This is a guest post by Max Katsarelas
NASCAR doesn’t look like a complicated sport. Guys (and a few women) wear race suits and drive cars really fast in circles. Sometimes, guys (and a few women) wear race suits and drive cars really fast on road tracks not in circles. There are crashes, fans cheer, drink beer, talk about Dale Earnhardt or Daytona and tailgate for days. What else is there to know?
A lot, actually. NASCAR is a complicated sport and there’s more to it than wearing racing suits and driving around a track. Now is the time to learn about the American South’s pastime. Maybe you just moved to America from another country and want to learn about racing. Maybe you live near a racetrack and want to know what the hubbub is all about. Or maybe you’re just a curious person addicted to fantasy sports and want to see if betting on a fantasy NASCAR season is worth it.
Whoever you are, here’s a run down of what anyone should know about NASCAR.
- More people like NASCAR than you think. It is the number one spectator sport in North America and if it wasn’t so popular, than why would there be enough space in eight NASCAR tracks to fit over 100,000 people?
- NASCAR fans hold grudges. They are diehard loyalists to their favorite driver or automaker. If another driver wrongs their favorite driver, that other driver becomes an enemy. If a fan likes Chevrolet, anyone who drives Ford or Toyota is an enemy too.
- Never forget Dale Earnhardt or the #3 car. The greatest NASCAR driver of all-time and the most beloved is Dale Earnhardt, Sr. who drove the #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet.
- Don’t criticize Dale Earnhardt, Jr #88. Earnhardt Jr. is the son of NASCAR’s greatest driver (see above) ad is the most popular driver in NASCAR, winning the most popular driver award 9 times in row starting in 2003.
- The Busch brothers are the enemy. Kyle #18 and his brother Kurt #51 are two of the most loathed drivers in NASCAR. Their willingness to crash the fan favorites has them on most people’s hate list. Permanently.
- It’s OK to be a Jeff Gordon #24 fan these days. When Jeff Gordon dominated NASCAR in the 90’s, beating out “legends” like Dale Earnhardt Sr., Darrell Waltrip or Rusty Wallace, fans hated the poor guy. Jeff Gordon hasn’t dominated racing as of late and has now emerged as a driver that’s acceptable to root for during races.
- Old Man Mark Martin #55 doesn’t need to retire. Ever. When Mojo Facebook fans were asked if 53 year old Mark Martin should retire, the resounding answer was no way. If the driver of #55 Toyota Camry wants to continue his three-decade career and race part time – no one should stop him.
- Old school NASCAR isn’t like modern NASCAR. Back in the day, cars used in NASCAR races were production cars with modified engines. This meant a driver’s ability wasn’t as important as his ability to build an engine. Today, stock cars are virtually identical so the emphasis is on a driver’s ability instead of his mechanical know-how.
- Driving a racecar is not easy. It might look like they’re only turning left but racecar drivers are stuck in car for over four hours, in 100 degree heat, under a flame retardant suit and driving at nearly 200 miles per hour. It can’t be pleasant.
- NASCAR fans are professional tailgaters. Tailgates for races typically start a week before the actual race. If you’re in the hall-of-fame class of tailgaters, you camp out in the infield of the racetrack and line up hours before gates even open to guarantee a great spot.
- The faster the better. The most popular racetracks in NASCAR tend to be where restrictor plates are used. Restrictor plates prevent stock cars from reaching unsafe speeds and if they aren’t used, stock cars could likely reach speeds of 225 MPH.
- Fans don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but they want to see crashes. Wrecks are exciting and they cause rivalries. It is why announcers and fans alike love saying, “rubbing is racing.”
Max Katsarelas works at Mojo Motors and has a unique glimpse into NASCAR Nation managing the Mojo Motors Facebook page with 158,000 NASCAR fans. You can also follow Mojo Motors on Twitter. Max’s favorite track is Michigan International Speedway and he has three Dale Earnhardt autographs. He also has an autographed race helmet worn by Tony Stewart.