Sunday, March 26, 2006

NASCAR drives me crazy

I know, I know... you loyal readers of this blog are thinking, MIKE, how many times can you rail against the turbo-charged, red-necked machine that is NASCAR? Until they get it right!

NASCAR is a fine bit of entertainment. But after a few crash-free laps I begin to lose interest in all the pretty logos blasting by the cameras at 180mph and start thinking about how boring it would be to actually be sitting there... a few feet away as they blur past. The only thing you can do is eat and drink and discuss how the "sport" has changed since the advent of the mandatory neck harness.

NASCAR calls itself the most-watched, most-popular "sport" in America and I'm guessing that could not say that if it were not true. Aside from a casual interest in the races, none of my friends watch it on a regular basis and I'd venture to guess that only a handful of my acquaintances have any interest in attending a race. And yet, NASCAR is so important that "Nascar Dads" were credited with turning the tide in our last Presidential campaign. That kind of power spells trouble in any arena.

I like to refer to this type of mob mentality as “stupidity clusters.” Something really dumb catches on with the lowest common denominator and suddenly a wave of unproductive, and very destructive behavior is entrenched in our society.

What most concerns me about NASCAR’s stupidity clusters, is what Joe Six-Pack has learned from it.

Thanks to NASCAR the average idiot now believes that he is driving a car which can safely travel close to 200 mph AND that he’ll get better gas mileage if he follows me so closely that we can actually fight over which radio station plays the best Country Music.

Thanks to NASCAR mens fashions now include an entire years worth of wardrobe choices that memorial the late Dale Earnhardt and his #3.

Thanks to NASCAR If you can find a bunch of guys who can change four tires and filling a gas tank in under 30 seconds, you are the greatest person alive. (it’s all about priorities)

I’m not against motorsports as entertainment. And, as anyone who’s ever traveled any distance in my car will tell you, I’m not against driving fast. What’s got me all worked up today is the lack of responsibility in connection with the NASCAR nation.

Where are the Public Service Announcements about safe driving?

Where was NASCAR when oil prices skyrocketed? After the Arab Oil Embargo in the 70s we actually cutback on the length of car races in order to save fuel. Not this time.

Nascar has a debt of responsibility to pay back to America. Nascar makes hundreds of millions from their fans. They should also impart a few bits of wisdom and good example. On their website, Nascar does list the various driver-related vanity charities and that’s a good thing… but how about something along the lines of what the NFL does with United Way? Utilize the entire sport to focus on one effort as opposed to each driver glorifying themselves as charitable entities.

Gentlemen start your engines and take a few laps on the old “Give Back 500.”


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