NASCAR is a motorsport that, although famous around the world, gets a lot of bad press. Many who are not fans of the sport think it is just a bunch of cars turning left for 3 hours at a time. In reality there is much more to it, and there are a lot of reasons to watch NASCAR.
NASCAR is not boring. It is one of the most exciting motorsports in the world, due to its high-speed, high intensity racing format that promises a thrill with every race on the calendar. The strategy involved along with the sheer skill of the drivers makes NASCAR great to watch.
Even if you don’t like cars and are not a fan of motorsport in general, NASCAR could still be something that you find very interesting, and extremely entertaining. Below I will list a few reasons that I think NASCAR is far from boring, and why you should give watching it a try.
More Than Just Left Turns
The Classic Comment
First, let’s address the classic comment that those who dislike NASCAR make when someone says that they enjoy it; “Isn’t it just a bunch of cars turning left?” The reality is, although there are many oval circuits on the NASCAR calendar, there are also road courses. These are racetracks that sometimes actually have a majority of right turns.
Road circuits are more like classic race tracks that people associate with other motorsports such as Formula 1 and touring car racing. These circuits offer exciting turns in both directions, with no two tracks being the same. The speed at which the cars drive makes these some of the most exciting races on the calendar, and even some of the most entertaining to watch in all of motorsport.
Good Places To Start
Tracks like Watkins Glen, where five of the seven turns are right turns, offer some of the most thrilling races of the season. Although not what most people associate with NASCAR, these tracks are ones that are good to watch if you have never seen a race before, and if you are put off by the sea of oval tracks in the race calendar.
But to go back to the oval tracks, they are no less fun to watch once you get into it than the road courses. The speeds are over 200mph, almost for the entire race. This makes for some very exciting driving, and it’s a different kind of watching experience to the road courses as you find you will be paying attention to and looking out for different things.
You Don’t Need To Be There
One of the main reasons that fans of NASCAR love it so much is the atmosphere at the races themselves. There is so much sound and excitement in the air that it is hard not to get caught up in it. But I’ve never been to a race myself, yet I still find it exciting to watch on the TV. Just because you aren’t there, it doesn’t mean you can’t feel some of the excitement of the fans at the event.
Most motorsports are like this, as are a lot of sports in general. At the oval tracks, fans may get a decent view of part of the track, while also seeing most of the rest of the race albeit at a bit of a distance. But at the road tracks this is not the case, and so as a spectator at home you get the best of both worlds, feeling the excitement while also seeing all of the track thanks to the TV cameras.
Never Miss A Moment
This means you see all of the highlights and exciting moments as they happen, and you often see it repeated several times too. This means you can pick up on the smaller details that fans in the stands would miss. This is part of what makes it so entertaining in my opinion, as when there are key overtakes or big crashes you really get to see it up close and dissect it piece by piece.
The Exciting Moments
Overtakes & Bold Moves
As with any sport, there will be dull moments. When there are no overtakes or everyone is pitting due to a safety car, not much is happening. But it is the bursts of excitement that appear many times throughout the race that make it so enthralling as a spectator. When a driver makes a bold move to get past his opponents, you can be on the edge of your seat, even if it’s a back marker.
These moments get even more intense in the battle for the lead, as you know how important every move is at that speed. A lot of people watch NASCAR solely for when these moves go wrong. Big crashes are inevitable at such a high speed, and with 36 races in a regular season there are plenty of opportunities for them to happen. As long as everyone is safe, they are highly entertaining to watch.
Every Millimeter Counts
Thanks to the safety features in the cars, big crashes nowadays rarely result in serious injury. Just because it is an oval track or a less complex road course, it doesn’t make it easy to drive. The cars are travelling at 200+mph, so every millimeter counts when trying to overtake or manage a tight corner with cars on all sides.
This means that the oval tracks often make for some of the most exciting races, simply because they are such high-speed tracks that offer a lot of close-quarter racing. This is why so many people will happily watch hundreds of laps of an oval track race. It is often not to see the winner at the end, but it is for all of the excitement that happens from start to finish.
The Skill & Strategy Involved
Respect For The Drivers
You don’t need to be a racecar driver to understand how difficult it is to control a car at high speed. If you have driven along a highway you will know just howmuch power you have at your feet, and how dramatic a slight movement of the steering wheel can be. NASCAR drivers are controlling their barebones cars with incredible precision at speeds 3 or 4 times what you will drive your road car.
This makes it easy to gain respect for the drivers as they are racing, and this in turn makes it easier to see why what they are doing is so impressive. There is nothing boring about driving a car at 200mph, never mind doing so while turning a corner with other cars at each side of you trying to get past. And this is just on the oval tracks; the road courses present even more of a challenge for the drivers.
A Challenge To Keep It On The Ground
With more corners and fewer long straights, the drivers need to be able to control the car while going as fast as they can manage. There is very little downforce on stock cars, so unlike F1 where cornering speeds are insanely high, NASCAR drivers need to time their braking and throttle perfectly, while not losing any speed to let others get the jump on them.
Doing this in a car which could very easily slide under the immense cornering forces is a scary thought, and so it is exciting to watch the drivers do it on a weekly basis. But there is more than just skill involved, as there is a lot of strategy to bear in mind as well. This comes in part from the driver in the race, but also those on the sidelines.
Gaining The Advantage
With all of the cars offering pretty much the same power and aerodynamic profile, teams need to be smart about every aspect of the race if they want to get to the front. The driver will need to be good of course, but how they plan their overtakes and defense is key if they want to take the lead and keep it. This adds another element of excitement into the mix with which team will come out on top.
NASCAR is one of the most popular motorsports in the world for many good reasons. It is far from boring, with some of the fastest driving on the planet making for very exciting overtakes and big crashes. These are what some people love the sport for, but for others it is all about the strategy and skill involved.