Monday, August 07, 2006

NASCAR -- The Un-American Sport?

I just spent almost two months with my youngest daughter and her husband. They are huge NASCAR fans. I am not. I find it boring to watch people drive around in circles. Yes, they drive as fast as they can, given the road conditions and the tolerances built into their specially-made cars. And people who do enjoy the sport are passionate. However, I think that right now it is a ridiculous pastime and even, perhaps, un-American.

Now most NASCAR fans would wave their flags in my face and call me a “pinko-commie” as my son-in-law’s father called two girls dressed as hippies in a movie we all watched that took place in the sixties. Frankly, it was amazing to me that the Speed channel wasn’t on instead, as it had been the entire weekend which I mostly spent in my grandson’s room, reading a book. My daughter and son-in-law live in Terre Haute, Indiana—about 70 miles from Indianapolis which is almost shouting distance. There was a big race at Indy this weekend. Racers drove their cars in circles for a total of 400 miles on Sunday, with preliminaries and qualifying trials on both Friday and Saturday.

My S-I-L’s parents came up from Texas on Thursday. They flew into Indianapolis and rented a car for the drive to Terre Haute. On Friday, they watched the race preliminaries on the Speed Channel. On Saturday, they took my two oldest grandkids to the qualifying trials and on Sunday, just the four adults went to the race. That’s three round-trips between Terre Haute and Indy for a total of 560 miles driven over the weekend by one family. It would have been four round trips if the Texas contingent hadn’t rented the car for transportation to and from the Indianapolis airport.

That is a lot of gas to use up in one weekend. Especially from the point of view of a person who is not sure she can afford gas to get to a doctor’s appointment at the VA in Danville on Wednesday. Just driving home from Terre Haute I’ve already logged over 100 miles on my own car so far this month. I can usually only afford one tank of gas a month.

So, why do I think NASCAR in un-American? Well, I’ll answer that question with a few questions aimed at NASCAR. How many thousand gallons of gas do racers use in a typical weekend of testing, qualifying and racing? How many thousand gallons of gas do fans use getting to and from the racetracks? And at a time when people are being urged to cut back their gasoline usage, to convert to more fuel-efficient cars—particularly hybrids of various sorts—and there are many people in this country who have to choose between buying groceries, medications or gas each month, how can NASCAR justify the colossal waste of such a precious commodity? How can people waste so much gasoline and yet wave the flag as vehemently as they do?

I think that NASCAR should suspend their racing until race-cars can be converted to use alternative fuels such as ethanol, which can be easily renewed. Are our soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq so people can watch cars go around in circles as fast as they can wasting the very commodity for which our service men and women are dying? We should be outraged. I know I am.


  1. Anonymous1:27 PM

    The solution is simple! Make ASS-CAR switch to peddle-powered cars and we'll see how many red-necks pack the stands to watch the guys with the patches-on-their-coveralls go round and round. Question: if two ASS-CAR fans get a divorce, are they still brother and sister afterwards? And this one I heard in a bar in eastern NC years ago ... Bartender to customer as he points to another custome at the end of the bar: "You think you got mother-in-law trouble? He got his PREGNANT!" NASCAR fans ... you actually DON'T have to love "em.

  2. Anonymous1:39 PM

    Maybe I was a little rough on NASCAR and its fans ... something like the peddle-powered version of NASCAR actually already exists. It's called "The Tour de France" and they use bicycles. However, even with that, it appears that there is something else required besides muscle-power. Drugs are, evidently, needed, too. The other drawback is that this all goes on in France. Never thought I'd find a place with sports fans even more unsportsman-like than Americans but I have ... it's called "France". But, in all fairness, if you eat snails, spoiled cheese, and are too lazy to pronounce a whole word, then you might get a little grouchy, too. On the plus side ... yes ... "We" (as in the USA) have had to help France out of past scrapes (WW-I, and WW-2) but France has done one important thing for the U.S. that it's critics overlook ... or, since the subject of history is not one of our strong suits ... maybe most Americans simply do NOT know this. If it were not for France, there would be NO U.S.A. If France hadn't blockaded the Chesapeake Bay and sent troops to help us, Gen. Cornwallis would have won and not Washington at Yorktown ... and we'd be a goofed up commonwealth like Canada ... and I wonder how WW-I and WW-2 would have turned out? I wonder who our Furher would be now? How about hydrogen-power? It makes sense while electric will take a quantum jump in battery technology before that works for anything besides extremely short trips.

  3. Anonymous7:40 PM

    One last shot ... this one about saving gasoline. If you weigh 300 pounds, it takes twice the energy to haul your fat ass than it would if you only weighed 150. Simple arithmetic.

  4. To One Last Shot: I've lost 70 pounds. I no longer weigh 300. I came close--296. But I now weigh 223. That's 73 pounds. Simple arithmetic. Also, I transport neighbors who do not have cars. There are three of us in my building who try to coordinate our trips to the grocery store, etc. to save gas. When you make assumptions, and publish them as personal attacks, you make yourself look bad.

  5. Rochelle, don't tell your daughter but I completely aggree with you. THen again, I am one of the girls her soon to be FIL saw in the movie. Hmmm, wow and I may be doing this wedding hugh.. THIS should be interesting.

    I think it would be HYSTERICAL to watch all those rednecks peddle their asses around the racetrack. HAHHHH!!!!!! Give a budweiser, it'll make the time go faster!

    I find it discusting how much gas is wasted and how much more the funk up the environment with the fumes. Never did much get into watching people drive around in circles.

  6. Hi, Japanese Dragon Lady:

    I didn't name the movie we watched. It was called "Dick" and was a farce in which it turns out that "Deep Throat" was a pair of teenage girls hired by Nixon to walk his dog who stumble onto the information about Watergate and give it to Woodward and Burnstein. It was a cute movie, provided you could suspend disbelief and swallow the premise.

    Of course, the future in-laws pretty much know I'm on the other side of the fence, even without reading my blog. At least I haven't named any of my fictional villains after them--yet. ;-) Anyway, they aren't all bad. They raised a pretty good son and I'm happy my daughter found him.

    If oil weren't so precious, my attitude toward NASCAR would be "different strokes." My passion for karaoke and the fact that I attend science fiction conventions have both been laughed at. But I used the "cons" I attended to make contacts in the publishing world and now I'm a published author and a presenter and they're a promotional expense. And karaoke led me to singing on the wards at my local VA Hospital. I guess I'm blessed. My hobbies and interests have become a career that I love and a chance to give back.