So by me stating that, do you think less of me?? Do you think I am nuts to watch 43 drivers make left hand turns for 500 miles for 30 Sundays in a row? Do only rednecks watch NASCAR and go the races?
In 1977, as a Jr. at University of Tennessee, Scott Ferguson, a fraternity brother of mine, had a poster on his wall above his bed of Daryl Waltrip and his green and white #88 Gatorade Oldsmobile.
Scott professed his admiration of Daryl on numerous occasions and well, being a NY Yankees fan, NY Rangers Fan, NY Knicks Fan and NY Giants fan, I just kind of sneered in bewilderment as to what the attraction could be to stock car racing. Just didn’t make sense to me.
After graduation I found my way further south to Atlanta, where I was a resident during the crazy 80’s. One of my biggest clients, Gene Harris, who worked for Lockheed Aerospace, was a big NASCAR fan and so I took Gene and his son Phil (who worked with me) to the Atlanta 500. Yes there were a lot of beer guzzling noisy fans but was that really any different than a Giants or Jets game?
Once they said “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines”, I was hooked. The thunderous roar from 43 engines was mind boggling and when these drivers started down the straight-aways at speeds closing in on 200mph, well I had never seen anything like it and the rush was just immense. And anyone who doesn’t think a NASCAR driver is an athlete is nuttier than a bag of peanuts. Do you think you could drive a hollowed out tin cup race car with little to no air conditioning on a 100 degree Alabama day with track temperatures hovering around 140 degrees doing 200mph running inches apart from a pile of competitors also doing 200mph while engaging 31 degree banking?
Last summer I visited Wrigley Field with a friend of mine and we watched the Cubs lose 1-0 to the Diamondbacks. It was her first time at a MLB game and she found it really boring. And she was right because there were only 4 hits in the game and one was a home run for the opposing team. The only thing that kept her attention was watching how much food everyone was eating and beer they were guzzling in a 2 ½ hour span.
Like with all sports though, if you don’t pull for either a player and or a team, sports can be terribly boring. However, because of that picture of Daryl Waltrip on Scott’s wall in our Fraternity house, I followed the career of Daryl for decades and now am a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, aka Junior, aka JuniorNation! I follow others but these have been my two main drivers and are responsible for me watching almost every NASCAR race since probably 1983.
So if you move south, be careful about putting down NASCAR to the people you make friends with because you are almost certain to find NASCAR fans amongst the most unlikely group of people you can imagine. Like anything in life, do NOT knock NASCAR till you have attended a race!!