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Car Racing Fans?(14 posts)

Car Racing Fans?Wayne
Jan 6, 2003 7:19 AM
So, I used to be perplexed about the appeal of Nascar. Then over the past year I discovered I love F1 and Rally thanks to Speed Channel. This has left me even more perplexed about Nascar. Car racing seems big all over the world but Nascar seems to be about the most boring form of it, yet it is absolutely huge here in the US. Is this just a case of parochialism? Am i just not getting it?
don't get it myself, but...mohair_chair
Jan 6, 2003 8:30 AM
There is something mesmerizing about watching NASCAR if you actually sit down and seriously watch it. I'm not really a fan, but on a rainy Sunday with nothing to do and nothing else on TV, I find myself getting caught up in the race. I can't explain it, but I'm definitely not waiting for someone to crash as most non-fans believe. Sometimes I just want to watch a competition, like the other day when I found myself watching yacht racing on OLN.

I used to think all that motor racing stuff was so white trash, especially with the "Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY" commercials. One day a friend gave me free tickets to one of those off road grand prix days at the L.A. Coliseum. Motocross, buggies, trucks, cars, etc. We went just for laughs, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and very entertaining. I also know some guys who are very into motocross, and they always have a big BBQ for the supercross outdoor finals. Everybody gets into it. Why? Because it's fun. That's all.
Nascar is interesting on road tracksAlpedhuez55
Jan 6, 2003 8:56 AM
THe Nascar Race at Watkins Glen is interesting. There are some good skills needed to handle those cars when you take them off the ovals. I can never watch a race on the ovals though. I think if F1 raced on ovals, I would not watch that either.

I think a lot of it has to do with marketing. Nascar has done a great job with it. Also some people love their Fords or Chevy's and it gives them a team to cheer for. They somewhat resemble the body and share the names of cars many people drive. Most people who like Nascar and not F1 or Indy Cars will say they resemble airplanes more than Cars. To each is own.

Mike Y.
Funny you should mention...Wayne
Jan 6, 2003 9:16 AM
Watkins Glen, that was the one Nascar race that I watched last year instead of flipping past it after a few minutes. Which is it, Cart or Indy (and what's the difference anyway?), that race the open wheeled cars on the ovals? I couldn't take that for more than a couple minutes either.
Funny you should mention...Alpedhuez55
Jan 6, 2003 9:39 AM
I know Nascar races at Watkins Glen. I think either the IRL Cart or both race at Watkins Glen as well. F1 used to race there years ago. The track is on my Grand Prix Classics Computer Game which is a fun one if you get the chance to try it.

Cart & IRL (Indy Race League) are both open wheeled cars. THey look a little like F1 cars but will have smaller spoilers. If the cars ytou saw were open whelled it was most likely either IRL or Cart.

Mike Y.
I agree. I don't like watching cars turn left all day.Sintesi
Jan 6, 2003 8:56 AM
But then again most people find bike racing boring as hell. I think you have to know the drivers and understand the subtleties of the tactics just like our sport, no? My dad is an avid Nascar fan and he knows the cars, the engines, the pit crews, etc... It's fun to annoy him with endless stupid questions if I happen to be over at his house on a Sunday afternoon. I guess there are aspects that are interesting if you invest the time to figure out what to watch for.

But please, why can't they make a track that has S curves and hairpin turns, and a wide variety of speed changes? It'd be much better!
NASCAR's the WWF of auto racing...cory
Jan 6, 2003 9:00 AM
I've covered racing off and on as a journalist for nearly 30 years, and I agree--I'll take road racing, any kind of road racing, over the typical NASCAR ovals. It's so weird and ignorant-crowd-friendly that it's practically stylized, plus anytime anyone opens up a lead, they find a reason to throw a yellow flag and close up the field. It's done in the name of "competition," and it does produce close finishes (the Shooey runaway in F1 is pretty hard to get excited about). And I like the NASCAR stockers on road courses. Watching that Sunday morning parade, though, is like golf without the scenery. Yawn.
troubled by the contradictionDuane Gran
Jan 6, 2003 10:39 AM
I'm troubled by the contradiction that is known as "stock" car racing. These autos are not stock in any sense of the word. They have souped up engines, fiberglass bodies and all manner of things that may not even be legal on the road. I can respect the talent of rigging the engine, but why don't they actually race real stock cars? Maybe I don't get it.
Isn't the chassis...Wayne
Jan 6, 2003 10:49 AM
the only thing stock about them? It's probably an anachronism from the time when the cars were stock?
At least in Rally there are no delusions that the Ford Focus rally car is the same car you or I could get. It never occured to me until someone point it out, but there are no Hondas or Toyotas, etc in stock car racing. It's limited to certain American car companies. I guess it has no desire to extend it's appeal outside of America.
And no desire to lose to those (insert disparaging comment128
Jan 6, 2003 11:03 AM
regarding certain grain and combustion engines!)
If I'm not mistaken, Honda really nipped Ferrari's heels last season at Formula. Shumacher Ja! I'd love to see Honda and Toymotor on the NASCAR circuit. THAT would create a stir.

Tidbit: I hardly have a clue but understand NASCAR grew out of the southern bootlegging/running tradition as those fellers had to outrun the law to the county line. Hence a tradition was born. Hmm, maybe if they put some black and whites behind those oval moguls they'd get better times!

PS: my Aunt kicked *ss in the 60's with her '67 Stingray, Uncle still has it and rebuilds the engine every year. Have this great photo with her 30 some-odd trophies lined up with her next to the car. "The machine of a dream..."
actually in rally, they are a heck of a lot closer to stocklonefrontranger
Jan 6, 2003 11:12 AM
than the NASCAR racers. Rally has very strict limitations on what may be changed and how much it can be changed from the factory stock; so okay they run fiberglass bodies and roll cages but the cars are fully street legal. They have to be, in order to complete the "regular" (open road) stages, which we never see on TV - TV only shows the "special" stages. WRC engines are highly limited, small displacment with only single turbo. Rally is essentially all about torque, suspension and driver ability, not brute force.

If you are interested in "real" stock car racing, check out the local SCCA chapter - we've done at least one or two a year on our rest weeks to give us a break from bicycles. SCCA is merely your friends and neighbors racing their Dodge Neons and Mazda 626s, and the only change allowed in most classes is a set of racing tires. The classes are very thoughtfully broken out by car type and power (except for novice where almost anything goes).

Actually one of the best competitions of any kind I've ever seen was a husband and wife racing their BMW M-class sedan at a local SCCA. Both easily outclassed their field, and the lady was turning consistent 2 seconds faster lap times than her old man. They looked like your average fiftysomething country club types, it was a kick to see them out in full-face helmets executing textbook power slides.
almost nothing stockDougSloan
Jan 6, 2003 12:41 PM
In NASCAR, maybe the battery is stock. That's about it. The chassis is all tube frame, as opposed to unibody on everything these days. The name is simply a holdover from the days when they were supposed to be somewhat stock.

The changes from stock largely revolved around safety. "Stock" cars just can't handle 200 mph crashes and have drivers walk away. NASCAR stock cars are actually really, really, safe. If we drove them on the road, but with less power, highway death statistics would by about 5% of what they are now. Of course, that's with 5 point harnesses, firesuits, and full helmets.

A truly stock car would last about 10 miles...cory
Jan 6, 2003 12:10 PM
You could run a true stock car at 100+ on an oval all day long (no tougher than the freeway, really). But the step from there to racing is huge--most stock automobiles can't do more than a lap or two of a road course without setting the brakes on fire, for instance. The tires won't stand up, either, especially on the southern tracks in summer. The safety considerations are obvious (NASCAR racers are very safe--those of us who've been around the sport for 20 or 30 years can remember when it was common to kill half a dozen race drivers a year, but now it's rare to kill one. There have been similar safety improvements in most other types of cars). And while I'd just as soon watch a close race at 100 or 120, a lot of casual fans are hooked on the numbers. On a track where a NASCAR racer might do 500 miles at 175, a true stocker might be 50-60 mph slower.
If you're really interested in seeing STOCK cars race, the Sports Car Club of America has some categories that allow only safety modifications and tuning. Lots of fun and not too expensive, relatively speaking.
some much better than othersDougSloan
Jan 6, 2003 12:46 PM
I drove a Toyota Supercharged MR2 at Heartland Park Topeka 2.5 mile road circuit all day long. While the car was getting about 2-5 mpg, it blazed past all the Mustangs burning up brakes and blowing hoses. I did use semi-slick Yokohama tires, though. The quality of cars really shows on a race track. Porsches, Toyotas, and to some extent Corvettes do really well; most American "sporty" cars just can't handle it.