Why are stock car races run in a counter-clockwise direction? Do they run clockwise below the equator?

UH oh, there is a thread about right hand screws, this could go the same way. I don’t wanta be involved bye. uhhh so the lugnuts don’t unscrew?

Signitorily yours, Mr John
" Pardon me while I have a strange interlude."-Marx

I have lived in NC for about 4 years now and I must say: ENOUGH WITH THE FRIGGIN’ NASCAR ALREADY!!! Maybe this should go the BBQPit, but I’ve had enough with the NASCAR, WWF, Billy Grahm, sweet tea, and all that is Southern.

Caution to all Northerners: Stay where you are!

Advice to disgruntled southerner;
Go north, young man.
Or west.
As far as I’m concerned, you’re welcome here in overpopulated California. As long as you don’t come here out and bitch about the place. I hate that. :slight_smile:
P.S. I’m far enough away from NASCAR to think it’s kinda cool! All that testosterone.

Well, I used to live in Oregon. Imagine my culture shock the minute I got off the plane. And I have no desire to live in CA, either. At least you don’t have NASCAR, though.

I first apologize for getting off the thread but…
Babar - no wonder you are having so much trouble ajusting - from Oregon to NC - how could you say “culture shock” - you are implying that Oregon had some and NC does’nt? I fell that it is probably the other way around since I have been to Oregon and…'nuff said :wink:

And if I were you, you can complain about the other things, but maybe you should be careful about Billy Graham, just in case he’s right…

The worst thing that can possibly happen is not be used for something by someone - Kurt Vonnegut

Edge— I’ll give it my best shot here. The lifeblood of auto racing is advertising. We read from left to right, so it’s easier reading and recognizing logs if a moving object is travelling in the same direction (i.e. counterclockwise) than the other way around. I brought this up with some of my friends who are dedicated NASCAR fans and the most constructive input I got was, “What the hell are you talking about?” Anyway this is just a SWAG, so feel free to pop holes in this, I’m not a science major. Oh yeah…and Barbar, as a Southerner (and I don’t claim to speak for all of us), please don’t let the screen door on the trailer hit you on the way out. The I-95 runs north as well as south… :slight_smile:

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon

Sorry…meant “logos” and not “logs”. And my apologies to the Elephant King Babar.

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon

I am gonna hop on this secondary thread.Culture shock will hit you moving across town. I got no problem with people from elsewhere moving here and talking about the differences, and even complaining about how they are having trouble adjusting. But I do have lots of problems with people who complain about how stupid we are and how every thing is so much better back home, that everything is wrong here and we should change. the road you came in on runs both ways.
PS I don’t like Nascar or Indy style either "round n round round n round. " BTW maybe it is easier to see things coming at you when your head is turned to the left and going away when turned to the right. See Right Hand Screws and Upstairs downstairs for an explanation of that.


Not bad. But I seriously doubt that they had “STP” and “Marlboro” signs posted at Circus Maximus. I can’t find any reason as to why, but, it seems, we’ve been racing counter-clockwise since some time before NASCAR. Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in 1908 and they were running left turns then.

Horse racing is the oldest form of oval or track racing, dating back to 700 B.C. Perhaps horses prefer to turn left? Maybe I’ll rent BenHur tonight to see which direction the chariots ran.

Wow, there’s a really high noise-to-signal ratio in this thread! Anyway, Cecil has answered this one before, but I’ve never had much luck looking into the archives. It’s in “The Straight Dope Tells All”, p. 113. He points out that if the driver loses control and crashes into the wall, the empty right side of the car will absorb most of the impact. Makes sense to me.

To Babar714: Hear! Hear! Amen! Keep spreading the “gospel”! Yankees go home! If you don’t like sweet tea, NASCAR and all things southern, then PLEASE move back to the great white north! Whenever I hear of people (northerners) complaining about the south, I always think of the Billy Joel lyric, “Don’t go changing to try to please me.” Believe me, we won’t!

I am not a religious person but I wouldn’t pick on the Rev. Graham! I wouldn’t say anything bad about anyone’s religion. And as for WWF (& all the other WWs) it has a world wide attraction, not just to the southern states. If you are having trouble finding places to see/visit in NC, I’ll be glad to send you a travel planner - I’ve managed hotels from the NC mountains to the NC coast.

To the original? NASCAR runs in circles just as Cecil describes and No, they do not run clockwise down under. NASCAR ran an event in Australia and they ran counter-clockwise as in the states. In Europe, I’ve seen horse races run clockwise, but that is the only exception I can think of at this time.

“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’”
E A Poe

I’ve never seen a horse race run clockwise.
You sure about that?

Hey, I do mean to knock the South, but a lot of great things have happened to me while I’ve been here. I’ve heard more redneck and racist jokes than ever, and where else can you smoke in a JCPenny’s? But hey, at least we have NASCAR, WWF, sweet tea, and everything southern. I’ve been in the North for many years, and we have…spotted owls. A couple of 'em, anyway.

The South ain’t all bad. And like I said, I probably should have posted in the Pit. But the culture shock has been building up for years, and it had to come out somewhere. Sorry.


Hell, don't worry about it. I know a six-pack and a bug zapper are not exactly everyone's idea of a good entertainment. Boiled peanuts anyone?

Anyway, I knew my "reading left to right" explanation was too good to be true. I've noticed too that non-NASCAR events like Formula racing go both directions. When I brought up the "empty side to the wall" theory to my NASCAR buds, a brief Buddha-like enlightenment blazed in their eyes before one finally said "That'll work". Once again the Straight Dope comes through, bringing light to where there was once darkness.

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon

Okay, empty-side-toward-the-wall would make sense if we were only talking about NASCAR. But what about single-seater racecars, where the driver is seated in the center? More to the point, what about horse races and chariot races, which is where the whole thing started?

Let’s not dismiss the “moving left to right” thing out of hand just because it’s been happening for a while.

I was once told in a theatre course that people (this was within the context of western culture; it may be different in others) tend to react more positively towards something or someone moving left-to-right across the field of view than the opposite. Having something move the other way sets up subtle negative or uncomfortable feelings. The theory was that it had something to do with the eyes being used to travelling that direction when reading.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a source for this, and I don’t know if it’s true or not.

When I pay careful attention to movies, I have noticed that the action seems to be slightly more likely to move from left to right than the other way around.

NickrZ - yes, ConMan is correct, I also have seen hourse races in Europe run clockwise -

As for the reading left to right theory - I liked it as far as theories go but would that go out the window if the race is held in Japan - don’t they read right to left ???

Bluepony - boiled peanuts??? I thought the peanuts were dropped into RC Colas and enjoyed with a Moon Pie

The worst thing that can possibly happen is not be used for something by someone - Kurt Vonnegut

Actually, I’m hoping to get back to the South sometime soon. Too many damn Yankees out this way! :wink:

Mmmmmm…boiled peanuts!

I’m no NASCAR fan, but I seem to recall a event covered in Sportscenter where the cars ran clockwise. Certainly it was simply a novelty, but a interesting one at that. Also do the road courses also all run counter clockwise. I suspect that while they make a circle eventually, a few may be predominantly clockwise. Just a WAG, but if anyone of you proud southerners can enlighten me, it’d be appreciated.

So based on the explanation of the empty side into the wall theory (sounds reasonable considering all auto racing began with passenger cars, and Indy, CART, and F1 cars all came later and followed convention) can i assume that there was no convention adopted in the horse/chariot/track and field racing as there is now? It seems to me that all circular racing goes counter clockwise, why?
I imagine that the convention was around before the passenger car, and the empty side into the wall theory was either a convienent benefit or possibly reason for the driver-on-left in the first place. In a simalar vein, did the British (or any other right drive countries) have early racing that went clockwise to use their opposite empty side into the wall feature?

I’m far from convinced.

The facts expressed here belong to everybody, the opinions to me. The distinction is
yours to draw…

Omniscient; BAG