Sunday, March 11, 2007

Seattle Ignorance To NASCAR

Ignorance of racing events like NASCAR or any form of circular track racing is very wide spread. People who have not studied the sport claim "It's not even really a sport. All they do is drive around in a circle for 400 miles."

Yes, forget the fact that the inside of the car is often over 140 degrees for 4 hours strait, and the drive is sitting less than 2 feet above the 400 degree exhaust pipes. It's not a tough sport. There was one race where a driver sweat so much that the water pooled at the bottom of the seat, then to make things worse, because the seat is so close to the hot exhaust pipe, the water was literally boiling against his skin. If nothing else Stock Car racing is one of the most gruelling endurance sports you can imagine. Or, forget the fact that Ryan Newman is a Purdue graduate in my field of engineering. NASCAR is a sport for redneck idiots.

Anyone who has played a game like Gran Turismo, or any of the newer NASCAR games for the Playstation 2 and XBox/XBox360 knows how many variables this sport can depend on. Tire pressure that is changed by less than 0.25 psi can be the difference between finishing first or finishing worst.

But the ignorance doesn't just sit on the track. It extends to the fans. Being a NASCAR fan apparently entitles you to being a racist, a redneck, and trailer park trash, all for the fact that you enjoy racing. In Seattle Larry Seaquist, a state politician was quoted saying "These are not the kind of people you would want living next to you. They'd be the ones with the junky cars in their front yard and would try to slip around the law." When asked about 7 time Cup Champion (and all time record 200 race winner) Richard Petty, Washington State House Speaker Frank Chopp's sarcastically stated, "You mean the guy who was picked up for DUI?" There's more than just the derogatory underlying of the statement, but also, Richard Petty not only doesn't drink alcohol, but when he started racing, he made a deal with his mother never to accept sponsorship money from alcohol. He, nor his company have ever put a decal on their cars for an alcoholic beverage, nor have they ever entered the exhibition Budweiser Shootout in Daytona.

Stock Car Racing is not only entertaining to the fans, but it brings in fortunes to the local governments in the area. Even though Nashville Superspeedway can only hold about 40,000 fans, on just 5 weekends per year, the track has become Wilson Countie's largest single taxpayer at over $1 Million per year. And that's without the Nextel Cup. Estimates guess that if the cup would come to Nashville, tax revenues from the track alone could go up 10 fold, not counting the added income from hotels, restaurants, and other businesses.

Other racing fans speak their minds about the ignorant statements made about racing.

In the words of Jerry Brewer:
"...Then they're saying Washington still thinks NASCAR stands for New Auto Sport Centered Around Rednecks. ...My cow died last night, so I don't need your bull."