Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Think NASCAR isn't a sport? Think again

Kevin Harvick leads the field with Tony Stewart on his heels
at Michigan in the fall. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Many do not think of NASCAR as a sport. They think this because no one person is being active by running around or doing something with a ball. Well, I got news: NASCAR is very much a sport.

In football, a player runs up and down the field, while in NASCAR a driver drives around an oval. Many don’t know this, but what a driver does inside that car is very active. During a three-hour game, a football player gets a half-time break, time to rest and drink water. During a typical 400- to 500-mile race (which can last from three to more than four hours), a NASCAR driver does not get a half-time break, nor does he get any time to rest or even get out of the car.


The drivers endure extreme heat for hours. Inside a racecar, temperatures can range as high as 140 degrees during a typical race or even as high as 160 at the hottest tracks. Many times a driver does not have time to drink a bottle of water, like a football player can. Inside that car it gets hot and hotter as the laps go.

Many people don’t know or think it, but you do in fact need to be physically fit to race - you can’t be unhealthy and just jump in the car. Drivers work out a lot to be ready and able to race, to build up their endurance. A driver must be mentally and physically able to drive the car on any track. For example, the Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race of the season as well one of the hottest. Another example is at any short track race, where a driver is up on the wheel continuously turning left.

When I watch a race, I see firsthand what these men do. I watch every weekend as my favorite drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, etc., race their hearts out. I know it’s hard and hot for them inside that car, going left for miles and miles. They work hard to be out there as well as their crew members.


You want to say NASCAR isn’t a sport? Tell a driver that. Tell a car owner that. Tell a crew member who built this car to get it running on the track that.

NASCAR is a sport in so many ways that many cannot imagine. Also, in case you didn’t know, football may be first in the ratings, but NASCAR is second right behind football, so tell me it’s not a sport.

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