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Why NASCAR is great, and why you should like it

The premier stock car racing series is the best motorsport to watch and attend, and it's great in other ways

1y ago

NASCAR is one of the most popular motorsports in the world. While it has problems with attendance and viewing presently, it is still an iconic American motorsport. However, it lacks respect from many motorsport and automotive enthusiasts.

Why is that? Well, there are a few commonly cited reasons: a lack of driver skill, boring races, and more. All of those are wrong. NASCAR drivers are some of the most skilled in motorsport, the races are some of the best to watch and attend, and more. Here's why I love NASCAR, and you should too.

Driver Skill

NASCAR drivers are some of the most skilled in the world. In the book (worth a look for any NASCAR fan) 'J.D: The Life and Death of a Forgotten NASCAR Legend,' it's recounted how even accomplished road course racers - 'road course ringers,' brought in by the teams to race the cars at the road course - would struggle with the weighty cars. However, the great NASCAR stars had and have no trouble at all wrestling them around any track, from an oval to a road course. Look at Ricky Rudd drive his car around Sears Point Raceway in 1994. Check out the amazing heal-and-toe driving and hard steering.

These cars are hard to drive on the road course, but challenging on an oval, too. For a start, the tracks aren't simply a constant turn-and-straight setup. Each corner is different and presents a unique challenge, especially at tracks like Pocono - the 'Tricky Triangle.' Drivers are wrestling these cars around the track, and the cars don't want to do that. Having heard accounts of IndyCar drivers saying their sport is harder than F1 and drivers like Danica Patrick or A.J. Foyt saying a NASCAR stock car presented more of a challenge than IndyCar, NASCAR drivers have to possess lots of skill. Don't believe me? How about Richard Hammond. Here's his experience driving a NASCAR Cup car on Top Gear. He said it was like "wrestling a big, shouty dragon."

Exciting Races

NASCAR races are among the most exciting in motorsport. NASCAR is certainly the most exciting series in which to attend a race. With most races being oval tracks allowing views of all the action, a NASCAR fan is never left without a view of the race. Even at larger tracks, like Daytona and Talladega, the entire two-mile or more tracks are totally visible from the grandstands. The pictures below are from my own experience at Daytona.

At smaller tracks, visibility is even better. My local track is Richmond, which is one of the shortest races on the calendar. The views of the cars and the racing there is unparalleled in any other motorsport. NASCAR also has road courses, which do restrict the visibility. However, with only two full road courses on the calendar, their occurrence is an event on the calendar. But the sport also has introduced something new - the Charlotte Roval. This is a partly the banked speedway of Charlotte and partly its infield road course. That track offers the best of everything - great oval racing, road course skill, and unparalleled views. This is just like what the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona offers, but in a shorter package. IndyCar also offers this, but I think the racing on the Roval is better. Tell me if you don't think so in the comments.

NASCAR is also incredibly exciting to watch at home or out on television. With so many cars on limited space, there's always something going on. While NASCAR has struggled recently with aero packages, there have still been incredibly exciting races this season.

Race Occurrence

During the NASCAR season, which ranges from the Daytona 500 and the Speedweeks leading up to it in early February to the Championship in mid-November, nearly every weekend has a race. That means that there's always some NASCAR to watch. There are no big breaks, either. The longest mid-season breaks are one week.

Image credit: printyourbrackets.com

Image credit: printyourbrackets.com

Green Fuel

NASCAR fuel is green. It actually is. Sunoco Green E15 ethanol fuel is used in all three NASCAR national series. It has 15% ethanol. It also is tinted green. NASCAR isn't something you might think of as being environmentally conscious at all, but it is.

Image credit: Bob is the Oil Guy

Image credit: Bob is the Oil Guy

In fact, many of the tracks and NASCAR itself use alternative energy sources, primarily solar energy. Pocono Raceway has made the biggest effort of all the tracks. DC Solar, primary sponsor of Chip Ganassi Racing, works with NASCAR to put solar panels on all the tracks.


NASCAR has great music, whether you watch on television or go to the event. For starters, the NASCAR on NBC (which broadcasts the second half of the season - FOX has the first) 'theme song' is Tom Petty's iconic "Runnin' Down a Dream" covered. You'll hear that on the television broadcasts.

At the racetrack each event, there are performances you can see - especially at the big races.


You'll see the drivers, however you watch the race. At the track, there are opportunities to get access to the drivers, often included in packages. If you look at the driver's schedule, there may be a time to see them free of charge at the track or nearby. On television, the access to the drivers and teams all weekend is great. The stage winners are interviewed during the race on television, and the winner is interviewed on the track. Beyond that, commentators can talk to the teams and see what they're doing.

American Patriotism

If you're American, you'll love the patriotism of NASCAR. July 4th weekend always has the most on the schedule, but every race is in itself.

Image credit: NASCAR

Image credit: NASCAR

Do You Agree?

Do you agree with me? If you do, share your NASCAR experience. If you don't, tell me why in the comments.

Join In

Comments (24)

  • NASCAR used to be good. The points system they have now is lame. Drivers are not like the characters back in the day, too worried about PC culture. The rules NASCAR has now for the cars just wants them to be bunched up so people can see the "Big One" every weekend. But all this bashing doesn't mean I don't love stock car racing, I do. I hope NASCAR does something make it worth watching again.

      1 year ago
  • Local dirt tracks are actually exciting circle tracks. If you want to talk talent and balls, WRC owns that trophy.

      1 year ago
    • That’s certainly all true. I think NASCAR is more exciting and skillful than people give it credit for, though.

        1 year ago
    • I've not willing endured watching a cup race for at least a decade. As a spectator, I found it MILDLY more interesting than drag racing- the most boring of all motorsport. If race day went off like a saturday night dirty track: time...

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        1 year ago
  • I wish the cars actually looked like cars. I want less identical engines and bodies and more DTM style road racing in america.

      1 year ago
    • Yes, the model styling should exist like in prior years. But I think the oval racing’s good.

        1 year ago
    • It's boring after a few laps. Even my dad, a massive NASCAR fan, slept through the race and only had me wake him up during a crash or for the last 5 laps

        1 year ago
  • I’ve been following NASCAR since the 80’s and the racing is as good as it’s ever been. Yes, the drivers seem corporate, but they have to be in order to attract the tremendous dollars it takes to fund teams these days. I attended the Bristol night race and went to a Brad Keselowski signing session where he autographed my die cast and took about 5 minutes with me for pictures and questions. I’ve never gotten that kind of access from any other sport.

      1 year ago
    • Yes, I totally agree with you. It’s such a social environment at the track, and the racing is great. I can’t think of any other major series with anywhere near the access to the drivers that NASCAR provides. How did you enjoy Bristol? A great...

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        1 year ago
  • Back in the early 80's when I first started watching racing I would watch NASCRAP... but I quickly became bored with it. It's only gotten worse as it has become weed like taking over coverage of everything, and boiling it down to candy for the masses.

    Yes the cars are difficult to drive... but that does not mean NASCRAP drivers are the best in the world, it just means they have more experieince with the specifics of driving a heavy car with no breaking and no handling capabilites at very high speeds. Put an over weight NASCRAP driver in to an F1 car and ask him to drive around a corner pulling up to 6g... if he does not go fast enough it will not generate enough down force and the car will not grip and will spin out. It will take a lot of physical strength and stamina to maintain that even for a short drive. Pretty much only those that come up from the Formula 1 junior seriers have any success.

    Back in the 80's when I was watching NASCRAP I quickly prefered CART. They drove on a mix of road courses, Ovals and street courses, that all erquired a different skill set. Yes you have the 2 Road course events in NASCRAP but it's mostly a see we can turn right show. Typically the field is shuffeld from the normal results. If they had a real mix of different courses then top drivers have to be skilled at driving the car in a multitude of condition, not just the one specialty. Oval vary some, but not nearly as much as road courses vary. And even more so with Street courses.

    I do enjoy the live races, about the only way you'll get me to watch a NASCRAP race. I would not say they are the best... but they are an experience I recommend anyone experience. The smell, the sound, the action, it is a real show. It's also like Disney Land. Something everyone should do in their life... but not something that you can do endlessly. Even live it's still a lot of candy, with very little substance to it.. but who does not enjoy their occassional sweet treat for the senses.

    I also enjoy doing NASCRAP racing Sims. One of my wish list items for Gran Turismo Sport is a return of big oval tracks like Daytona, and some NASCRAP cars. (although it's not a top wisdh list item) Driving ovals is deffinately a differant skill then road racing. And while I generally prefer Road Racing in my gaming, I do love the Ovals. I can see the appeal if you're the driver. But as an observer, it's basically hoping for a wreck to see something actually happen. Yes there are loads more passes... too many passes really..that just are not as dramatic as a skillful pass that is required on road courses. In fact while there are way way more passes in oval racing... it is rare to see truly exciting passing.

    And yes you can see the entire race from your seat. But I love wandering around the road courses seeing different places. Most road courses are like a park, with a track through the middle and some great racing. Most ovals are giant stadiums and even if you could wander to all the different places, its all pretty much the same, and like wandering a parking lot.

    Personally I prefer DTM or V8 Supercars. Although I tend to watch F1 more often as it has more coverage.... I won't say that it is great racing... I much prefered CART before it merged with the terrilbe IRL to become Indy Car. The best racing really is MotoGP or WSBK.

      1 year ago