Ever since I became more than a casual NASCAR fan, when it comes up in conversation people ask “How can you watch those cars just going around in circles?” Since I started writing about NASCAR that same comment comes up more and more. Let me tell you why it’s more than just cars going around in circles and why I love NASCAR.
It starts innocently enough, perhaps an interest in cars or maybe a friend who takes you to a track somewhere. You go and watch “Those cars going round in circles”. At this point they are right; it is simply cars going round in circles—but then you pick a driver.
Whether it is the color of the car, the sponsor, or you heard the name before, you focus in on one particular car and driver. This is a game changer. You notice where they start the race. You notice where they run at various times during the race. You also notice how they finish, but along the way you notice other things.
During pit stops sometimes your new driver gets four tires and fuel but loses positions relative to where they were running before the pit stop. Sometimes they get two tires and fuel and gain positions relative to where they were running before the pit stop. Sometimes it’s hopeless no matter what they do. Sometimes they are so fast on the track that what they do on the pit stop hardly matters. One thing is certain, there is more to this than just going round in circles.
Watching more than one driver and team on the track becomes a mind blowing experience. Keeping track of the same puts you into the game much like making note of the different types of plays in football.
While watching the drivers race one another it is apparent that those running up front are not necessarily the fastest and those in the back are not the slowest. If there is a long enough green flag while racing, the cream always rises to the top. Watching this play out is fascinating. Sometimes though, the cream is already at the top and not much changes. It is different each and every week.
Watching the pit stops and the different adjustments the teams make on the cars is also interesting. What really is fascinating is how those changes affect the car and the gains that can be made on the track. It is incredible when a driver and team take a car that is obviously junk at the beginning of a long race and adjust it to bring in a great finish. It is even better if they win.
If you pay attention, there is so much more that goes into getting these cars, drivers, and teams to compete at this level. That is why I love NASCAR.
Feature Photo Credit: 288276 Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images