Is NASCAR a Sport?

According to freedictionary. com, a sport is defined as a physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and is often engaged in competitively (Sport). Many people argue that NASCAR is not a sport, while others who are avid fans argue that it is indeed a sport. Not everyone finds NASCAR fun to watch; they say that it’s the same thing over and over, left turn after left turn. A question that comes up often is: “is NASCAR really a sport? ” If a sport is defined as something that requires physical activity, has rules, and is often engaged in competitively, then why should NASCAR not be considered a sport?

If one has ever watched a NASCAR race, one will see that it lasts a long time and that the drivers make no stops for bathroom breaks. A NASCAR racecar is built for one thing; speed, not comfort. While racing, the drivers reach speeds up to 200 mph, and sometimes higher than that. When the drivers turn at such high speeds a G-force is formed, and this causes a high pressure against the driver’s torso as he or she is pushed against the vehicle (DiCicco). The cars are built to be very aerodynamic which helps increase speed. Because of this, much of the air flows around the car instead of inside it (DiCicco).

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This leaves the driver with little oxygen during the several hour long races. Inside of the car, temperatures reach up to two hundred degrees; to make the drivers a little cooler, an air conditioned hose is hooked up to their helmets to supply them with more air. Part of any good athletic training is to eat the proper amount of nutrition and to get the adequate amount of rest; NASCAR is no exception to this (DiCicco). At speeds upwards of 200 mph, there is no room for error; a simple mistake such as nodding off for one second could be fatal to oneself as well as other drivers.

Combining the lack of air, the carbon monoxide fumes, and the G-forces with poor nutrition and lack of rest is very dangerous (DiCicco). NASCAR drivers include weight training to help build up the right amount of strength to be able to efficiently brake and steer, and to be able to withstand being bounced around and slammed by G-forces as well as other cars (DiCicco). Since the races last hours at a time, one has to be able to hold his or her bladder and bowel movement unless one wants to stop and end up several laps behind.

An example of when a driver couldn’t hold his urge to go to the bathroom was when I watched a race a few years ago. Tony Stewart had the flu but decided to race anyway; he ended up winning the race but before he could get interviewed, he had to go to the trailer to get a shower. While racing, it is important to be able to control when one needs to go to the bathroom so that accidents don’t happen to them. NASCAR drivers should have physical training, just like other sports. Like other sports, NASCAR has many rules and regulations. NASCAR has a very competitive point system.

Points are given to the drivers in the order that they finish, starting with the person in first getting the most points (NASCAR rules). Bonuses are awarded to the driver who won the pole position and to the driver that has lead the most laps in the race (NASCAR rules). NASCAR can be a very dangerous sport, so it is vital that rules are made regarding the drivers’ safety. Some of the rules that were made to help with safety are seats that provide rib cage protection, safety harnesses, alternations to the chassis of the car, and placement of barriers around the track (NASCAR rules).

After many fatal accidents occurred during races, NASCAR felt the need to make rules to promote safety. A qualifying race is made to decide who goes on to the actual race and in what order. The top thirty five fastest times automatically qualify for the race, seven additional spots go to the fastest running cars in qualifying that don’t earn an automatic bid, and the final position is held under the champion provisional (NASCAR rules). The champion provisional is for any former NASCAR champion that didn’t qualify for the race by points or time; a driver can only use the provisional once every six races (McCormick).

To help the drivers understand what is happening during the race, different colored flags are used. At the start of each race, a green flag is waved followed by a black and white checkered flag to show that the race has ended (NASCAR rules). When a yellow flag is waved, it indicates that something has happened on the track, like a blown tire; this is called a caution and requires the cars to slow down until the problem is taken care of (NASCAR rules). A red flag means that the race has been temporarily halted, and a black flag means that a certain car or cars are penalized for an infraction hat happened on the track (NASCAR rules). One of the last rules in NASCAR is called the lucky dog rule. This rule allows the most recently lapped car to return to the end of the longest line during a caution (NASCAR rules). Even though this seems like a good rule, there are certain restrictions; the driver can only get the pass if he or she is not the cause of the caution, and there has to be more than ten laps left in the race (NASCAR rules). The benefit to this rule is that a driver ultimately regains his or her last lap. NASCAR drivers strive to be the best and to win as much as possible.

I used to not watch NASCAR until four years ago when I started dating my boyfriend and his family introduced it to me. While watching NASCAR, I have learned that it is very competitive, and each driver and his or her team try to do their best to be the fastest and win. One thing that made me notice how competitive it is was when I was watching a race, and Kyle Busch wrecked Carl Edwards in order to get ahead of him. I didn’t think anything of it until a few races later; Carl Edwards purposely wrecked Kyle Busch to get back at him for causing him to wreck a few races before.

Carl Edwards got penalized for wrecking Kyle Busch because he did it on purpose, but he didn’t seem to care because he got back at Kyle Busch for making him lose a race. In any sport, there will always be people who don’t get along with each other; some will make it known while others won’t. One of the drivers that made it known that he did not like Kyle Busch was Brad Keselowski. Before the race at Bristol started, each driver had to walk across a stage introduce themselves and state what car they drive. When it was Brad’s turn he stated his name, his car number then added “and Kyle Busch is an ass. NASCAR drivers have to be physically fit. It is important for the drivers to get the adequate amount of nutrition as well as to work out to be able to drive better. There are many rules and regulations in NASCAR that have to be followed; if they are not followed, then the driver will be penalized. It is important to follow all the rules so that no points will be taken away. When anyone is involved in a sport, he or she wants to win, and they don’t want to come in last. Just like any other sport, NASCAR drivers want to win; therefore, it is a competitive sport.

Works Cited
DiCicco, Chris. “NASCAR- the Drivers Physical Conditioning.” Street Directory. 2013. 25 Feb. 2013
McCormick, Steve. “NASCAR Qualifying-Guaranteed Starters and Provisional’s.” 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.
“NASCAR Rules and Regulations.” eHow. Demand Media, Inc. 1999-2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2013 “Sport.” The Free Dictionary. Farflex. 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2013..

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Is NASCAR a Sport?. (2016, Nov 04). Retrieved from