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). There is ongoing debate regarding whether NASCAR qualifies as a sport. While some avid fans believe it meets the criteria, others argue that it does not. Those who find NASCAR repetitive, involving repeated left turns, question its status as a sport. However, if we consider a sport to be something that involves physical activity, has rules, and is often engaged in competitively, then NASCAR should be considered a sport.
If one has ever observed a NASCAR race, they would notice its lengthy duration and the absence of bathroom breaks for the drivers. A NASCAR racecar is specifically designed for speed, focusing less on comfort. Drivers can reach speeds of up to 200 mph, and sometimes even higher. When the drivers navigate turns at such extraordinary speeds, it generates a G-force, exerting immense pressure on their torsos as they are pushed against the vehicle (DiCicco). The cars are meticulously constructed to possess high aerodynamic capabilities, aiding in increasing velocity. As a result, a significant portion of the air passes around the car rather than entering it (DiCicco).
During long races, drivers face the challenges of limited oxygen and extreme internal temperatures up to 200 degrees. To address this issue, they are connected to an air conditioned hose that supplies additional air through their helmets. Similar to any sport, NASCAR mandates proper nutrition and adequate rest as crucial components of effective athletic training (DiCicco). Given speeds exceeding 200 mph, there is no room for mistakes. Even a minor error like briefly dozing off can have fatal consequences for both the driver and other competitors on the track.
The combination of air deprivation, carbon monoxide emissions, G-forces, inadequate nutrition, and lack of rest is highly perilous (DiCicco). NASCAR drivers incorporate weight training to develop the necessary level of strength for effective braking, steering, and enduring the physical impacts of G-forces and collisions with other vehicles (DiCicco). Given that the races extend for several hours, drivers must have the ability to withhold their bowel and bladder urges unless they wish to make pit stops and fall multiple laps behind.
During a race I watched, Tony Stewart, a driver, was unable to hold his urge to go to the bathroom. Despite having the flu, he still made the decision to race and ultimately won. However, before proceeding with the post-race interview, he had to go to the trailer for a shower. It is crucial for drivers in NASCAR races to have control over their bodily functions in order to avoid accidents.
Similar to other sports, NASCAR drivers should undergo physical training. Additionally, like any other sport, NASCAR has a comprehensive set of rules and regulations along with a highly competitive point system.
According to NASCAR rules, drivers earn points based on their finishing order, with the first place driver receiving the highest number of points. The driver who wins the pole position and the one leading the most laps in the race also receive bonuses. Safety is of utmost importance in NASCAR due to its inherent danger. To ensure driver protection, several rules have been implemented. These include using seats that provide rib cage protection, safety harnesses, modifying the car’s chassis, and placing barriers around the track.
With the occurrence of numerous fatal accidents in races, NASCAR recognized the importance of implementing safety measures. To determine the participants and their order in the actual race, a qualifying race is conducted. The thirty five fastest timings automatically qualify for the race, while seven additional spots are allotted to the quickest cars that didn’t earn an automatic bid. Furthermore, the champion provisional rule is applicable for former NASCAR champions who fail to qualify based on points or time. However, a driver can only avail this provision once every six races (McCormick).
Different colored flags are used in races to provide drivers with information. The race starts with a green flag and concludes with a black and white checkered flag, according to NASCAR rules. A yellow flag indicates an incident on the track, like a blown tire, and requires cars to reduce their speed until it is resolved under NASCAR rules. When a red flag is waved, it temporarily halts the race, while a black flag penalizes specific cars for infractions on the track as per NASCAR rules. Another rule called the lucky dog rule allows the most recently lapped car to regain its position at the end of the longest line during caution periods in NASCAR races. However, certain conditions must be met for this rule to apply: the driver should not be responsible for causing the caution and there must be more than ten laps remaining in the race as per NASCAR rules. This rule ultimately enables drivers to reclaim lost laps. In pursuit of maximum victories, NASCAR drivers continuously strive to be their best.
My interest in NASCAR sparked four years ago when I started dating my boyfriend. His family introduced me to the sport, and I quickly noticed its intense competitiveness. Each driver and their team push themselves to the limit in order to be the fastest and claim victory.
A notable display of this competitiveness occurred when Kyle Busch purposefully collided with Carl Edwards during a race, aiming to overtake him. At first, it didn’t make much of an impression on me. However, a few races later, Carl Edwards sought revenge by intentionally crashing into Kyle Busch as payback for causing him to wreck in previous races.
Despite receiving a penalty, Carl Edwards seemed unaffected after intentionally causing a crash with Kyle Busch. His actions were in response to Busch costing him a race. In sports, participants often hold animosity towards each other, whether openly expressed or internalized.
One driver who openly demonstrated his dislike for Kyle Busch was Brad Keselowski. Prior to the Bristol race, all drivers had to introduce themselves on stage and state their car number. When it was Brad’s turn, he introduced himself and added “and Kyle Busch is an ass.”
In NASCAR, maintaining proper physical fitness is crucial for drivers as it enhances their driving abilities. The sport has implemented various rules and regulations that must be followed; failure to comply results in penalties. It is extremely important to adhere to all rules in order to avoid losing points.
Similar to any other sport, participants in NASCAR strive for victory while aiming to avoid finishing last place; thus making it an extremely competitive sport.
DiCicco, Chris. “NASCAR- the Drivers Physical Conditioning.” Street Directory. 2013. 25 Feb. 2013
McCormick, Steve. “NASCAR Qualifying-Guaranteed Starters and Provisional’s.” About.com. 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.