Posted by: Nathan | February 15, 2007

NASCAR on ESPN (Yawn)

***Possible diatribe alert!!***

So, the National Association of Stockcar Auto Racing is moving itself to ESPN this year. I realize there isn’t anything I can do about it. People like watching cars drive around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around in circles; they think it’s exciting. I think it’s lame and more than that: it’s not a sport.

I freely acknowledge that NASCAR drivers are athletes, and it is absolutely necessary that a person drives the car skillfully to be victorious; however, it is the cars that win the race. Why? The best driver cannot win a race with a bad car. This is one of the few sports of which the outcome is decided by machines. In soccer, the best player will score goals; basketball, points; football, tackles or touchdowns; baseball, strikeouts or hits; tennis, sets and matches; hockey, goals and hits; golf, eagles and birdies. But in stupid NASCAR, it’s the car that determines a large portion of the outcome. Your car doesn’t perform: you lose.

I also realize that to enjoy NASCAR, you have to have an affinity for cars. I do not. I don’t care about cars, makes, models, years, horsepower, chrome fenders, spinners on hubcabs (waste of money!), or anything like that (maybe gas mileage). Naturally, I have no interest in what car is running best and why.

And now I have to listen to people I don’t care about taking up valuable SportsCenter time* talking about a “sport” that bores me. I’d rather hear about boxing, tennis, golf, track and field, or pretty much any athletic event other than NASCAR. I’d even prefer to hear about yachting or a dog show. I don’t care about crew chiefs, point races, sponsors, teams, drivers, tracks, pit crews, and especially not cars.

So join me and vote with your ‘mote. Don’t watch the NASCAR coverage on ESPN. Let’s get this crap off ESPN so we can watch some real sports. NASCAR sucks!

*Today, my boy Chris Fowler was interviewing some old crew chief about something boring; I changed the channel because I could not stomach a SC great wasting his breath on a lame, wanna-be sport. Oh, Chris, how could you?

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Responses

  1. I have to admit, I’m surprised by this diatribe. I had no idea you’d be going in to this so ill-informed. Since you’re so very wrong about NASCAR, I’ll take some time to fill you in. No need to thank me.

    Fortunately for NASCAR and its fans (I’m not one, just an outside observer who’s relatively informed), the outcome is not decided by the machines. Before NASCAR required the use of restrictor plates and created countless other regulations…well, you would have had a good point. Now the cars in NASCAR are essentially equal. There are strict penalties for anyone who breaks the rules and does something to make their car better than the rest. In fact, a few specific recent NASCAR disqualifications have been all over the news. As one of the suspended crew chiefs complained “duct tape today is worth 50 points, $50,000 and a four-race suspension”. NASCAR takes it’s keeping cars equal seriously.

    Driver skill (passing people who are trying to stop you from passing, all at 200mph is nothing like your rush-hour commute), strength (you try turning a wheel with almost no power steering for 500 miles or 4 hours), and endurance (100 degrees without air conditioning in a fireproof suit and helmet) really are what NASCAR is about.

    It’s fine to say NASCAR isn’t a sport and doesn’t belong on ESPN; many people have made reasonable arguments to that effect. But I’ll wager that those or any other accurate points you could make to disprove NASCAR as a sport would be equally applicable to golf.

  2. Don’t expect me to defend golf as a sport.

    Thanks for dropping the knowledge about the restrictor plates, though I still think cars will run better or worse regardless of what you do to them. As I stated prior, I have no doubt of the athletic skill and ability of the drivers; I just dislike racing.

  3. Kapow! I never knew Jason was so knowledgable about NASCAR. I see Jason’s points, and concede that NASCAR and golf are both sports.

    However, I stand with Nathan on my preference for the latter, and most decidedly not the former. As someone who, like Nathan, gets a blank stare when somebody talks about internal combustion and carborators (sp?), I find NASCAR exceedingly boring.

    Incidentally, on the Freakonomics blog http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/2007/02/12/if-you-incentivize-it-they-will-cheat/, Stephen Dubner talks about NASCAR drivers cheating more because actual victories mean more. Interesting…

  4. Perhaps we need to have a discussion about what constitutes a ‘sport’. I’ll start:

    A physical activity, undertaken in a competitive environment, which requires a special set of learned skills.

  5. Now that we have that out the way, I think it’s kind of weird that NASCAR is on ESPN. I could see them MAYBE flashing some NASCAR standings on the bottom of the screen, but anything more feels like a bit much.

  6. NASCAR sucks! I, too, lament at Chris Fowler’s new position…he must have consented to it, I just don’t know why! Sure, you can call it a sport, and it is hard to deal with heat and maneuvering and accelerating and turning left, but man is it dull!

    Kyle’s definition is pretty broad and would seemingly allow games such as pool and bowling in. I’m not sold on those. Those are like recreational games with no physical endurance needed. This is one that I’ve heard before that’s pretty good: A “sport” needing to push you to the extent that you sweat and/or probably need to take a shower after participating. And don’t tell me golfers don’t sweat! This would allow nascar, golf and maybe table tennis in, and leave out crap like pool, poker, bowling, darts..etc.

  7. Okay, here’s my definition made up of you two’s: Sport: A physical activity requiring endurance (you break a sweat) and a special set of skills performed in a competitive setting (definite winner(s) and loser(s)), the outcome of which must be decided by the ability and prowess of the athlete(s) alone.

    That will exclude NASCAR, pool, darts, and yachting for that matter.

  8. Does nascar have air conditioning in there suits?

  9. I was going to educate some of you on the topic of NASCAR racing but it is plain to see you are not interested in the least so why even try.Should you want to educate yourself then try my blog topofthebox.wordpress.com you would be surprised what you can learn…
    the dr.

    • Sorry, Doctor, I just don’t care about cars going fast. Actually, I don’t care about cars at all. I understand why others like NASCAR, but I miss the other sports ESPN used to show (e.g. hockey).

  10. Oh snap! (Not really…wow.)

  11. hockey???? you call that a sport? a bunch of guys out skating around on a frozen pond slapping a little black thing around???
    if you doubt that nascar is a sport try looking at what it takes to run a race and what it takes to win a race, if you know nothing about it fine find someone who does and ask for them to give you the highlights of it rather than sit around bagging on it. if you don’t like cars then why waste your time on a blog about nascar?
    let me put this in terms you may be able to understand….
    try going out in the summer and take your car to a big parking lot, roll windows up turn heater on and drive 500 lap around any two poles you choose…… now add 40 other cars all of you going as fast as you can winner takes home a cool 100,000.00….. that will get you close to what racing is all about, but keep in mind that it dont take into consideration the work that has to go on thru the week and at the track trying to find the right set up chassis wise….. just a thought.

    the dr.

  12. Hockey not a sport, eh? Have you tried skating around a rink really fast trying not to get smashed on the glass for hours? There’s a reason why shifts are just over a minute: ice hockey is exhausting. I also note that the players do ALL of the work of winning and losing; no mechanical objects are involved. That’s a sport.

    Why waste my time on a blog about NASCAR? I don’t have a blog about NASCAR. I have one post about it. Other than our recent conversation here, I haven’t much thought about it. It’s inconsequential. I don’t care about it. That’s my point: I want ESPN to stop spending time covering things I don’t care about. Am I in the minority? Clearly and sadly, yes.

    I do not doubt racing is exciting if you’re the one driving the car. I am positive it takes a lot of ability to win those races (or even finish). I could never do it, and I know there are lots of folks who like it. I am not one.

  13. Boys
    First NASCAR is the fulfillment of a young lads dream…. To go fast and to win the admiration of his peers. Sadly NASCAR has lost it’s way by only the rich can participate. Gone are the backyard mechanics who started the “sport”. Pardon my tear stained comment.
    Second is Hockey
    Just don’t know what to say… Running on ice with sticks in hand beating a poor defenseless puck or whom ever gets in your way. Sounds like a mothers warning ” don’t run with sticks you could poke an eye out.” It sounds like hockey could be called THE WINTER GOLF of the North, Hoser.
    Final observation
    A Real sport is keeping your cool when your favorite team or individual leaves you with the phrase ” WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR”. Sports now days have become a group of rich guys spending gross amounts of money to entertain their followers that maybe I can be like my hero.
    What about real heroes…. husbands who are true to their spouse, dads who leave their dreams to support their families, and believers who do not compromise their believes and stand up for ideals.
    Sports can be invigorating but so can life. Stop watching and LIVE!!!!


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