NASCAR: Will Blue America Ever Learn to Love Stock Car Racing?

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I wish I could say you were wrong, Patrick, if only because it would buck Hampton's belief that you, Emma, and I are just blue-state liberal elitists who view NASCAR as lowbrow entertainment. But I can't.

I watched a lot of stock car racing growing up because my brother was a huge fan. Hell, I've covered NASCAR from up close, seen the inside of Clint Bowyer's trailer, and come within six inches of getting run over by Matt Kenseth in Victory Lane. But even when I was close enough to feel the heat radiate off the track and hear the throbbing roar of 43 souped-up engines, I still found the sport dull—like Patrick said, just a bunch of fast cars turning left.

What draws me to sports is the nuance and physical spectacle of human beings using their bodies and a series of carefully designed props to compete (I'm sure I would have been a huge fan of the Roman gladiator scene). Auto racing removes the human interaction from competition and takes a certain measure of success or failure out of the competitors' hands. How many times have we heard a victorious driver say "I just had the best car today" or seen someone toy with the field for 498 miles only to have a tire blow out on the last lap?

But honestly I never had a chance. I've never drag-raced with my buddies or changed my own oil, let alone my own transmission. My car feels like a device to get from point A to point B rather than an extension of myself. I'm sure a lot of NASCAR fans take a great deal of pride in their cars and know them from headlight to exhaust pipe (those are the two ends of a car, right?) so when they watch a race they connect with the drivers in a way I—or many of my yuppie New York friends without driver's licenses—never could.

–Jake

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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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