NASCAR still a spectacle to experience for sports fans

While going around a long, oval track for 300-plus laps  — or a sport — to most, there are millions of people that think otherwise.

There are also over a few hundred professional drivers that would argue their case.

Most sports fans that are uneducated about NASCAR that would say, “I could do that” probably haven’t driven at speeds close to 200 mph while being inches from another car beside them, making turns on 30-plus degree berms and catching 4-5 Gs of force at the same time.

Unless you’re flying planes in the Air Force, you haven’t experienced anything similar.

NASCAR, which most doesn’t know stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, once had one of the nation’s biggest fan bases in sports.

As of late, the sport has spiraled in the same direction as the economy — which is down in case if you haven’t heard.

Some point fingers to the White House because the recession hurts a sport that relies heavily on sponsorships and endorsements.

It’s probably an unfair accusation, but fans may have stopped attending due to the lack of financial stipend.

However you want to draw the line, NASCAR was struggling to formulate past fiscal success and get fans out to the racetrack.

With cars plastered in different companies and product names, those sponsors rely heavily on the fans seeing their brand on television or at the race, and buying those things when they’re out by “popular association.”

Some argue that certain racers need to succeed in order for the sport to get back on track.

The Sprint Cup Series Champion has been one of two drivers for the past seven seasons: Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart.

New drivers seem to be emerging this year and hope to bring new faces and fans to NASCAR.

Officials have said it would take a new champion to rise or an old hero to reclaim his former glory.

Despite who’s winning, NASCAR still seems to have one of the most diverse fan bases of any sport, which seems reasonable due to the fact auto racing occurs in many foreign countries and different financial settings.

The common stereotype is that NASCAR fans are bunch of hicks and rednecks that are driving across country in motor homes.

There are a bunch of normal Americans that follow the sport just as much.

If you’ve never been to a NASCAR weekend, it should be something to check off your bucket list.

If you like the roar of loud engines or even just the smell of race fuel — better than regular gasoline — then it’s definitely an event to attend.

Ever been to a football tailgate?

Picture that being a whole day long for three to four days straight.

The tailgating is an event in itself.

A local grocery store typically sets up a “grocery tent” that carries anything you may need while staying by the track for the weekend.

Everything from a deli to a fruit and vegetable section is at the fans disposal while camping out for the weekend.

Motor homes and trailers line the parking lots surrounding the motor speedway with loud music blaring from the center of each grouping.

Not to mention beautiful women that enjoy fast cars and high-speeds.

Loud outbursts of delight bellow from each campsite from someone laughing at a stumbling intoxicated friend.

Did I mention beautiful women?

All forms of transportation  — from ATVs to electric scooters — are seen flying between the campsites and vendors, while adults become kids in the midst of the “fandemonium.”

Any true sports fan has to be able to experience the event of NASCAR itself before denying any appreciation of its aura.

Being a mainstream sports fan, the thought of enjoying the festivities of NASCAR never crossed my mind.

With the season coming to an end and a race here locally in two weekends, have a go at something new.

Go to NASCAR.

Like all unfamiliar experiences, “you can’t dog it, ‘til you try it.”

 

Reach the columnist at msterrel@asu.edu