NASCAR...please explain

There are lots of things I “don’t get”. And just because I don’t get them doesn’t mean that the people who do enjoy these things are idiots.

But I just don’t understand why thousands of people turn out and pay good money to watch race cars go endlessly around in circles.

Are the spectators only there to see accidents? I’ll admit a spectacular crash at 200 miles an hour would be something to see, but is that really why they are there?

And why would anyone have a “favorite driver” that they hope wins the race?

Why would people watch Formula One racing? Or horseracing? Or football? Or baseball?

You have to admit that in the case of NASCAR, the appeal is, shall we say, very subtle. Football, baseball, and indeed F1 racing have competitors zooming all over the place and doing different things. NASCAR, to someone unfamiliar with it, (or oval track Indy car racing, for that matter) is awfully difficult to discern competition in; it just looks like a line of cars driving in a circle. It’s easier to see that there’s something happening in, say, hockey or soccer.

Once you understand it you can appreciate the competitive nature of it, but it takes some watching. It really isn’t easy to see at first glance, unlike a lot of sports.

I’ll grant you that, RJ. To some it must look like a bunch of left turns and the occasional wreck. :smiley:

“Favorite driver” = “favorite team”

I had a similar conversation this summer. The other person asked me if I had ever been to a race. I had to admit I hadn’t. He suggested I might like it if I tried it.

Now, car racing is one of those things I thought I’d never like. I’m on another thread talking about how I like to wear evening gowns to the symphony, for gos sake.

But I did think he had a valid point about my never having been. We have a local 1/2 mile track. We’re not talking NASCAR, but it’s still car racing. So I did try it a couple of months back.

I loved it! The skill it took to drive like that took my breath away. Mainly because, unlike football, it’s a skill I can relate to. I drive. I don’t drive like that, of course. :wink:

I went back the next week. Though I’m still not going to sit in my house watching cars on TV.

I started a thread like this a year or so ago…and the popularity of NASCAR is still a mystery to me, but hey - some people also call guys playing poker on television “athletes” so go figure.

We never were into NASCAR racing. We ARE huge fans of NHRA and we go to as many events each year as we possibily can. Now THAT is racing!

As the biggest fan of NASCAR on the SDMB™, it would take a lot more that could be provided in a forum such as this to explain the appeal of NASCAR or stock car racing in general. My father drove race cars, I drove race cars, auto racing was an every day part of our lives. On the other hand, I could raise the same questions as you about the appeal of hockey or tennis. Neither sport interests me in the least bit especially hockey. To me it is a bunch of guys skating around after a black thing till a fight breaks out. Whats the point? But a NASCAR race can keep me on the edge of my seat for hours. Besides the one big race for the checkered flag there are all the mini races within the race. Daytona, 60 days and counting.

I don’t care for NASCAR, but I am a racing fan (CART, if you’re wondering). It’s fun. It’s also my opinion that real fans don’t go for the crashes - those things are dangerous, and it’s no fun to be at a race where a driver gets hurt. You want your favorite driver to win based on his or her talent, not because the competitors were taken out in a crash or due to mechanical failure.

There’s also a huge amount of strategy to get interested in. A simple thing like taking a pit stop out of sequence can completely change the course of a race.

And the speed - it’s amazing how talented those drivers are. The sheer speed is impressive.

It’s all about guys drivin’ fast and turnin’ left.

My husband loves hot rods and watches a little NASCAR (only when I’m sleeping). It is no more or no less pointless than any other sport. However, if you watch any programs about racing, you’ll learn that it is extremely high tech, extremely costly, and physically draining. Don’t even try to compare the physicality of it with regular driving. It’s hot, tiring, and very dangerous. And stupid, if you ask me. But hey…that’s what makes the world go 'round.

But why not Indy-type racing? The speeds are much faster and, with speed, comes more excitement. Doesn’t it?

Is the popularity of NASCAR due to its everyman image–that these vehicles at least superficially resemble a street car?

This question comes up every 6 months or so around here.

Anyway, the appeal is a lot of things. . .

First of all, it’s a race. I like racing. You put people in running shoes, in a pool, on skates, on skis, on a bike, in cars, on rollerblades, and tell them “first one to the line wins” and I’ll watch it.

I like big V8 engines at 8000 RPMs.

I like the strategy during the race. . .the decisions about fuel, tires, tape, wedge, whether to pit at all in some cases!

I like following drivers that I like.

Actually, going to a race is fun, but you don’t get as much detail about strategy and who is having problems with what as you do on TV. Sometimes you don’t even know who is on the lead lap.

And, crashes are awesome, but they’re really just a cherry on top of the race. It’s not why I watch, but I love a good crash. Seeing a car hitting a wall or flipping over, or skidding at 180 mph is, quite frankly, awesome.

I gotta say that for the first year in my life, I think I’m more psyched for Daytona than the Superbowl – or at least equally psyched. I recently got a HDTV and I can’t wait to watch a race on it.

I think the typical Indy-car race is less exciting (determined earlier) than a NASCAR race. That goes moreso for F1.

More speed doesn’t necessarily mean more excitement. It usually separates the field too much, and can mean less excitement.

Nascar is a bit easier to follow than Indy car. You know that between Feb & Nov, it’s going to be on every Sunday afternoon (like football) with a couple breaks, and a couple Saturday night races thrown in.

The coverage is excellent. Some drivers have appealing personalities. I don’t think the cars’ semblance to street cars, or using the same names, is a big part of the appeal. It’s not to me, anyway.

Watching a guy barrel roll down the front straightaway, axles and sheet metal falling off the car as it tumbles mid air, and having the driver climb out of the flattened shell of the car and walk away is the cherry on top of that cherry.

Pointless?!? You mean you don’t want to hear me prattle on about the infield fly rule or the Fiesta Bowl matchup? :smiley:

Nascar is no more or less pointless than any other soap opera, is how I’d put it.

I used to watch a lot back before my favorite driver died in a helicopter crash, Davey Allison.

What I enjoyed about it was watching my driver work his way up the field. There are all these little things that they can do to pass the car in front of them. But if they screw up they might find themselves on the outside as 10 or more cars in a tight line zip by them on the inside and they have to start all over again.

A wise man once said, “Rubbin’ is racin’”. Indy cars don’t do all that much rubbin’.

It really helps to have a driver you’re rooting for. Like any sport.

Yes, but how many different drivers actually win a race in a year? Isn’t just a handful that have the money from sponsors that allow them to build a winning car?

'Course, a couple of decades ago they really were street cars. Albeit with one seat, a big engine, a fiberglass hood, and probably a fuel cell instead of a gas tank.