Sports from the point view from the guy that holds the clipboard for the guy that holds the clipboard.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


And let me tell you why.

First off a clarification.  Seeing who can go faster is one of the most base of human instincts.  I like that this is a major aspect of humanity.  Every child all over the world understands the joy inherent to seeing how fast thing can go.  Applying it to planes, boats, horses, donkeys, lawnmowers and cars are all acceptable expressions of this urge.  I have nothing against racing in and of it self.

The easiest crack to take at NASCAR is the driving in circles.  It is also a fair and legit argument.  Let's take a look at other forms of racing and see at what point they stop doing circles and start racing on winding paths.  Usually between 1.5-5 laps.  Swimming is an exception but open water (straight line racing) is an Olympic event.  Cycling can be an exception when looking solely at velodrome racing, but that again is very limited in it's lap count.  But other than these racing gets to a point where circles don't cut it anymore.  Racing needs a bigger and better challenge.  All types of racing have realized they need something more than 200 circles.  200 is sometimes an unavoidable number, but at least challenge the drivers a bit.  Make think about more than just the other drivers, make the course matter.  If you can't handle a complex course then you aren't that good a driver.

The other main complaint I have against nascar is that racing is supposed to be about pushing the limits. It's about learning how cars work on a different level. It's about car companies pushing themselves to design better vehicles. Not just in terms of speed and handling but as far as safety and body design go as well. Real racing starts from scratch and makes the car manufacturers say to themselves, "what is the absolute best car we can make?" And NASCAR does not promote these things. Nascar takes engineering a car backwards. They take "regular" cars and jack them up to go fast. This is part of the reason why the American automobile industry is dieing.  They are stale and not making good products.   They aren't thinking creatively about vehicles.  All they do well is make bigger trucks, and that's not cutting it.   German and Japanese auto-makers are testing themselves on the racetrack and thus making superior products off the track.

Audi is a great example of this.  They were banned from Rally Car racing for over 20 years.  Why?  Because they developed a technology that was so far ahead of everyone else it was deemed illegal.  That technology has set them apart from other car manufactures.  It's their Quattro drive that they put into all their cars.  That technology put them 20 years ahead of every other manufacturer interested in Rally Cars.  Twenty "Years?  When was the last time and American car company was 20 years ahead of anybody in anything?

Let's take a quick look at three technologies that we enjoy in cars everyday that came from racing, and then you tell me how many came from NASCAR:
Anti-lock Bracks.

 Can you remember a time when we had none of these in our cars?  I'm over 30 and not old enough to.  But real racing has also helped beyond the track with the invention of the Jaws of Life and flame retardant clothing.

Racing is a pure expression of many wonderful human emotions, but doing it for 5 hours in a circle makes no sense to the driver or the car makers.  It does not show the drivers skill, nor does it show the car markers skill.  All it does is make both weaker.  Giving us nothing to show for at the end of the race.  No limits are pushed, no new technologies, no new tactics.  Just a test to see who can keep their peddle to the floor the longest, who can do the math on their pit stops better, and who can be lucky enough to avoid all the restrictor plate caused accidents.  That's all we get from NASCAR.  It really is a detriment to American society, and not for any of the obvious stereotypes.  

We need to ditch NASCAR, or at least the car makers need to, because the time and money they waste on it is time and money they could be spending on keeping pace with the Japanese and the Germans.    Once upon a time Ford could go toe to toe with Ferrari, now they can't even compete with Hyundai.   Racing is everything for this industry, it always has been and always will be, and until the American auto makers can compete again in F1, LeMans, and on other non-oval based circuits, then we are just waiting for them to die.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever built a hot rod from the groud up.

MaTt said...

NASCAR sucks. Go Home... =)