Who Cares About Dale Earnhardt Jr.?

1. Yes, culture bias plays a huge role in the under-coverage of NASCAR by all us uppity sports media types who had the nerve to get a college degree, or even a postgraduate one (gasp!).

2. So what?

Here's the short view on NASCAR from effete, equal-rights-for-all blue Staters like myself: It's an all-white, all-male sport in which a bunch of louts get drunk and watch fast cars race around in an oval for hours. But where are we wrong? The sport is undeniably skewed towards white males—in the nearly century-old history of NASCAR, an African-American driver has won exactly one race (and even then, Wendell Scott didn't get to enjoy Victory Lane). Google "female NASCAR winners" and you get a lovely screenshot of Danica Patrick's Wikipedia page but no mention of any women race winners, because there aren't any.

But don't take my word for NASCAR's "down-home" personality—what was it you said, Hampton?

About half of this country has a strong cultural bias against NASCAR. The sport is loud, gaudy, aggressively patriotic, overwhelmingly white, male and Christian with working-class, rural Southern roots.

People from the so-called blue states—including the vast majority of online sportswriters—don't have a problem with NASCAR's qualities. They just don't see any reason to care very much about the sport (and I use that term loosely). There's no center of higher education sponsoring cars or drivers, no openly gay or Asian or Middle Eastern or Jewish or Muslim participants in NASCAR. It's insular, and insular is on the way out in the "we allow gay marriage" states.

And from where I sit, that's the way NASCAR fans want it. I'm a native New Yorker whose idea of heavy-duty car repairs is changing my oil or checking my tire pressure. Of course I don't get motor sports. But instead of trying to make an inroad into the blue state sports fan base, NASCAR, its drivers and its fans generally sneer at me for being elitist and offer some version of "A Southern man don't need him around, anyhow."

Yes, I'm too contemptuous of NASCAR, Hampton. But NASCAR and its fans seem equally contemptuous of me.

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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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