feel.

I have been to a couple of Sprint Cup series races, one in Charlotte, North Carolina, and another in Loudon, New Hampshire, myself. And both, while being quite ordinary races, in relation to others, were very exciting. The speed, the sound, and the bravado of the drivers, skilled enough to pilot a 3,400 pound car at nearly 200 miles an hour on a track that’s the width of many highways, was quite thrilling. Jeff Gordon is my favorite driver, and when we went to Charlotte, he was running up near the front, and he blew a tire with 16 laps to go. When we went to Loudon, Denny Hamlin passed him on the last lap for the win. Heartbreak in both situations.

I was watching the race at Talladega a little while ago, and it occurred to me how dangerous and how truly exciting this sport is. I will say, Talladega isn’t the average racetrack. It’s the two-and-a-half mile beast known as a superspeedway. This is the track where the action happens. Championships can be won or lost here. It’s the fastest track, it’s the most dangerous track, and it’s also the biggest. This is the one where it’s easy to fall to the back, just as easy to come back up, and even easier to end up flying through the air at 150 miles per hour, subsequently landing on your roof. Entire livelihoods are often won or lost at these races.

NASCAR, one of my favorite sports, is a passion shared by many across the country, and is an exciting, dangerous, and demanding sport, with dangerous twists around every corner. I believe in NASCAR.





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