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Grass Roots

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR

Grass Roots

Jeremy T. Sellers
Jerm's Joint
April 13, 2007

Visit Jerm's Joint online!

Painfully so, we are all aware of the wear and tear in which commericalization, poor television coverage, and today's politics in NASCAR have had on the sport.  It's evident that attendance is down at the track, some of the viewing audience took a hiatis last year, and NASCAR's inconsistancy enforcing its rules evenly among the drivers have all had a powerful effect on fanbase. With that said, it has become easy for us to unintentionally move away from the strong tradition in which NASCAR was founded.  Though I have already purchased my tickets to next year's Daytona 500, I have found myself being such a fan...just tired.

Tired of watching five minutes of racing versus ten minutes of commercials and missing out on key events happening during the race. &nbsTired of the ever escalating ticket prices to attend these big events (which is why I renewed my 500 tickets early, that way I'm locked into the same price as this year).  Tired of NASCAR and its sponsors of turning our drivers into advertising robots (even though some commercials ARE fairly entertaining).

By now you are surly asking where my destination is with all of this jibberish.  Recently, I picked up an extremely interesting book at B. Dalton's in our local mall.  A record book of course, which covers all paramount statistics from NASCAR's humble beginning to 2006, complete with a 2007 driver and track profile for all three major series.  For a few hours, I was able to drift back to a time when there weren't corporate sponsors breathing down the drivers' necks, the money wasn't that great, the cars were really cars, and the drivers were tough, working class guys who weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouth buying their way into NASCAR.  I cannot recall the name of the book as I'm at work and do not have it with me, but you would be able to recognize it if you saw it.

For a short time you can reflect on the golden days of racing by reading about the likes of Marvin Panch (who I have an autograph coming), Joe Weatherly, Curtis Turner, Fireball Roberts, Tiny Lund, etc.  Many of the old timers are still alive, and have websites such as Marvin and Rex White.  After this read, one is truly able to smile on an age when NASCAR was in its infancy and practiced a "run what you brung" religion.  Some of those names mentioned might sound familiar on your ticket stubs to some of the races as many sections at countless tracks, are named after these racing pioneers.  As true fans, it is essential for us to become familiar with the asphal theaters of old to maintain what has brought NASCAR to its present form.  Without these legends, there wouldn't be future ones, and without the fans, there wouldn't be NASCAR.

Jeremy Sellers is the owner of Jerm's Joint.

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