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Uneducated Spectator or New NASCAR Student?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR

Uneducated Spectator or New NASCAR Student?

Jeremy T. Sellers
August 18, 2007

So at the bottom of my Jerm's Joint Yahoo! Groups page appeared the following question: "If NASCAR fans weren't so uptight, would the sport itself be better off?" I re-read this several times, sat back in my chair and pondered exactly how to answer. Surely this individual hasn't been a student of NASCAR long, for if they had, it would be realized why we as fans may be uptight. Maybe a "fair weather" fan who doesn't follow the sport on a regular basis and has taken some notice to our discontent? Other than being aggravated regarding some issues, I was unaware that we, as fans of NASCAR, were "uptight".

I would have to believe that this person has never attended a NASCAR event, and if they have, their experience must have been unpleasant. Personally, I've been to several and have found that there are no strangers at a race, just people we haven't yet met. NASCAR fans are the most laid back, friendly, and generous individuals that you will ever find compared to other professional sporting events. Rivalries, though intense, still manage to stay friendly. I love the "my cooler is your cooler" mentality that entitles one and all to everyone's beer who is tailgating. If the atmosphere became any more relaxed and festive, it would be nothing short of civil anarchy.

However, this doesn't go without saying that there are issues which have many of us disgruntled and aggravated. We're tired of the phantom cautions for debris that happen to pop up late in a race, or when a certain driver has a three second lead on the rest of the field. Certainly in some respects the diversity program which NASCAR is force feeding us has some raising an eyebrow wondering if other talented drivers are missing "the big dance". Though popular with many, road courses don't hold the majority of fans' hearts during the season, so why is it when NASCAR ventures across the borders, it has to be a road race? These races are typically boring and uneventful. Why can't driver interviews be more than a commercial for their sponsors? Sure, it is true I've stated that sponsorship makes the NASCAR world go around, but tell us how the car REALLY ran, or what the driver is TRULY thinking. Bring back the passion that was one of the many building blocks of the sport. Cut the kickbacks, and let's talk racing! Wouldn't it be nice to allow racers to do just that, race? Can anyone remember when a driver actually had to EARN his way into the elite? Nowadays, you can buy your way into the field if you drag your teeth in just the right manner. Maybe we're fed up with the sterility and political correctness NASCAR has enforced which in turn has disinterested veteran fans. There's also a slim possibility that the constant increase in prices with no accessibility in return to the sport's fans might contribute to the puckering anal sphincter. I would tend to believe that even the fan of a driver who is on a multi-car team at times becomes exaspirated at seeing those drivers continously dominate the circuit. What would happen if say, Tony Raines, Stanton Barrett, or Hermie Sadler won a race? Check the bible, it might be the second coming!

So indeed, there might be issues we take to heart regarding our beloved NASCAR. However, we continue to patronize a sport which we all share common interest. We will keep tailgating, laughing, meeting new friends, and drinking their beer until they place padlocks on the gates at the tracks. Without a doubt we are entitled to express concern over issues we feel could be detrimental to NASCAR in the long run, especially to its fan base. However, all we can do is continue to support its roots and hope that our voices are eventually heard.

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